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Degree Inflation Definition

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Degree inflation is a trend in the job market whereby employers require or prefer candidates who possess a college degree for jobs which traditionally have not needed a four year degree. A CareerBuilder survey reports that 27% of employers have increased their educational requirements over the last four years.

Degree inflation is evident in many organizations when hiring for positions such as administrative assistants, paralegals, receptionists, clerks, marketing assistants, editorial assistants and other support staff. This phenomenon is often more widespread during times when there is a surplus of candidates with degrees. 

High School vs. College Education Requirements

In the past, a high school diploma was a requirement for many entry-level and support positions. However, there is an increasing preference for college graduates since they can move into management positions more readily. Others find a commonality of educational background among employees enhances staff camaraderie and morale. 

Benefits of Hiring College Graduates

The CareerBuilder survey respondents said the benefits of hiring college educated workers include:

  • Higher-quality work: 56%
  • Productivity: 45%
  • Innovation/Idea generation: 41%
  • Communication: 41%
  • Employee retention: 27%

CareerBuilder Survey: Education Requirements on the Rise

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