A degree alone is not enough for jobs

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Students attend a recent career fair. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern

By Molly Callahan & Lia Petronio

News at Northeastern

At a time when the U.S. job market is only getting more competitive, a traditional higher education degree is essential to landing a job, according to a new study from Northeastern University.

But it is becoming more common for employers to decide that a degree alone is not enough. The study shows an increasing demand for job applicants to hold certificates, microcredentials, and real-world professional experience, in addition to college degrees. The findings suggest that employers are recognizing what Northeastern has long held: lifelong learning is essential to both securing a job and remaining relevant in a 21st century work environment.

As artificial intelligence and other factors are rapidly transforming the workforce landscape, employers are looking for people with relevant skills that reflect the current needs of their companies and industries. Similarly, employees are increasingly looking to master new skills and stay relevant in fields at every stage of their careers.

The study, published Thursday, is the first major quantitative reckoning of the value of degree and other higher education credential programs for the colleges and universities offering them and the employers considering them in hiring practices, said Sean Gallagher, executive director of Northeastern’s Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy.

Northeastern offers a variety of professional certificate- and masters programs to help learners acquire the skills they need throughout their lives to meet the increasing demand for qualified workers in the age of artificial intelligence.

The relative value of educational credentials in hiring has held steady or increased for most employers over the last 5 years.

(Reprinted with permission from the News at Northeastern.)

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