What is Degree Inflation?
Degree inflation refers to the growing number of employers requiring college degrees — even for jobs that don’t require college-level skills or haven’t required degrees in the past. As the current jobholders without degrees retire, their replacements are being required to have degrees. This has resulted in fewer job opportunities for employees without a college degree, even if they are qualified for these positions through experience.
Why Does Degree Inflation Occur?
Experts believe this is partially due to the widening role of technology in the workplace, which has changed the nature of these jobs and the competencies they require. As jobs become more automated, employers’ focuses have shifted away from a person’s physical abilities and onto their abilities to operate new technology.
Degree inflation can also be attributed to the misconception that those with a four-year degree have developed better social skills that will help them in their careers (Source).
How is Degree Inflation Measured?
Degree inflation is measured by the “degree gap.” According to Harvard Business School, this is defined as “the discrepancy between the demand for a college degree in job postings and the employees who are currently in that job who have a college degree." For example, as of 2015, 67% of job postings for production supervisors required a college degree, while only 16% of those already employed in that role had degrees.
How Does Degree Inflation Affect Me?
In short, it’s becoming a lot more difficult for job prospects to find work without a college degree. Those without access to higher education are being shut out of industries that used to be accessible to them, even when current jobholders do not meet those qualifications themselves.
Degree inflation has decreased the prestige of a four-year degree — but since it is becoming a requirement rather than a distinction, it is more important than ever to pursue higher education.
At Goodwin University, we believe that everyone should have access to affordable higher education, and we want to help you adapt as the industries around us continue to evolve.
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