While 82% of college grads believe having a degree has helped them in their career, the value of an education remains an ongoing national debate. In fact, although most employees believe a degree is important, a majority of employees (72%) believe specialized training to acquire specific skills is more valuable than a degree in the workplace. This is according to Glassdoor’s Q2 2014 Employment Confidence Survey¹, revealing how employees value their own education and higher education overall as it relates to their careers and the workplace.
Each quarter, the Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey also monitors four key indicators of employment confidence: salary expectations, job security, the job market and company outlook.
How Employees Value Education
When it comes to what’s most important to advance their career and earn a bigger paycheck, more than three in five (63%) employees report learning new skills or receiving special training, compared to those who report receiving a college or graduate degree (45%), transitioning careers or looking for a new job or company (38%), and networking with professionals (34%), among other options.
In addition, employers and hiring managers may be looking for something other than a specific degree as three in four (74%) employees believe their employers value work experience and related skills more than education when evaluating job candidates. Plus, half (48%) of employees with a college degree believe their specific degree is not very relevant to the job they do today, while four in five (80%) report that they have never been asked about their college GPA (grade point average) during a job interview. More than half (53%) of employees also believe a graduate degree is no longer necessary to be offered a high-paying job.
Despite this, employees acknowledge that higher education still adds value in the workplace, as more than half (56%) also believe if they had a higher level of education, they would be more successful in their career.
“The national conversation about the value of higher education and gainful employment is a topic alive within companies. While education is still valued as one piece of the puzzle for a successful career, we’re seeing a shift in the workplace in which most employees feel gaining the latest skills relevant to their job and industry is more valuable to help advance their careers, and they’re feeling it’s what employers are truly seeking to really help move business forward,” said Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor career and workplace expert. “For any employee looking to earn a bigger salary or move up the corporate ladder, they should do their research on how their industry is evolving, including identifying specific skill sets that are in demand. Going back to school may be one way to learn and improve, but there are also non-traditional ways, such as certificate programs, bootcamps, webinars, online non-degreed courses, conferences and more.”
Pay Raise Expectations Drop
Down seven percentage points from last quarter, Glassdoor’s Q2 2014 Employment Confidence Survey reveals 37% of employees expect to receive a pay raise or cost-of-living increase in the next 12 months. This is down from last quarter, when it was at its highest level in more than five years at 44%. More than two in five (43%) do not expect a pay raise, while one in five (20%) are unsure.
Job Market Confidence Remains High and Steady
Though employees are not as optimistic as last quarter about pay raises in the next 12 months, employees’ confidence (including those self-employed) in the job market remains steady. More than two in five (44%) employees believe it is likely they could find a job matched to their experience and current compensation levels in the next six months, remaining unchanged since Q1 2014.However, among those unemployed but looking, 32% believe it is likely they could find a job in the next six months, up from 31% since the first quarter.
Check out more from our Q1 2014 Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey, including our survey supplement which provides a detailed quarter-by-quarter breakdown of results.
¹ The Glassdoor Employment Confidence survey is conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Glassdoor.