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Glassdoor Survey Reveals Employee Sentiment on the Value of Higher Education: 72 Percent Value Skills Training More Than Degrees

Half of Employees With a College Degree Report Their Specific Degree Is Not Very Relevant to the Job They Do Today

SAUSALITO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 07/02/14 -- Eighty-two percent of U.S. college grads believe their level of education has helped their careers, according to the Glassdoor U.S. Q2 2014 Employment Confidence Survey.(1) However, while earning a college degree has value, seven in 10 (72 percent) employees(2) believe specialized training to acquire specific skills is more valuable than a degree in the workplace. In addition to its core measures of employment confidence, this quarter's survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive, took a look at how employees perceive the value of their own education and higher education overall, as it relates to getting a job and advancing their career.

When it comes to what's most important to advance their career and earn a bigger paycheck, more than three in five (63 percent) employees report learning new skills or receiving special training, compared to those who report receiving a college or graduate degree (45 percent), transitioning careers or looking for a new job or company (38 percent), and networking with professionals (34 percent), among other options.

In addition, a specific degree may not translate to getting hired or career success, as three in four (74 percent) employees believe their employers value work experience and related skills more than education when evaluating job candidates. In fact, half (48 percent) of employees with a college degree believe their specific degree is not very relevant to the job they do today, and four in five (80 percent) admit they've never been asked about their college GPA (grade point average) during a job interview. Fifty-three percent of employees also believe a graduate degree is no longer necessary to be offered a high-paying job.

Despite this, higher education remains valuable to employees, as more than half (56 percent) 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."

The Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey monitors four key indicators of employee confidence each quarter: salary expectations, job market optimism/re-hire probability, job security and business outlook optimism. In the second quarter, overall employee confidence tempered from the first quarter.

When it comes to expectations for their company's business outlook over the next six months, 40 percent of employees believe it will get better, down four percentage points since last quarter, while more than half (53 percent) believe it will stay the same, and seven percent report it will get worse.

Confidence in the job market held steady as 44 percent of employees, including those self-employed, believe it is likely they could find a job matched to their current experience and compensation levels in the next six months. However, among those unemployed but looking, 32 percent believe it is likely they could find a job in the next six months, up from 31 percent in the first quarter.

Thirty-seven percent of employees report they expect a pay raise in the next 12 months, down from 44 percent in the first quarter and 40 percent in the second quarter of 2013. More than two in five (43 percent) do not expect a pay raise, while one in five (20 percent) are unsure.

Layoff concerns edged up slightly, as 16 percent of employees report concern they could be laid off in the next six months, up one percentage point from last quarter. More employees (24 percent) report concern co-workers could be laid off in the next six months, also up one percentage point since last quarter.

SURVEY SUPPLEMENT & GRAPHICS AVAILABLE: For more details, including breakdowns of survey results by age and gender as well as quarter-by-quarter survey results, please see the full Q2 2014 Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey Supplement: To request the survey supplement, graphics and/or complete survey methodology, please contact pr [at] Glassdoor [dot] com.

(1) The Q2 2014 survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor from June 9-11, 2014 among 2,059 adults ages 18 and older of whom 996 are currently employed full/part time. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact [email protected]

(2) For the purposes of this study, "employees" were defined as U.S. adults 18+ employed full time and/or part time unless otherwise indicated.

About Glassdoor
Glassdoor is the world's most transparent career community that is changing the way people find jobs and companies recruit top talent. Founded in 2007, Glassdoor offers members the latest job listings, as well as access to proprietary employee-generated content including company-specific salary reports, ratings and reviews, CEO approval ratings, interview questions and reviews, office photos and more. Members also have the ability to see Inside Connections™ at particular companies via their Facebook network. In addition, thousands of employers are using Glassdoor for Employers to support their recruiting and employment branding efforts. Glassdoor, which won the 2013 Webby Award for Best Employment Site, is one of the most popular mobile job apps on iOS and Android platforms. Glassdoor is backed by Benchmark, Sutter Hill Ventures, Battery Ventures, DAG Ventures, Dragoneer Investment Group and Tiger Global. More information about Glassdoor can be found on the Glassdoor Blog, Glassdoor for Employers Blog and by following the company on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. is a registered trademark of Glassdoor, Inc.

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