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How Important is It to Have a College Degree?

The short answer: it depends.

If looking at the entry level job market, it is crucial. There is little-to-no work experience or other means to measure and differentiate one candidate from the rest. Some companies will even look at GPA and extra-curricular activities… much like a college admissions process.

If looking at the education industry, or technical fields such as engineering (e.g. mechanical, electrical, civil, computer software, etc.), it is also vital.

In most industries however, once one reaches mid-management level and above, experience trumps the degree every time. Increasingly, employers remove “degree required” and put instead “preferred” on job descriptions, as an assessment of past on-the-job performance gives a better indication of how the candidate is likely to perform at your company.

From the past decade of observation, larger corporations tend to give more weight to the degree than SMEs, which typically don’t care as much. Even though, the degree also seems to lose some of its significance at larger firms. it might make a difference perhaps if two candidates considered for the same position were dead even, yet one had an MBA and the other only a BA. Otherwise, experience is king.

Dynamic Search Consulting (DSC) is a boutique national executive search firm based in the Silicon Valley in San Jose, CA. Give us a call for a complimentary consultation..