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College is the path to success, right? Well, maybe not. College costs are rising faster than ever, creating a huge debt problem affecting students across the country.
The Gallup poll released in 2019 shows that 51% of Americans don't think college is necessary anymore. Additionally, 3 out of 4 people polled said they don't need a degree for their current job.
We're seeing more and more high-profile businesspeople leave college to pursue their passion, feeling unfulfilled by the education they got there.
For example, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs, these four highly successful individuals, reached their professional heights without an advanced degree.
What's the most important thing employers are looking for?
Employers are looking for knowledgeable employees. 84% of business leaders say that the amount of knowledge is very important in hiring decisions.
Compare that to just 9% who say where the candidate received their degree is very important, and only 28% say a candidate's major is very important.
So if you want to be hired, it's important to show employers that you have the knowledge they need.
The perception gap between business and academic institution leaders
Much of the higher education community seems to be confident in preparing students for success in the workforce.
But according to a survey done by Gallup for Inside Higher Ed, many employers disagree and say that there is a shortage of qualified American workers.
This has spurred 40% of employers to hire foreign-born workers due to a lack of Americans with the skills they need.
In the minds of Americans, the value of a degree is high and growing. But there is a catch!
A study by Lumina Foundation states that 74% of all Americans believe that a postsecondary degree or credential is important to attaining a better quality of life.
Furthermore, 90% of all Americans believe it's very or somewhat important to increase the proportion of Americans with postsecondary degrees or credentials.
However, 89% report that higher education institutions need to change to serve the needs of today's students better. Furthermore, only 49% see evidence that this change has already started happening.
Americans see the potential in online degrees.
As online degrees become more popular, employers and Americans see their potential. Online degrees offer the same level of education as traditional degrees, but they allow students to learn more flexibly and conveniently.
All else being equal, 54 percent of business leaders say that employers are likely to hire a candidate who has a degree from an online higher education provider over a candidate with the same degree from a traditional higher education institution.
College is still important, but building a track record that relates to the career you want
Despite the perception gaps between businesses and the academic community, Americans do feel that a postsecondary degree is important.
So it is a safe bet to go to college to learn, build the foundation for your future career, and most importantly, build your network. Don't be afraid to learn new things, try, and fail.
In order to be employable and better position yourself to be competitive in the market, it is absolutely important to build a track record.
For example, in marketing, you'll be a lot more employable if you have experience building an audience.
If you want to grow your career in E-commerce, then you can always start selling with Shopify or something more rudimentary.
The person with such knowledge and experience who've tried before entering the workforce will be a lot more marketable than someone who has done nothing.
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