Respondents Still See Greater Value in an In-Person College Experience Versus Online
LOS ANGELES, May 26, 2021 - While most professionals in a recent Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY) survey believe it’s more important today to earn a college degree, they are split on whether companies should make earning a diploma mandatory.
More than two-thirds (68 percent) say it’s more critical today to have a degree when job hunting than it was when they first entered the workforce. However, only 50 percent say employers should require that candidates have college degrees.
“We do see a trend with some companies — particularly in the higher growth technology sectors — doing away with mandatory bachelor’s degrees,” said Ken Kring, Co-Managing Director of Korn Ferry’s Global Education practice. “There are many roles for which technical 2-year degrees or on-the-job training are sufficient to be qualified.”
Nearly half (41 percent) of respondents say having a 2-year associate’s degree instead of a 4-year bachelor’s degree does not limit career prospects for most.
However, when it comes to their own college education, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) say the price of tuition they paid for their bachelor’s degree was worth it. About the same percentage (73 percent) said they went to college because they wanted to, not because they felt it was required.
“College is an invaluable experience to help people learn more than coursework. It is a way to prepare them to meet challenges in all areas of their lives,” said Kring.
Sixty-nine percent say the No. 1 way their college experience helped them was to increase their ability to think critically, and 59 percent still use key college learnings in their professional career.
The vast majority say pursuing higher education is the right thing to do – for themselves and for their children.
Nearly all (96 percent) say that if they’d have to do it over again, they’d still get a college degree, and 86 percent say that if they have children, they either will or have already encouraged them to get a degree instead of pursuing a different path.
Finally, even though the pandemic has accelerated a trend to more virtual learning, 70 percent say a degree obtained from an online learning institution holds less value than an in-person degree.
About the survey: The survey of 760 professionals took place in May 2021
Is it more critical or less critical today to earn a college degree than when you were in school?
More critical 68 percent
Less critical 32 percent
Do you think employers should require that candidates have college degrees?
Yes 50 percent
No 50 percent
Was the price of tuition you paid for your college bachelor’s degree worth it?
Yes 74 percent
No 26 percent
If you had to do it over again would you get a college degree?
Yes 96 percent
No 4 percent
Did you go to college because you wanted to or because you thought it was required to get a professional job?
I wanted to go to college 73 percent
I went because I thought it was required 27 percent
Do you still rely on college learnings to help you tackle professional tasks?
Yes 59 percent
No 41 percent
If you have children, would you/did you encourage them to pursue a college degree instead of taking a different path?
Yes 86 percent
No 14 percent
How did your college degree best help you professionally?
Technical skills (e.g. engineering, programming) 12 percent
Enhanced interpersonal skills 13 percent
Connections 5 percent
Critical thinking ability 69 percent
Do you think having a 2-year associate’s degree instead of a 4-year degree limits career prospects for most?
Yes 59 percent
No 41 percent
With the world moving toward more remote options, do you think an online degree holds the same value as an in-person degree?
Online holds the same value 30 percent
Online holds less value than in-person 70 percent
About Korn Ferry
Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with our clients to design optimal organization structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward and motivate their workforce while developing professionals as they navigate and advance their careers.