Report offers data on "credential creep" in the US

September 11, 2014

A new report has found that PSE credentials are increasingly in demand by employers; however, the report also suggests that demand has been fed by, and in turn feeds, credential inflation. Researchers compared educational attainment required by employers in job advertisements with the profiles of the current workforce. The study found that employers are increasingly seeking bachelor’s degrees for positions that formerly required much less education, even if the actual skills required have not changed. Employers asked for bachelor’s degrees even when doing so made the position harder to fill. Moreover, job postings frequently asked for a degree even when the requested skill set included skills not typically taught in bachelor’s degree programs. The shift was especially pronounced in positions that have historically been dominated by workers without a college degree, and least dramatic for roles that have alternate credentials. The researchers suggest that some employers may be using a bachelor’s degree as a broad filter, but caution that “upcredentialing” may make some “middle-skill” career pathways unavailable to otherwise capable workers and exacerbate problems faced by employers looking to replace an aging workforce. Inside Higher Ed | Report Summary