When a small business is searching out employees, they typically prefer to hire those with some type of qualification in the form of experience or educational degree. But how important is a degree? Is it reckless to overlook those who don’t have a four-year bachelor’s degree? Would a wiser choice be to hire someone with no degree but years of experience? Should you be hiring a graduate with a four-year bachelor’s degree or only a two-year associate degree? These are decisions a hiring manager or boss must consider during the hiring process to ensure they get the best return on investment from a new employee.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring a Graduate
When deciding to hire an employee without a degree but with years of experience as opposed to a new grad with a degree and no experience, there are several issues to consider. You’ll probably have to pay the experienced employee more money than a recent graduate with a degree, while the graduate expects to be paid less knowing they’ll probably start on the ground floor and work their way up. But how productive will the graduate be for generating income for the company?
When hiring an experienced employee without a degree, you can safely bet on that employee ‘hitting the floor running’ and making money for the company much sooner than someone without experience. The experienced employee will likely have to learn their way around your company and how you or your team performs, but training will be minimal in comparison to a new grad or anyone without experience. Return on investment (ROI) will start happening much quicker with the experienced employee.
Paying a higher salary would be the major disadvantage of hiring an experienced employee. When that employee already has a few years in their work history, an experienced worker is confident in their knowledge of the field and would usually demand a higher wage than someone with no experience. They’ll know your company won’t have to invest much in training them to do the job.
Benefits of Hiring A Graduate with a Degree
The immediate and most obvious advantage of hiring a graduate without experience is the lower salary they will demand. As mentioned earlier, the grad will expect to be paid less and go through the training necessary to start making the company some money. The difference in salary could add up to tens of thousands of dollars each year. However, the company won’t know the grad’s worth until some time has passed and they can prove they can perform the duties of the position. If the grad can’t catch on to the company’s methods or routine within a reasonable amount of time, the company must consider additional costly training or letting that employee go followed by hiring another employee.
Another reason to hire a grad with little or no experience is having a newer and possibly younger employee join your team with a positive and eager attitude to learn the job, do it well, and impress the boss. If that works out well, this young employee might add something to the company no one thought of before. College professors teach the latest trends and methods that are often better than those older ones that have been in place for a while. For example, a grad might have knowledge and experience of some new business software the company wasn’t aware of that could streamline operations and result in increased profits and savings.
A new grad would probably be familiar with newer technologies and would be able to teach other employees how to set up and implement those technologies and methods. Grads are often more comfortable learning and using new software and methods than someone who is already set in their ways. Often, some older employees with limited computer-related knowledge have a tough time navigating their way through instructions and processes compared to a young grad that is confident in newer systems.
One reason for hiring a graduate that is sometimes overlooked is the initiative of the grad to put in the time it takes to go to school and actually graduate. When they receive their degree, they have already shown they have what it takes to accomplish a goal from beginning to end. They worked hard and they persevered until they received their degree.
More Than Just a Degree
Someone in pursuit of a degree has to learn a variety of subjects and ultimately becomes more well-rounded and knowledgeable in several areas. They tend to think in broader terms to find solutions in difficult situations. When doing business with other companies, that level of expansive and multifaceted thinking can often shine through and present a more professional attitude and demeanor. Sometimes, even using incorrect English or using bad grammar will elicit a perception of low intelligence. In general, someone with a college degree will make fewer grammatical errors when speaking or writing, and that could be the difference in sealing a deal or losing out on one.
College courses have evolved throughout the years, and much of what is taught now allows students to acquire a fair amount of hands-on experience as part of their education. Sometimes this is done through internships with actual local businesses. When a grad starts a new job and realizes they are good at it, the motivation factor is high, and the new employee will likely remain at their new job for a long time. low turnover rates are always a ‘positive’ for a business.
The Financial Impact of Getting a Degree
How much is a degree worth? Here are some average salaries of those without degrees compared to different degrees that can be attained:
Less Than a High School Diploma —-$30,784
With a High School Diploma ————$38,792
Some College without a Degree ——-$43,316
Associate Degree ———————— $46,124
Bachelor’s Degree ———————-$64,896
Master’s degree ————————–$77,844
Professional Degree ———————$96,772
Doctorate Degree ————————$97,916
An employee with a four-year bachelor’s degree makes an average of more than $26,000 a year compared to an employee who only has a high school diploma. That adds up to be over $1 million during the span of a 40-year career. It’s clear that getting a degree is statistically a better financial decision than not getting one.
Having a college degree does not guarantee that anyone will do a better job or make more money than someone else. Some jobs that don’t require a college degree include a Transportation and Distribution Manager with a Median Income of $94,730, a Power Plant Operator with a Median Income of $83,020, and a Commercial Pilot that has a median income of $82,240. These three examples only require a high school diploma. So while not all jobs require higher education, 70% of jobs did in 2018. The reason for this is because most employers feel that some sort of degree qualifies an applicant more than one without a degree.
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