A significant discrepancy exists between the educational credentials employees are pursuing, and the credentials managers want employees to have, according to a joint research study conducted by the University of Phoenix and EdAssist. Using an online survey tool, researchers surveyed 533 workers from diverse industries who were pursuing company sponsored higher education, as well as 501 managers of such workers.
Among the study participants, nearly equal numbers of workers were pursuing Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, but when asked what credentials were needed for jobs in their organizations, managers cited a Master’s degree only about half as often as a Bachelor’s.
Although at least a third of managers said an Associate’s degree or a professional certification or license would qualify people to work at their organizations, few employees reported they were working to obtain those credentials. Workers and managers also disagree on the role of colleges and universities in career-relevant skill building:
- Nearly half of employee said their college or university should be responsible for helping them develop specific job skills. However, only a third of managers agree—a result that is surprising in light of the widely reported skills shortages.
- Instead 93% of managers believe that colleges should teach soft skills such as how to think, learn, and communicate and 75% of workers agree.
- In addition 73% of managers believe higher education should teach students how to collaborate with diverse peers, but only 44% of workers agree.
- In contrast to developing cross functional soft skills 96% of manager said that providing technical training, building job-specific skills, and offering professional development are the employer’s responsibility.
- Some 61% of workers feel providing funding for their higher education should be their employer’s responsibility without this benefit 40% of workers would not have pursued higher education.