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High School Graduates Need Not Apply: A Degree is the New Diploma


When our parents entered the job market at 18, all they needed was a high school diploma. College degrees were for the kids who wanted to be lawyers and doctors. Times have changed. Though it used to be somewhat of a status symbol, the bachelor’s degree is quickly becoming the new high school diploma.

1.Old Jobs, New Requirements

According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 32 percent of hiring managers said that they are no longer happy with a high school diploma. These HR professionals are now looking for college degrees. Though the financial sector is seeing this trend occur more frequently, other industries are following suit. Manufacturing has historically been a hot job opportunity for high school graduates. Today, 38 percent of people employed in the manufacturing industry hold a bachelor’s degree.

2.Educational Requirements

Why do we see more employed people with degrees? Because hiring requirements have become stricter. Look through job postings on popular recruitment sites and you’ll see an associate’s degree listed as a job requirement. In fact, 54 percent of employers are now requiring at least a two-year degree. This means that if you hold only a high school diploma, don’t bother applying.


Very few people today can expect to be promoted into the higher echelons of a company if they do not possess a college degree. Employers expect that their managers have the knowledge to lead a team of people and get the job done. Not only are companies raising expectations, but college graduates are frequently taking entry-level jobs that are below their skill level. Promotions are an opportunity to utilize college graduates where they are the most beneficial to the company.

4.Degrees Talk

Most companies report that college graduates have had a positive impact on operations. 64 percent of employers report a higher quality of work among degree holders. Increased productivity is reported by 45 percent of employers, and increased revenue is reported by 22 percent of employers. Employers pay attention to these opinions and statistics. A college degree in your hand makes you instantly more attractive to potential employers.

5.Buyer’s Market

According to New York Times reporter Catherine Rampell, it’s a buyer’s market for today’s employers. More people than ever are pursuing a college education, allowing employers to be more choosey when it comes to filling an open position. This can be a disastrous stance for those who can’t afford to go to college. It can also be difficult for those with pricey four-year degrees. Accepting what used to be entry-level positions for high-school grads don’t begin to pay back student loans.

So what does this mean for you? If you’ve been considering pursuing your degree, it’s time to stop thinking and start doing. If you hope to move ahead in your current career or are dying to jump ship and start over, it’s simple: A high school diploma is no longer adequate. If you envision better things for your future, a degree is a necessity.

Brett Harris is an avid blogger for several top online universities.

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