Although our culture is increasingly hyper-connected and tech-savvy, it appears that when it comes to education, employers still prefer Ivies to the Internet.
A new survey from Vault.com finds that while 49% of those who make hiring decisions have encountered applicants with online degrees -- up 15 percentage point increase from the same survey three years ago -- only 19% have actually hired a candidate who only possessed an online degree, a one point decrease.
Further, when asked if they would give equal consideration to job candidates with online degrees and those with degrees from traditional colleges and universities, 63% of respondents say they would favor candidates with traditional degrees. Only 35% would give them equal consideration.
"A candidate with an online degree would have to be truly extraordinary otherwise to merit serious consideration," one hiring manager told Vault. "I don't think online degrees reflect a serious commitment to education on the part of the degree-holder."
While I understand employers´ reluctance to fully embrace online degrees because of the lack of uniformity in accreditation, standards and curricula, it sounds pretty unfair to say online degree-holders don´t have a serious commitment to education.
On the contrary, many online students already are working full-time and even juggling family responsibilities, but still want to pursue higher education. Such job candidates might be more committed to lifelong learning than other applicants, but an online program is the only type that matches their lifestyle and time constraints.
Plus, in the face of the rising cost of college (and everything else), online degree programs offer a more cost-efficient way to continue education.
Finally, there are now many accredited universities -- housed on traditional campuses -- that have an online degree program, including (ahem) Harvard.
As talent becomes an even greater issue for employers, they should take qualified applicants wherever they can find them - even if it is from online degree programs.
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