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A degree or skills: What’s more valuable?

A college degree isn’t everything.

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While most college graduates believe their diploma assisted in their career, a new survey reveals that more graduates now believe new skills and specialized training is what will help advance their careers the most, and earn them more money.

The Glassdoor survey also found workers believe employers focus less on education and more on skills when evaluating candidates.

“The real issue is that once you’re in the position, everybody who’s in that position has that college degree,” said Joy Schneer, chair of management at Rider University, reacting to the survey. “So then what differentiates between the different people in that position will be the specific skills and knowledge they have.”

Schneer noted a number of grads are landing jobs that are unrelated to their field of study, or jobs that don’t actually require a degree, due to the lingering effects of the recession.  She said that trend makes many new workers question their higher education choices.

“It’s still very valuable to have a college degree,” Schneer said, pointing to Economic Policy Institute data that shows graduates earned nearly 100 percent more than non-graduates last year.

“There are many jobs for which a college degree is required,” she added. “Even if you have an incredible amount of experience, if you don’t have that degree, you’re not going to be hired.”

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