Higher Degrees

An interesting item appeared about online degrees coming in vogue and what this means for recruiters. In short, although it seems they still prefer people with traditional four-year sheepskins, more hiring managers are warming to candidates who earned their credentials via accredited distance-learning programs. (Read: not diploma mills).

For one thing, prejudices appear to be evaporating against people going the online route, driven no doubt by companies’ voracious appetite for talent (coupled with the “where are all the good candidates?” syndrome). The line is beginning to blur between online and classroom training, with a growing number of bricks-and-mortar campuses delivering course offerings online. That’s a trend that’s been developing for a number of years.

Although slightly dated, research from The Sloan Foundation reinforces why all this is crucial to recruiters. Sloan says 20 percent of all U.S. higher education students took at least one online course in 2006. And at nearly 10 percent, the rate of growth of online enrollments far outstrips the 1.5 percent of the overall national population of higher-ed students.

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I soon expect avant-garde recruiting organizations — especially those that want first dibs on newly minted grads — to turn up the pressure on online outfits such as University of Phoenix, ITT Technical Institute and others to offer enhanced post-graduate placement services. These agreements pop up from time to time in certain quarters, but it’s a market niche that remains sorely underserved.

An online university is like banquet table. Just as they’ve always done, recruiters will follow the breadcrumbs to satisfy their appetites for talent.

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