Employers are looking for more educated workers.

If you’re looking to join the workforce but don’t have a college degree, you may be in for a harsh lesson. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 32 percent of employers have increased their educational requirements over the past five years.

More than a third of employers (37 percent) are hiring employees with college degrees for positions that had been primarily held by those with high school degrees. Similarly, 27 percent are hiring employees with master’s degrees for positions once primarily held by workers with four-year degrees.

Why the new expectations?

The biggest driving force behind this bump in education requirements is necessity. Sixty percent of employers who have raised education requirements for new positions say the positions themselves have evolved and require higher educated, higher skilled labor.

Also at play is the high demand for jobs. Employers know that in a tight job market, they’re able to get college-educated applicants to fill those open positions (56 percent indicated this was a reason for their increased education requirements).

As a result of hiring more highly educated workers, employers have reported seeing a positive impact on:

  • Higher quality work: 57 percent
  • Productivity: 43 percent
  • Communication: 38 percent
  • Innovation/idea generation: 37 percent
  • Employee retention: 32 percent
  • Customer loyalty: 25 percent
  • Revenue: 21 percent

Education isn’t just a major factor in the hiring process – it also plays a part in who gets promotions. More than a third (36 percent) say they are unlikely to promote someone who doesn’t have a college degree.

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