New Survey Sheds Light on Non-College Grads in the Workforce

More young people are attending college than ever before. And according to a Pew Research Center report, one-third of Americans aged 25 to 29 have bachelor’s degrees, up from 28% in 2006. With a growing saturation rate of college attendees, there is high competition for jobs among recent grads. However, there is a handful of growing industries with eyes on non-graduates. According to a recent report by Express Employment Professionals, 90% of respondents cited the Industrial sector as the hottest field for workers without a four-year degree. Office Services (84%), Sales and Marketing (62%), Health Care (42%), and Home Help (37%) round out the top five. “The tough economy means job opportunities for non-college graduates may be limited, but some fields are hotter than others, and good jobs can be found there,” said Bob Funk, Express CEO and chairman of the board. To explore this more, Refresh Leadership is taking a closer look at some benefits of hiring workers without a college degree.

Skill Set

As an employer, the strength of your company is directly affected by the strength of your workforce. Whether you’re managing an office of accountants or a team of commercial workers, you are looking for a specific skill set in every worker that will help you be innovative and maintain a competitive advantage. This is paramount when searching for the right employee. Regardless of education, having the skills that fit a position will be the difference between having a long-term team member and having a constant revolving door of talent.


What some say a non-college graduate lacks in higher education, they make up for in experience. In most cases, there’s a learning curve for every new job or position – regardless of education or experience. One advantage, though, that experience gives is a smoother transition at the beginning stages of new employment. There are certain soft skills that just can’t be taught in a classroom setting. According to Express, when employers look for workers, they value work ethic, integrity, and attitude. These traits can’t be taught, but they can be developed through experience.


Though there have been numerous studies on the effect a college degree has on workers’ monetary gains throughout their careers, one aspect that may be just as important is a continuation of education and training through the course of a career. The day leaders stop learning is the day they stop leading. With vocational and technical schools offering real-world programs to prepare for changing trends, there’s no reason why employees without bachelor’s degrees can’t be some of your most forward-thinking team members.

Make the Most of the Workforce

College graduates are struggling to find jobs that fit their skill sets and are settling for positions that don’t require bachelor’s degrees. In this instance, workers without higher education who spent those four years in the workforce instead may have a higher chance to land some of these jobs.

What are your thoughts? Do you think there is a shift in the workforce, or do employers still value higher-education over experience? Let us know in the comments section below!

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