top of page


Five things that matter more to employers than your degree

Dive In
  • Writer's pictureThe CareerBeacon Team

It isn’t your university or college degree or the school that you went to that is going to impress potential employers. Having graduated from a specific university actually ranks last among the top qualifications that hiring managers and executives look for in new hires.

It turns out that most employers are looking to hire candidate potential over pedigrees. The research team at Universum conducted over two thousand interviews with employers in eighteen countries to determine patterns in what business leaders look for the most when evaluating talent – especially for future leadership roles.

The results found that employers are much more concerned with candidates’ personality profile and character than they are about specific credentials. In a tight labour market – especially for those areas where talent shortages are emerging – companies find that they can provide training and teach the required technical skills, so long as the candidate is willing to learn and has a positive work ethic.

Above and beyond even character, the most important factor of all that employers look for in new hires is their on-the-job accomplishments. What people have actually done in the past as indicators of their future potential. This is why it is so hard to land a job – when you have no previous work experience.

“We are moving more toward a meritocracy society where you’re measured on your accomplishments rather than your grades and school of choice,” said Universum CEO Petter Nylander. “Recruiting individuals based on specific skills is less important than recruiting someone with great potential.”

The six factors that employers care the most about in potential hires

  1. Work experience

  2. Personality profile

  3. Communications skills

  4. Cultural fit

  5. Leadership experience

  6. Degree from a specific university

Here are the more detailed results from the Universum study:

bottom of page