Korn Ferry Survey: Seven in 10 Executives See Better Job Prospects for 2014 College Grads Than Last Year’s Class, but More Education Required

82% acknowledge that it’s more difficult for new grads to get jobs than in ‘their day’

Most see a college degree as ‘less valuable’ than when they graduated

77% of executives believe a graduate degree is ‘worth the investment’

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Roughly seven in 10 senior executives (67%) say job prospects are better for the undergraduate class of 2014 than what faced college grads a year ago, according to a survey conducted in April by Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY), the world’s largest executive recruiting firm and single source of leadership and talent-consulting services.

The vast majority of executives (82%) readily acknowledge that jobs are still harder to come by today than when they graduated.

Today’s College Degree – Not What It Used to Be?

When it comes to building their own careers, executives are in lockstep on the critical role that education played. Nearly nine in 10 (87%) say that their studies prepared them for the jobs they’re in now. More than six in 10 (62%) believe their college degree was “necessary” for their career success.

However, when looking at the class of 2014, surprisingly, most (54%) believe that a college degree today is “less valuable” than it was when they donned their caps and gowns years ago.

“An education determines a worker’s earnings for life. Increasingly the value of today’s graduate degree is the equivalent of yesterday’s undergraduate degree,” said Korn Ferry CEO Gary D. Burnison. “For the class of 2014 entering a workforce that is fast changing and complex, there is a strong premium placed on those who are learning agile – the college graduates who can adapt, grow and evolve in a dynamic environment.”

Echoing the importance of securing an advanced degree to prepare for today’s increasingly complex environment, 77% of executives say that a graduate degree is “worth the investment.”

From April 1-14, Korn Ferry surveyed nearly 200 corporate executives.

Full Korn Ferry Executive Survey Results

Do you think that the prospects for college graduates this year are better or worse than a year ago? Than three years ago?


One Year Ago


Three Years Ago

Better 67%   56%
Worse 33% 44%

Is a college degree necessary for career success?

Yes 62%
No 38%

Is it easier or harder for a 2014 college graduate to get a job compared to the year you graduated?

Harder 82%
Easier 18%

Do you think your education prepared you for the job you have now?

Yes 87%
No 13%

Is the US education system preparing students to be highly competitive workers?

Yes 44%
No 56%

Is a college degree today more or less valuable than it was when you graduated?

More 46%
Less 54%

Do you think a graduate degree (doctorate, masters etc.) is worth the investment?

Yes 77%
No 23%

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry designs, builds, attracts and ignites talent. Since our inception, clients have trusted us to help recruit world-class leadership. Today, we are a single source for leadership and talent consulting services to empower businesses and leaders to reach their goals. Our solutions range from executive

recruitment and leadership development programs, to enterprise learning, succession planning and recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). Visit kornferry.com for more information.

Korn Ferry
Stacy Levyn, 310-556-8502

Source: Korn Ferry