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The Benefits of an Educated Workforce

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April 27, 2018 | Dr. Michelle Horton, Director of the Complete Florida Program

A business can have the best products, even the most cutting-edge technology, but without a well-trained, and well-educated workforce, the company may not thrive. Today, a well-educated workforce with skilled employees makes businesses more competitive and productive. No longer are employers using education as a tool for merely “weeding out” undesirable candidates; instead, jobs require sophisticated credentials in nearly all industries. Today, the hiring process demands that employers look for candidates with the best credentials.

To meet the growing need for highly skilled employees, employers should think about investing in employees and their educational future as it can be an added benefit to the longevity of the business. An advantage to encouraging current employees to finish their degree is that employees already understand the company. Therefore, businesses can spend less on searching for the right candidate. The importance of an educated workforce cannot be understated. After all, according to the Lumina Foundation, by 2025, 60 percent of Americans will need a college degree, workforce certificate, industry certification, or some other credential beyond high school.

There is a common misconception that only employees see the benefits of higher education in the form of higher wages. That simply isn’t the case. Employers see a return on investment when they hire an educated workforce. Some of the benefits of a well-educated workforce can be having highly skilled and happy employees, new and creative ideas, and even increased profits and investment. Businesses with an educated workforce are also more efficient, capable of contributing new and valuable innovations.

There is nothing an employer wants more than a talented pool of potential employees to choose from when hiring. Studies show states that value educational attainment of a state’s workforce, have higher median wages than states that do not invest in education. Higher salaries lead to higher employee morale and increased job satisfaction, all of which lead to the success of a business in the long-term. But why not also strengthen the talent pool by promoting from within, encouraging current employees to finish their college degree. According to The Conference Board, companies that offer employee education benefits see an 87 percent increase in employee morale and a 40 percent increase in retention.

Businesses see continued economic successes from employees who are financially secure in the form of increasing profits. Employees who are receiving higher wages, as a result of having an advanced education, also report high levels of loyalty to the company, and high morale and job satisfaction. These employees who experience overall job satisfaction become the future leaders of their companies and are more likely to stay because they are seen as valuable. Overall, businesses with employees who are happier because of increased wages, due in large part to having an education, see positive effects of having a well-educated team.

But the happiness of employees isn’t the only reason for businesses to want a well-educated team. Innovation and increased creativity add to a business’ ability to be competitive. Employers are always looking for a way to have a competitive edge, what better way than to have an educated workforce who can bring in fresh, new, and innovative ideas. Colleges and universities across the country are teaching students to think more creatively and critically, to look to see if there are different solutions to common problems. These institutions are also teaching students creative problem-solving skills, including design-thinking which leads students to think about human-centered ideas. Businesses thrive when there are new and innovative approaches to problem-solving coming from their employees.

Happy, innovative, and well-educated employees lead businesses to see a significant return on investment and increasing opportunities. The Economic Policy Institute found that States saw a direct correlation between adults with a college degree and productivity in the economy. Productivity improves because of innovations by employees with college degrees, thus leads to businesses having increased profits. This increase in productivity leads to better benefits and higher wages for employees. Higher salaries turn into employees spending more on goods and services, which leads to businesses seeing increases in productivity. In the circle of a company, investing in employees with a higher degree of education leads to the business succeeding in the competitive world.

Invest in your employee’s future, and invest in education today!