Does a higher educational background translate into better hires?

Some roles, like that of change management professionals, are dominated by graduates.

new survey into over 1,450 change management professionals reveals a clear link between the level of education of a Change Manager and their likelihood of being a top performer, when compared to peers who hold a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.

The survey, called ‘What Makes an Exceptional Change Manager?’, was conducted by Kite Change, part of Kite Consulting Group and was developed in partnership with the Change Management Institute. Combining the CMI’s competency framework with a unique data set held by Kite Change, this survey is the first industry-wide study of its kind which explores the attributes and common denominators across top performers in change management.

Over a period of 5 years, Kite Change analysed over 2,800 independently verified candidates, of which 1,490 were change management professionals. They then crossed referenced performance grading with education and pay across these 1,490 applicants, measuring trend analysis and dependencies. Kite Change also completed a full psychometric study and comparative statistical analysis on a test sample of >10% against both personality traits and CMI competencies.

The results of the survey revealed that whilst a candidate was more likely to be a top earner if they had higher education (84% of top earners had a higher education qualification), this had absolutely no bearing on their ability to outperform those candidates who did not have a higher education.

This study did not show that there are more top performers without degrees than with degrees, but rather that there was a consistent link between top performers and people who do not have a higher education, with the lower their education level, the more likely they were to be a top performer when measured against their peers.

 

The results revealed that a Change Manager with no higher education has an 84% chance of being a top performer, falling steeply to 10% for candidates with a Bachelor’s Degree and even further to just 4% for those with a Master’s or PhD.

Nathan Fuller, Managing Director of Kite Consulting Group and the author of the study explains:

“What this study suggests is that in change management, you are significantly more likely to be a top performer if you do not have a degree, this is probably because of the barrier to entry in large companies for those without a higher education. In other words, only the best non-graduates get hired so as a talent pool they are higher calibre.

 

It also suggests there is more scrutiny in the hiring processes applied to a non-graduate than someone who has a degree. This produces the positive result of a tendency towards hiring the best people in this talent pool, but this raises the question, if people with a degree are more expensive, then why are we investing less effort making sure they’re a good hire?”

The full study What Makes an Exceptional Change Manager?’ is available to download from the Kite Change website here.

Author: Editorial Team

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