Future of Work

Which degree will get you hired?

Image: Profile of students taking their seats for the diploma ceremony at Harvard University in Cambridge

Image: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Arwen Armbrecht
Writer and social media producer, Freelance
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Future of Work?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Future of Work is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Future of Work

How much education is enough to get your dream job? If you aim to be an accountant, a bachelor's should suffice. But a master's in computer science might give you an edge. If you want a job in electrical engineering, you might need to stay at university a few years longer to get a doctorate. It really depends on what you study, according to a new poll by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

The NACE asked 201 US companies which degrees they look for most when hiring. While those who had achieved a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance or business management were highly valued, there was substantially less demand for such skills at a higher level. Computer science was the most consistent degree, scoring second for bachelor's, first for master's and second again for a doctorate. STEM studies were the big winners, which seems to underline the increasing need from companies for people who can adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Bachelor's degree

Accounting scored highest for those with a bachelor's degree, followed by computer science and finance.

Master's degree

The much-coveted MBA came in at only sixth place, while STEM degrees dominated the top five.


As with master's degrees, STEM studies were most highly valued by companies considering candidates with a doctorate.

But those who studied social sciences need not despair. While social science and humanities majors didn't make any of the lists, 40 of the 201 surveyed companies said they were hiring communications majors, while a further 33 were looking for economics graduates. Language and literature graduates have the toughest time, according to the data. Only eight employers said they were interested in such degrees.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Future of WorkEducation
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Green job vacancies are on the rise – but workers with green skills are in short supply

Andrea Willige

February 29, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum