Credentialism and educational inflation

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2023-03-16 20:30:09

Credentialism and educational inflation refers to the increasing overqualifications in educational requirements for occupations.

In Western society, China, and India, there has been increasing reliance on formal qualifications or certification for jobs. This process has, in turn, led to credential inflation (also known as credential creep, academic inflation, or degree inflation), the process of inflation of the minimum credentials required for a given job and the simultaneous devaluation of the value of diplomas and degrees. These trends are also associated with grade inflation, a tendency to award progressively higher academic grades for work that would have received lower grades in the past.[1][2]

There are some occupations that used to require a high school diploma, such as construction supervisors, loans officers, insurance clerks, and executive assistants,[3] that are increasingly requiring a bachelor's degree. Some jobs that formerly required candidates to have a bachelor's degree, such as becoming a director in the federal government,[4] tutoring students, or being a history tour guide in a historic site,[5] now require a master's degree. Some jobs that used to require a master's degree, such as junior scientific researcher positions and sessional lecturer jobs, now require a PhD. Also, some jobs that formerly required only a PhD, such as university professor positions, are increasingly requiring one or more postdoctoral fellowship appointments. Often increased requirements are simply a way to reduce the number of applicants to a position. The increasingly global nature of competitions for high-level positions may also be another cause of credential creep.[6]

Credentialism is a reliance on formal qualifications or certifications to determine whether someone is permitted to undertake a task, speak as an expert[7] or work in a certain field. It has also been defined as "excessive reliance on credentials, especially academic degrees, in determining hiring or promotion policies."[8] Credentialism occurs where the credentials for a job or a position are upgraded, even though there is no skill change that makes this increase necessary.[9]

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