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August 24, 2017

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66% of firms don't see master's as crucial: job bank

While the number of graduate students has surged 78 percent in the last 10 years from roughly 100,000 to more than 180,000, this may often not be the first criteria considered by a company on the hunt for a new employee.

According to 1111 Job Bank, 66 percent of companies surveyed claimed that a master's degree would not significantly benefit a jobseeker.

"A person's level of degree usually isn't what our employers care the most about," said Manager Margery Ho (何默真), a public affairs officer for retailer Carrefour.

"We would rather have someone who is passionate and initiates good leadership in-line with our company's vision," she added.

While that might be true, there is still a good deal of industries that give weight to a master's degree, according to the job bank. This is especially true in sectors that require professional expertise, such as information technology and biochemistry. "Whether one needs a master's depends or not on the industry," Ho said.

Citing August's 4.4-percent unemployment rate among those with a bachelor's degree, 1111 Job Bank Deputy General Manager Henry Ho (何啟勝) noted that many college graduates have decided to try for a master's out of fear of becoming unemployed immediately after graduation.

"A master's degree is worth acknowledging, but more importantly, figuring out what type of skills will be most helpful in one's interested industry is crucial before plunging into higher education," he said.

For some industries, such as communications and service, Ho suggested that graduates enter the work environment prior to studying for a master's, as hands-on experience is especially important in these fields.

"After a few years, you can come back and earn a higher degree for chances of a bigger raise," he said.

According to the survey, the average starting salary for a graduate with a master's is NT$35,132; however 26.9 percent of companies asked said they have avoided hiring such candidates to reduce costs. Other reasons given included duties that do not require such a high education and a fear that the master's student may have an "arrogant" attitude.

"We've had people with master's degrees coming in who wanted to skip the basic parts of a job and jump to managerial levels," Margery Ho said.

"What they don't understand is that the basic level is where everyone begins, not to mention that they are already two years behind in work experience compared to someone who started working after college," she added.

A prospective graduate surnamed Dai who was accepted into six different master's programs to study finance this year stated that he will not expect a higher salary when he starts his career.

"I won't have any working experience, so I wouldn't expect a high salary to begin with. I guess a master's gives me a ticket to advance to better positions in a company and bigger raises," he said.

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