Why employers should fund postgraduate degrees and further education


There are many reasons why employers should consider sponsoring their employees to get postgraduate qualifications. 

  • Improve employee retention: Employees who feel that their employer is invested in their development are more likely to stay, as they know that their employer is committed to helping them reach their full potential.
  • Improve employee productivity and quality of work: Postgraduate qualifications can help employees develop the skills and knowledge they need to be more productive and effective in their roles. This can lead to improved profitability or outcomes for employers.
  • Improve reputation and attractiveness as an employer: Sponsoring employee education shows that an employer is committed to reinvesting in its employees and to developing a strong workforce. This is a huge plus point when future job candidates are looking at applying for or accepting roles.


Why you should ask your employer

There are also many reasons why you should ask your employer for sponsorship, a few that might be relevant to you are:

  • Improved career prospects without additional cost: Pursuing postgraduate qualifications can be expensive. However, if your employer is willing to sponsor you, you can get the degree you need without having to pay for it yourself or take out additional loans. This can allow you to advance your career without creating financial stress.
  • Employer buy-in can mean you get to use your knowledge as you learn: In most cases, employers are looking to have you use the knowledge and skills you are learning in your postgraduate studies in your job. This can be a great way to get practical experience and make the most of your studies.


How to pitch to your employer

The first step is to find out if your employer is already offering sponsorship for postgraduate qualifications.

Many large companies and organisations, for example Google, Proctor & Gamble, and Fletcher Construction, have learning and development budgets set aside that can be used for this purpose. If your employer does not have a formal program, you may still be able to get sponsorship by making a strong case for it.

Here are some tips for pitching your employer:

  • Know what programme, school, and courses you are interested in. 
    • Do your research and make sure that the programme you are interested in is relevant to your current job and your career goals. 
  • Be clear about how your employer will benefit from your enrolment. 
    • Explain how the skills and knowledge you will gain from the programme will help you to be more productive, effective and help your organisation progress.
  • Be prepared to answer any questions your employer may have. 
    • This could include questions about your career goals, your motivation for wanting to pursue the degree, and your plans for using your new skills and knowledge in your current role.


Handling objections

Your employer may have some objections to sponsoring you for postgraduate qualifications. Here are some common objections and how to address them:

  • “It’s too expensive”. Explain how the cost of the programme is an investment in the future of a star employee, as well as the future of your organisation. If there is room for negotiation, ask if they would consider partially funding your study instead, to show your commitment to enrolling and completing the programme.
  • “We don’t want to lose you to another company once you’re done”. Explain that you are committed to your career with your employer and how you plan to contribute while studying and after you graduate.


The fine print

If your employer does agree to sponsor you, there may be some conditions attached. These conditions may include things like:

  • A commitment to your employer: You may be asked to commit to working for your employer for a certain period of time while studying and after you graduate.
  • Maintain a certain grade point average: You may be required to maintain a certain grade point average in order to keep your sponsorship, as a guarantee that you are committed to your learning.
  • Restrictions on using work hours to study: You most likely will not be allowed to use work hours to study, unless otherwise agreed.

Be sure to read the fine print carefully and thoroughly and discuss them with your employer before you agree to any conditions.


Sponsoring employees for postgraduate qualifications is a smart investment for employers and employees alike. With a little planning and preparation, you may be able to get the funding you need from your employer to make your dreams a reality.

The online delivery has allowed me to participate in study towards my Masters, even though I work full time and I live outside Auckland. This is the first programme I’ve seen that allows this flexibility. The lecturers are accomplished experts, but so approachable and helpful, and the course materials are fantastic. I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learnt straight into my “day” job, and my employer is already very pleased with the investment they’re making into my study.


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