Conventional wisdom says hiring from the best colleges is a sure way to bring talent into you company. But a new study from Correlation One labeled The Future of Data Talent suggests that hiring managers might be prowling the wrong campuses.

The top ten percent of the graduates of second-tier colleges outperform the average graduate of a Tier One institution. A second consideration is that these leading second-tier graduates are easier and less expensive to hire.

Bill O’Donell suggests that Tier Two colleges and universities may be a better place to launch your talent search in this blog post from HR Dive:

With a 63% jump in AI job openings in 2018 alone, applicants with a data science background are in high demand. However, filling those roles and forecasting future skill needs continues to put the squeeze on employers. With plans to increase headcount, many employers have started to look to alternative credentialing instead of four-year institutions to source candidates. With myriad industries affected by the digital skills gap, such alternative recruitment strategies may be exactly what’s needed.

Similarly, rather than recruiting average students from top schools, the study’s findings suggest that employers could look to recruit talent from tier-one or tier-two schools who are more skilled, less expensive and easier to hire. Likewise, for employers prioritizing diversity and inclusion, historically black universities and other organizations can be source of talented applicants who can bring both skills and new perspectives. Even with diversity initiatives stalled in the tech industry, some are finding that such efforts boost both the bottom line and innovation.