In just about every job, workers’ skills are more important than where they went to college or, as is increasingly the case, whether they went to college.
A tight labor market in which the number of open jobs exceeded the number of workers seeking to fill them led more and more employers, including Fortune 500 companies like Google, IBM and Apple, to avoid the requirements of long standing in terms of diplomas for candidates. And the widespread availability of remote work during the pandemic has opened the floodgates for skill-based jobs.
In November 2022, 41% of US-based job postings required at least a bachelor’s degree, according to new analysis from think tank Burning Glass Institute reported by the the wall street journal. This is down from 46% at the start of 2019. Candidates and companies are reaping the benefits of this change.
Prioritizing skills over credentials can be a boon for companies struggling to attract or retain talent, especially when workers can learn skills on the job. This is in addition to the fact that the removal of degree requirements greatly expands the pool of applicants, especially for workers from underrepresented groups.
Consider General Motors, which removed educational requirements from many job postings. Telva McGruder, its head of diversity, equity and inclusion, said Fortune’Phil Wahba’s degrees are not “necessarily the ultimate indicator of someone’s potential”.
In 2016, IBM coined the term “new collar jobs” for roles that require specific skills rather than specific training. The percentage of job openings at the tech giant requiring a four-year degree fell from 95% in 2011 to less than half in January 2021. Ginni Rometty, who was CEO when the term was coined, said declared Fortune CEO Alan Murray, who hires without a college degree, has done as well as a Ph.D. graduates of the best universities.
And in recent years, Google and Accenture have launched apprenticeship programs aimed at bringing in workers without a degree.
“College degrees are out of reach for many Americans, and you shouldn’t need a college degree to have economic security,” Google President of Global Affairs Kent Walker wrote of the certificates. Google Career in July 2020. Career training solutions – from enhanced career programs to online education – to help America recover and rebuild.
Skills rather than degrees are good business
Prioritizing workers who can do the job, regardless of pedigree, isn’t just about openness: it’s good business. So says LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky, who told the harvard business review that a “competency-driven mindset” represents the adaptive leadership that bosses need right now.
Providing more opportunities to larger talent pools can be a saving grace during a tight labor market, he said, pointing to the thousands of food service workers laid off at the start of the pandemic. The average food service worker had 70% of the skills they needed to be an entry-level customer service agent, the most in-demand role at the time. But most remained unemployed, he said, while customer service jobs went unfilled.
“If we had just taken a view on what skills are needed; who has these skills; how can we help them acquire some skills to help them find a job; we would have ended up in a much more efficient labor market,” Roslansky said.
Certainly, going to college remains a sound business decision, even amid the crippling student loan debt that weighs on millions of participants. According to the Social Security Administration, men with bachelor’s degrees earn about $900,000 more than high school graduates over their lifetime; women with a bachelor’s degree earn $630,000 more. For men with a graduate degree, that figure jumps to $1.5 million more in median lifetime earnings than high school graduates, and $1.1 million more for women. of a graduate degree.
These are deep gaps to fill, even with the sharpest skills.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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