Employers Rethink Need for College Degrees in Tight Labor Market

The tight la­bor mar­ket is prompt­ing more em­ployers to elim­i­nate one of the big­gest re­quire­ments for many higher-pay­ing jobs: the need for a col­lege de­gree.

Com­pa­nies such as Al­pha­bet Inc.’s Google, Delta Air Lines Inc. and In­ternational Busi­ness Ma­chines Corp. have re­duced ed­u­ca­tional require­ments for cer­tain po­si­tions and shifted hir­ing to fo­cus more on skills and ex­pe­ri­ence. Mary­land this year cut col­lege-de­gree requirements for many state jobs—lead­ing to a surge in hir­ing—and in­com­ing Penn­syl­va­nia Gov. Josh Shapiro cam­paigned on a sim­i­lar ini­tia­tive.

Wall Street Journal 11-26-22

How about that?
For more years than I care to remember, I have said that the vast majority of jobs cannot justify requiring a bachelors degree.

During my entire working career there was not one job that actually required a degree. Yet if I had not spent the time and money for a BA, I would not have advanced. Whoever heard of a Vice President of an S&P 500 company without a degree?🤨

Yes, certain skills may be necessary, but they can be acquired in many ways without four years in college. Education in many forms is important, but routinely linking a degree to specific jobs is unfair and probably deprives employers of skilled, motivated and productive workers.

5 comments

  1. I totally agree that a college degree is not a necessary thing. I have said this for many years and I’m glad it’s finally going mainstream.

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  2. One firm I joined later grew into a Fortune 100 Insurance and Financial Services Firm. The CEO, at the time I joined, had decades of tenure with the firm (ultimately completing 40+ years), but no undergraduate degree. It was our privilege to have him as our leader. He was a Horatio Alger recipient – no surprise given his support for education, including higher education, that touted the limitless possibilities in our free enterprise system.

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  3. Back in the early 1980’s during the height of Affirmative Action, college was used to avoid various hiring tests given by employers and the lawsuits. When I applied for a state job as DOD Staff Assistant II, my resume contain every piece of paper of every course I had ever taken in the fire service. (I was told to do this.) I was already an Air Force fire fighter in my Air National Guard unit applying for the exact same position as a civilian. The object was to have one more piece of paper than the next guy. I did.

    Fast forward 20 years and I was training to be a nuclear reactor operator. We had a washout rate of 70% in the 15 month class. I passed and I only had a high school education. Even people who were navy nukes failed. Degreed engineers failed too.

    It was at this point I learned about the value of a college degree. I asked one person how they managed to get a degree from Drexel University where my brother went? After all, engineers had to be able to get the calculations right to build things. The answer was that the professors graded on a curve. So a college degree doesn’t even mean that a person can learn things and pass a test which was the excuse I often heard for requiring a degree. (This person moved on and last I heard was a senior manager at another nuclear plant.)

    Now what I hear from college students is that you only pass with high grades if you agree with the professor’s woke ideology. Our step-grandson quit a full scholarship at a liberal college to join the army because he couldn’t take the indoctrination at college. Our 40 something year old neighbor is having a real hard time going back to school because she knows how the real world works and is not bullied like some kid fresh out of high school.

    In 2009, I finally earned my degree or as I like to say, bought it. I did it because I had over 5000 hours in instruction and about a 100 certificates, but looking forward to a post-retirement job, I knew the first question I was going to be asked was did I have a college degree. I needed that box checked even thought it didn’t mean a thing and nobody was going to look at whatever relevant certificates I had until that box was checked. I believe that over the 29 years it took me to earn my degree, I only paid less than $2k out of my pocket to earn my degree. The rest was picked up by the Air Force and my employers over that time.

    I never use my degree to this day. I know a lot of people who work in the trades with out any college that are a lot smarter than me too.

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  4. I hope this trend continues. The most valuable course I’ve ever taken was typing in high school. Heck, I regret not taking typing II! I never thought I’d sit in front of a computer all day typing away. College doesn’t make you more intelligent. When I was an officer in the navy, the guys (it was all guys on my ships back then) that worked for me were all very intelligent. They were mainly graduates of the navy’s Advanced Electronics Program and were outstanding technicians. They’d pull out the wiring diagrams and use oscilloscopes, multimeters, and soldering irons to repair the sonar, radar, or other systems. I never thought I was smarter than them – I was just fortunate enough to have a degree and make it through officer training. The most important traits beyond a basic level of intelligence are aptitude and the ability to learn.

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