It has become increasingly common for job postings to list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement, regardless of whether these jobs actually require a four-year college education.
This ‘degree inflation’ can be counterproductive to an employer’s recruitment efforts, especially in a tight labor market like the one we are currently experiencing.
According to a recent study from Harvard University, degree inflation is particularly acute for positions like administrative assistant and production supervisor.
This trend hasn’t gone unnoticed. IBM, Random House and other large employers have removed the bachelor’s degree requirement for many of their job postings. Leaders at these companies, and others, are beginning to ask serious questions about how a college degree is related to professional ability, particularly considering Steve Jobs and other highly successful people never earned a college degree. Also, with technical skills rapidly evolving and changing, adaptability and the ability to learn may be more valuable than specific skills. In addition, hiring applicants who haven’t taken the traditional college path might be beneficial.
Consider the following reasons why you should consider removing the bachelor’s degree requirement from some of your job postings.
Classroom vs. on-the-job training
In many ways, education in a college classroom doesn’t prepare someone to work a full-time job. Classroom education might help students learn time management and critical thinking, but a good training program can be enough to succeed in many positions.
Also, training programs have been shown to provide a large benefit for staff members, as they’ve been shown to boost engagement and retention.
As the recent college admissions scandal illustrated, there are serious flaws and inherent biases in our country’s secondary education system. When your company places too much value on a college degree, it gives tacit approval to that flawed system.
Furthermore, hiring applicants who don’t have a four-year degree might be a good approach to boosting diversity across your company.
A greater focus on soft skills
Effective hiring managers know a person’s technical background isn’t often a good predictor of hiring success. A better predictor is an applicant’s bevy of soft skills, including their teamworking and leadership abilities.
A growing number of hiring personnel are finding people without college degrees often have the fundamental soft skills needed not only to succeed in the position, but also thrive long term. Based on the role you’re looking to fill, you might try to find individuals with a strong work ethic, good interpersonal skills and natural leadership ability – rather than just someone with a four-year degree.
At Thompson Technologies, we connect our clients to top talent based on the criteria they establish. If your company is currently looking for a talent acquisition partner, please contact us today.