A Focus On Skills, Not Degrees, In The New Decade

By |2020-06-11T06:13:56-04:00January 2nd, 2020|Career Articles|

Do you think you need a four-year degree to get your dream job at one of the top companies like Google, IBM, Apple, or Hilton? Think again! 

Many top employers have already started expanding their hiring pools to applicants that lack a college degree but make up for it in relevant experience and skills. Companies such as Netflix, Google, Bank of America, Whole Foods, Apple, are all in this group.

Just because you can pass multiple choice tests does not mean you should be a top candidate for a job. There should be other ways to evaluate someone. 

How Useful is a 4-Year Degree in 2020?

Tim Cook, the Apple CEO, recently reported that nearly 50% of Apple’s employees include people who never went to college. He said that college education is not as necessary as many people think because it doesn’t teach some of the most valuable skills in the current market, like coding or practical business solutions. 

And we don’t want to go into the issues with high school curriculums that are graduating young adults who lack math skills, basic aspects of history, and again and also basic business concepts.

The CEO of Siemens, Barbara Humpton, agrees with Mr. Cook. She said that just because someone has a 4-year degree, doesn’t mean they are more talented or suitable for a job. 

Times are changing, and business leaders are realizing that as long as the candidate has skills needed to get the job done, a degree doesn’t really matter. Job roles like mechanical designers, electronic technicians, production assistants, sales assistants, marketing designers, event managers, store managers, etc. are regularly being filled by people who don’t have a college degree.

Why Companies Are Hiring Non-College Graduates

Researchers at the Harvard Business School report that even though degree-holders ask for a 12-30% more wages, they fail to justify the increased income in job output and productivity and they may also lack a certain amount of responsibility if they have never had a job before. Employers today are looking for candidates that are not only skilled technically but also are good problem-solvers and team-players.

A college degree doesn’t guarantee that the applicant will be more talented at the job, so asking a higher income for a degree doesn’t necessarily motivate the employers. 

Studies also show that people with degrees change jobs more quickly. No company wants to go through the tedious process of hunting and hiring a college-graduate, then training them, only to have them move to another company in less than 5 years, or five months. 

Many recruiters and hiring managers also say that it takes much longer to fill job roles if a college degree is a strict requirement of the employer. 

Tighter Job Market

Another reason why so many technology companies are ditching the four-year degree rule is the tight labor market. There is a huge demand for technically skilled workers in the US, with millions of job openings coming up. Employers across different industries are actively hunting for talented workers – regardless of their college education (or a lack of it.)

Companies such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Nordstrom, Chipotle, and Home Depot have also done away with the four-year degree requirement for their job positions. 

The leading hiring manager at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Roberta Rainville, said that the company is hiring web developers, web designers, and other IT staff based on their knowledge of programming languages and other technical skills only – no degree needed. 

Judging by these growing trends, non-degree holders (if they are worthy and show promise) seem to have as strong a chance of getting hired at a top company as their college-graduate counterparts. 

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