For the longest time, obtaining a traditional college degree meant many doors would open for you in the professional world. Due to college degrees having high value for decades, it’s now commonly seen as a must-have when pursuing a professional career. But now, many employers are questioning if a traditional degree is fully necessary in order to hire competent employees.
Many successful entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs never completed a degree and have essentially become household names. Of course, that doesn’t exactly mean the next degreeless new hire you consider will become a famous successful powerhouse; but it is worth noting that having a degree does not always guarantee that a jobseeker will be more qualified than one without.
How you ask? Well, let’s consider the power of experience. Having experience in a particular field is usually more valuable as compared to having a degree with no experience. When you are looking to hire someone, prior experience is often a must, especially for positions that require more hard skills than soft skills. Today, companies have been known to hire employees who have adequate experience despite lacking a degree. It is becoming increasingly common to see job listings with a degree requirement state that those without a degree will still be considered depending on experience level.
In a fairly recent study conducted by The Burning Glass Institute, it was revealed that the number of jobs requiring a college degree dropped from 51% in 2017 to 44% in 2021. It was also reported that 46% of intermediate-skill and 31% of high-skill occupations experienced fewer degree requirements in the job market. While college degree job requirements may be on the downturn there are still some important skills degrees bring to the table when looking for new hires.
Generally, students pursuing a degree develop a multitude of powerful skills such as critical thinking, leadership/teamwork, professionalism, time management, and communication amongst many others. These skills are developed and polished through a variety of courses for months/ years. Colleges are increasingly implementing career readiness programs within their curriculum to prepare students to bring their transferable skills to the workplace. For the time being, it’s safe to say that college degrees will maintain their value in the job market due to the knowledge and valuable skill sets they provide.
Determining if a college degree should be required for a position is highly subjective to the employer, which is why it is important to consider the pros and cons of hiring those with or without a degree. Some fields may be more technical and require a generous amount of educational knowledge and experience while others may only need either a college degree or a decent amount of experience to qualify. Whatever your hiring process may be, keep in mind that the golden ticket to success comes down to what you are looking for in a candidate whether that be skills gained from a traditional degree, years of experience, or both. Regardless they are all equally important when considering a new addition to your team!
Nexxt is a recruitment media company that uses today’s most effective marketing tactics to reach the full spectrum of talent – from active to passive, and everything in between. Learn more about hiring with Nexxt.
This article was written by Brittney Jackson.
Brittney Jackson is a Senior studying at Towson University. Outside of school and work, she has a strong passion for travel and gaming; being a collegiate Esports athlete for the past 3 years and counting.