Conventional wisdom used to say that going to college was the only way you could get a “good job.” For decades, study after study would talk about the increased earning potential of college graduates versus non-college workers. But as tuition has skyrocketed and more and more parents worry about the “wokification of college,” the scales are beginning to tip against the need for college degrees.
You can’t say we didn’t see this coming. The New York Post recently wrote, “During the 1990s “culture wars,” universities were warned that their chronic tuition hikes above the rate of inflation were unsustainable.
Their growing manipulation of blanket federal student loan guarantees and part-time faculty and graduate teaching assistants always was suicidal.
Left-wing indoctrination, administrative bloat, obsessions with racial preferences, arcane, jargon-filled research and campus-wide intolerance of diverse thought short-changed students, further alienated the public — and often enraged alumni.
Nationwide undergraduate enrollment has dropped by more than 650,000 students in a single year — or over 4% alone from spring 2021 to 2022, and some 14% in the last decade. Yet the US population still increases by about 2 million people a year.”
A recent study shows that the business world is catching up. All over the country, several big-name companies have dropped degree requirements for entry-level work.
“Making hiring decisions based on experience, attitude, and value-match rather than focusing on specific academic achievements advances equality and opens up the playing field for talented individuals from a range of different backgrounds, according to Remote.
To find out how much a degree matters in securing the best jobs and the highest potential earnings, we analysed job posts on Indeed, Glassdoor and Payscale to find out the level of education required to access different types of jobs and salaries in the UK.
In the past, the qualifications a candidate held had a significant influence on the salary they could be offered by an employer. In some instances, wages could even be automatically capped at a certain level if employees didn’t have a degree – regardless of their experience, skill set, references, or desire to learn on the job.
However, our research shows the gap between salaries offered to people with and without degrees is in many cases marginal, and there are a surprising number of roles where those without degrees can actually earn just as much (or even more) than those with bachelor’s degrees.
CNBC discussed how this looks in the real world. “The tech industry has been plagued by chronic talent shortages for years. Some estimates show that there are now more than 450,000 open cybersecurity jobs alone.
That has been further exacerbated as the gap between available positions and those seeking new jobs has grown even wider. There were 11.27 million job openings in February, compared to the 6.27 million counted as unemployed, leaving a record 5 million more openings than available workers, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.
The tech industry has been plagued by chronic talent shortages for years. Some estimates show that there are now more than 450,000 open cybersecurity jobs alone.
That has been further exacerbated as the gap between available positions and those seeking new jobs has grown even wider. There were 11.27 million job openings in February, compared to the 6.27 million counted as unemployed, leaving a record 5 million more openings than available workers, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.”
At IBM for example, 50 percent of their openings do not require a college degree. Asked about how they make this work, the company’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Nickle LaMoreaux, said, “They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s essentially where we found ourselves about 10 years ago. We were staring at a shortage of skilled tech employees, the half-life of skills is shortening, and two-thirds of the U.S. adult population doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree. So even if four-year colleges continued to admit and grow students at today’s rate, the number of qualified applicants is never going to catch up with the demand, at least in the short to medium term. And it’s very apparent that employees need to constantly re-up their skills as well.
So we decided to attack the problem from two ways. The first was looking at the requirements of our roles. When you break down what people actually do every day, whether it’s software development, or digital design testing, or security, or even artificial intelligence, you have to ask if that role needs a four-year degree or it’s a set of skills that’s needed. And if it’s skills, maybe people are getting them outside of college, such as in the military, or in shorter periods of time, like in coding boot camps. When you think about it, skills are often what you need, not degrees.”
IBM is not alone. A recent “survey of HR managers by Intelligent.com found 53% of hiring managers said their company eliminated the requirement for a bachelor’s degree for some roles in the past year.
‘For so many jobs, it is an arbitrary requirement. And it does eliminate people needlessly who could be great employees,’ said Stacie Haller, a career coach who worked with Intelligent.com for its report.
‘There is also a big chunk here about creating more equity and diversity. If you cannot afford to go to college to get a four-year degree, if it’s a financial reason or maybe a time reason, then you are already eliminated from all of those jobs,’ Haller said.
What companies are increasingly focused on is experience, with 76% of hiring managers surveyed saying they favor real world skills over education.”
The Federal Reserve has stated that the average college debt among student loan borrowers in America is $32,731. “This is an increase of approximately 20% from 2015-2016. Most borrowers have between $25,000 and $50,000 outstanding in student loan debt. But more than 600,000 borrowers in the country are over $200,000 in student debt, and that number may continue to increase.”
As companies move away from requiring college degrees, it won’t be surprising if more and more young Americans skip campus and head to work.