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Why you should think twice about asking for degrees?

For 40 years, the route to a well-paid, "white collar" job was a university degree.

However, as fees have increased, working lives changed, and AI continues to centralise subject expertise in organisations, are university degrees worth it anymore?

Skills gaps are among the most pressing problems that Employers face today. According to a survey by McKinsey & Company, nearly 9 out of 10 executives say their organisations are either already experiencing skills gaps or expect to within the next five years.

Despite the obvious supply vs demand challenges in fields like data and development, Gartner also recently found that over 80% of people don't have the correct skills they need for their current or future jobs.

This is a major challenge for Employers.

To fill skills gaps, they need to adapt their approach to the challenges of the current job market. Although some employers continue to require a college degree even for entry-level positions, many have noticed that degree-based hiring is becoming obsolete and are up weighting human skills, or transferable skills, over the technical skills implied with a degree certificate.

Requesting a degree for all, or nearly all, positions not only limits your talent pools but it is still not delivering job seekers that are a good match for the skills needed most by Employers, and it is still not delivering job seekers that retain well.

Let's take a deeper dive into the symptoms of this process that's no longer fit for purpose:

1. Stunted talent pools

The more ineffective barriers to entry you place against a role, the more you miss out on great job seekers with the right skills you need but not the prestige of a fancy career path.

2. Wider skills gaps

If your company only considers candidates with a degree, you might be artificially making your skills gap larger and reducing your capacity for innovation and ideation. There are many highly skilled people without a degree who could do the job just as well, if not better, and who have developed their skills differently, making them even more valuable to the team you're building.

3. A less diverse workforce

The figures around diversity in higher education are well documented and remain shocking. If you’re only considering job seekers with a higher education degree, you’re missing out on the opportunity to hire employees from all walks of life and benefit from the diverse perspectives and experiences needed to make your team thrive.

4. Longer time to hire

The skills gap is already leading to a longer time to hire since it takes more time to find talent with the right skills. If you require a degree for all positions, you’ll only make the problem worse because it’ll take you even longer to find job seekers with the right skills and degrees.

To stay ahead of the curve and make better hiring choices faster, you should consider implementing a skills-based approach to hiring.

This will improve your chances of hiring a diverse, balanced and skill-aligned team that can drive performance, inclusion and retention in your organisation.


For more information on how Clu is helping employers win the war for talent by getting great at skills-based hiring, get in touch with our team today.


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