The four-year college degree requirements for recruitment are slowly easing

As a middle school student in New York, Shekina Griffith saw the television news report of President Barack Obama’s visit to an innovative school in Brooklyn. Its program includes high school, an associate’s degree in a technical subject, an internship, and the promise of a good job.

“I thought, ‘This is the place I want to be,'” Miss Griffith recalled. “People like me don’t have a lot of opportunities like that.”

She applied, was approved, and prospered in the courses. After school, an internship, and 18 months of apprenticeship, by the end of 2020 she was a full-time employee at IBM. Today is the 21-year-old Miss. Griffith is a cyber security technician who earns more than $ 100,000 a year.

Over the past few years, leading American companies in all industries, like Miss Griffith, have pledged to open the door to higher-paying jobs with career paths for people without a four-year college degree and change their hiring habits. More than 100 companies, including OneTen, are committed to the Business Roundtable’s Multiple Pathway Program, which focuses on recruiting and encouraging black workers with no college degrees.

How has Corporate America done so far? According to a recent report and additional data provided by the Burning Glass Institute, there has been a gradual change overall. But the research group’s company-by-company analysis underscores the potential and challenge of changing rooted recruitment practices.

The Burning Glass Institute is an independent non-profit research organization that uses data from MC Burning Glass, a job-market analytics firm. Researchers analyzed millions of online job listings and looked at four-year college degree requirements and trends. In 2017, 51 percent wanted a degree. By 2021, that share will have shrunk to 44 percent.

Workforce experts see the removal of the four-year college degree filter for certain jobs as the key to increasing diversity and reducing inequality. Workers should be selected and promoted based on their skills and experience, not degree or educational background. Companies that change their hiring practices benefit by tapping previously neglected talent into a tight job market and diversifying their workforce.

About two-thirds of American workers do not have a four-year college degree. Screening by college degree particularly affects minorities, excluding 76 percent of blacks and 83 percent of Latino adults.

Companies that cut degree requirements usually started doing so before the pandemic, the Burning Glass analysis found. Nonprofit groups such as Opportunity Work, founded in 2015, and the Markle Foundation’s Skillful Program, launched in 2016, have prompted companies to adopt skills – based appointments.

In the wake of the assassination of George Floyd two years ago, the pandemic employment crisis and call by corporate America to address racial discrimination prompted more companies to reconsider hiring. Experts say the aging workforce, changing demographics, immigration controls, diversity, equity and inclusion programs are all forcing change.

Published in February, Joseph Fuller, a professor at Harvard Business School and co-author of the Burning Glass Report, said: “Things we have never seen come together.

Burning Glass research underscores a “real and sustainable” trend, says Johnny C. Snyder, chief executive of the Society for Human Resource Management. Taylor Jr. said. “Employers do not have the luxury of avoiding talent. They need to include more of the need. ”

Workforce experts say that quoting a “college degree” in a job posting is not an actual assignment but an important indication of the nature of corporate recruitment.

“For a variety of purposes, the biggest lever you can pull is to eliminate the four-year degree filter,” said Ellis Rosenblum, managing director of Grades of Life, which advises companies on the hiring practices involved.

There are judgment calls in burning glass research. For example, companies can list the qualifications required for a job as “Bachelor’s degree or equivalent practical experience”. However, such words indicate a bias towards a college degree, the researchers concluded.

A detailed analysis of companies in the same industry found significant differences in the degree requirements for entry-level jobs that lead to higher-paying roles and career paths of upward mobility. Many technical professions include computer support specialist, software developer, and software quality assurance engineer.

Successful training programs for the underprivileged, such as Ear Up and Per Scholes, focus on tech jobs because demand is strong and skills can be demonstrated through coding tests or industry-recognized certifications.

Job required to drop out of college graduate qualification for jobs. The skills required for a job need to be more clearly defined and the managers being hired need to be trained. Institutional habits, work force experts pay attention to, work in depth. Companies are looking for not only college graduates, but also those from some of their favorite schools to be reflexive.

“It’s still a struggle at the company level,” said Matt Siegelman, president of the Burning Glass Institute and co – author of the report.

According to company data, some employers who promote skill-based recruitment and generously support top-mobility programs have generally higher four-year degree requirements in their employment.

Microsoft, for example, is a key financial supporter of Markle’s Skillful Program and a member of the River America Business Network, a group of companies that pledge to move toward skill-based recruitment. Microsoft and its LinkedIn affiliate have been offering free online courses to millions of people during the Pandemic.

But in burning glass analysis, compared to the national average of 24 percent, Microsoft requires a degree in 54 percent of its computer-aided job postings. For its software quality assurance jobs, 87 percent require a college degree and the national average 54 percent. According to Burning Glass, by 2021, Microsoft will need a college degree in 70 percent of its total job postings.

Lauren Gardner, vice president of Microsoft’s Global Talent Acquisition, declined to comment on the burning glass analysis, saying many of the company’s listings indicate a college degree or equivalent experience.

“Contrary to how the candidates won, we are shifting to their abilities,” Ms Gardner said. “We are fully committed to expanding our appointment aperture. But it is a journey. ”

Google is offering its popular skills courses free of charge to nonprofit organizations and community colleges, and in February announced a $ 100 million fund to develop training and job search programs focused on low-income workers, in addition to a four-year college degree. According to Burning Glass, Google has made real progress in reducing college degree requirements, from 89 percent of jobs in 2017 to 72 percent in 2021 – that level is still high.

Google’s job postings usually list a ‘bachelor’ degree ‘as a qualification, sometimes following other requirements in engineering or finance, and almost always ending with the phrase “or equivalent practical experience”.

In a statement, Brendan Castle, Google’s Vice President of Recruiting, said, “Our focus is on talent, whether it’s through degrees or relevant experience.”

In the tech industry, workforce experts point to companies such as Accenture and IBM, whose efforts to recruit people without a four-year degree began as corporate responsible projects that eventually became more mainstream recruitment pipelines.

That experience, they say, has influenced companies to describe job requirements. Burning Glass analysis found that IBM and Accenture required college degrees in less than half of job postings.

Danika Lohja arrived in the United States from Serbia in 2011 with $ 400 and looks forward to a brighter future. She started working as a waitress at a country club, but Technology seemed to be where the good jobs were. So she graduated with an Associate degree in Computer Information Systems from a community college in Chicago.

Miss about the one-year apprenticeship program that Accenture offers. Lohja understood. The company hired her in 2017 and promoted her three times. She is the Associate Manager of the Accenture Unit, which manages and negotiates contracts with hardware and software suppliers for large technology services companies.

Lohja refused to say how much he was earning. According to the job-search site, Accenture’s associate managers earn more than $ 110,000 a year. Lohja, 35, is married to a software engineer at an insurance company. They have a home in Chicago, send their two young children to private school, and go on holiday to Aruba in April.

“I think we’ve live the American dream,” she said.

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