As per a study conducted by Harvard Business School, employers believed that college degrees make candidates more ready for jobs as compared to those without a degree. However, they also admitted that having a college degree doesn’t guarantee a better job than someone who doesn’t possess a college degree. So what are the vitals that a job seeker needs to actually concentrate on? The answer is- right skills and experience.

Skills over Degree?

As companies require more and more talented and skilled people to join their workforce, a college degree is something that is often not given as much importance as it used to be given in the past. The 2017 study by Harvard Business School stated that about 37% of employers considered experience as more important than qualification in an applicant. This holds true for jobs that require a good amount of experience. Also, large organizations with thousands of employees consider experience and skills more important than college degrees more than 40% of the time.

Why are companies less bothered about degrees?

Covid-19 pandemic brought unprecedented changes across sectors. Owning to the lockdowns and financial insecurities, enrollment to colleges dropped by as much as 6.8 percent in 2020. This trend combined with the ‘Great Resignation’ which is an ongoing economic scenario where employees are voluntarily leaving jobs due to various reasons such as job dissatisfaction, wage stagnation, Covid safety concerns etc. Hence, companies are somewhere forced to re-think about the traditional hiring practices.

Leading companies such as Google, Tesla, Alphabet, IBM are pitching on skills and experience more than degrees. Seconding this trend, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook had said “About half of our U.S. employment in 2019 were people that did not have a four-year degree.” His statement speaks volumes about the changed mindset of the big firms. Alphabet, which is Google’s parent company, is also included in the list of companies that consider skills over degrees. In many of their job listings, applicants are required to have bachelor degrees or equivalent practical experience.

A survey conducted in 2019 showed that employers are more and more betting on a candidate’s potential rather than on education. The survey highlighted the following order of preference with regard to the mindset of the employers while hiring a candidate.

  • Potential (45%)
  • Experience (37%)
  • Personality (16%)
  • Education (2%)

Recently, in one of its surveys, LinkedIn listed top 20 jobs that don’t require a 4 year college degree. These included jobs like mechanical designer, chef, computer network technician, public safety officer, technical support specialist, healthcare assistant, retail consultant etc.

Summing Up

Modern world is full of opportunities. With companies evolving their hiring strategies for the good, potential and passion would become the new eligibility criteria for hiring professionals. As they say, a job description is just a wishlist from an employer. If the employer finds someone with the desirable skills and the right potential, qualifications would become secondary.