This US-focused HBS article discusses “degree inflation” – the practice of employers demanding bachelor’s degrees for job that don’t require them.
Because the pool of graduates is limited, the author explains, this practice can cause a misalignment between supply and demand, especially for middle-skills positions. Complicating matters are automated hiring tools often exclude applicants without college degrees.
There are some great stats based on a review of 26 million job postings and a survey of 600 HR executives:
- Only about one-third of the US population have earned a four-year degree
- For typical middle skills job titles, sixty-seven of job postings required a bachelor’s degree or higher; yet just 16% of workers in those jobs held such a degree
The author suggests organizations invest in work-based learning opportunities, co-op programs, or paid apprenticeships. The article gives one example from a healthcare company that reviewed all job descriptions to identify skills associated with each position. The author closes with this:
“Competency is more important than credentials. Degree inflation is not just hurting individual workers; it undermines American competitiveness. American companies can’t let that happen.”
Harvard Business School, Working Knowledge | Why Employers Must Stop Requiring College Degrees For Middle-Skill Jobs | December 18, 2017