Employers ditch degree requirements, hire based on skill

Business

(NewsNation) — U.S. job growth accelerated in July across nearly every sector, with employees adding more than 500,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Also on the rise is a number of jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.

Researchers at The Burning Glass Institute analyzed more than 51 million job listings, looking specifically for four-year degree requirements. In 2017, 51% of jobs required the degree and by 2021, that percentage had declined to 44%.

Shawn Vanderziel, the executive director for the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and Pallavi Verma, the senior managing director at Accenture, joined “Morning in America’s” Think Tank to discuss education requirements in the workforce and why employers are making the decision to cut them altogether.

“The employment market is booming,” Vanderziel said. “So there are a record number of job openings, and the unemployment rate is really low. Employers are trying to find the competitive edge for this war on talent. So it makes sense that rather than having some artificial requirements in place, that they’re actually screening candidates where their skills and their competencies to be able to actually do the job at hand.”

Employers have cut degree requirements in order to find the best candidate with the skills they are looking for. Vanderziel listed the top three skills employers are seeking, which are problem-solving skills, analytical skills and teamwork.

Verma’s company, Accenture, was ahead of the game and started an apprentice program in 2016 that has been hiring people based on skills rather than higher education. This year, the company plans to hire 20% of its entry level roles from the apprenticeship program for the fiscal year.

Verma said the company also looks for people who are willing and motivated to learn.

“We have now had over 1,200 apprentices come through in the last six years,” Verma said. “The vast majority have converted over to full-time employees, and they are progressing in their careers. Several have had many promotions as well.”

Vanderziel suggested that applicants look at the skills jobs require, and try to sell themselves based on those skills. He said that employers are looking to hire people with experience and skill to get the job done.

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