Study finds educational requirements are blocking 6.2 million workers from employment consideration.

EXCERPT from Harvard Business Review
“Why employers must stop requiring college degrees for middle-skill jobs.”

When was the last time you looked over the educational requirements listed for a job you are hiring for? Does the job really require a high school or college degree? Or, could your company provide the proper training that could allow your next new hire to develop the necessary skills that would make them “perfect” for the job?

8 popular employee “requirements” that don’t come
from any kind of educational degree:

• Being on time • Self-motivated
• Good work ethic • Doing Extra
• Team player • Being prepared
• Coachable • Positive Attitude

Competency is more Important than Credentials.

After examining more than 26 million job postings and surveying 600 business and human resource executives as part of a national research study conducted by Harvard Business School, it was discovered that the issue of “degree inflation” may block 6.2 million workers from being classified as “qualified candidates.”

Over the past decade, there’s been a steady increase in the demand for a bachelor’s degree in hiring workers for jobs that traditionally haven’t required one. The study found that employers were inflating the educational requirements for jobs typically held by high school grads. This uptick in credentialing, or “degree inflation” rested on the belief that college-educated employees would be smarter, more productive, and more engaged than workers without a degree. The reality is that the pool of college graduates is limited. Only a third of the US adult population has earned a four-year degree. The result is a misalignment between supply and demand for these kinds of jobs.

In a typical “middle-skills” job title such as production worker supervisor, the study found that 67% of the job postings required a bachelor’s degree or higher—yet just 16% of workers already in that position held such a degree. That sort of disconnect leaves many jobs unfilled, despite the fact that degreeless middle-skill workers with relevant experience may be available. Another big factor: automated online application software that is set up to exclude applicants without the required educational degree. In many cases, qualified candidates never even got the chance to apply for a position.

Solutions: Updating Job Descriptions, Expanding “Probationary Training” Periods and Co-Employment.

The simplest solution is reviewing and updating any job descriptions you are hiring for. Another strategy businesses use is investing in talent development pipelines such as an employee work-based-learning program, or developing co-op arrangements that partner with trade schools or college certification programs, or implementing more paid apprenticeship opportunities.

In today’s economy, businesses cannot afford to let the lack of a college degree become a barrier to potential employees entering the workforce. Degree inflation is not just hurting individual workers; it undermines American competitiveness and our business community as a whole.

Want to take a chance on a non-graduate but are afraid of making a hiring mistake?

Talk to Cardinal—besides structuring a “temp-to-permanent” hiring situation that can factor in a longer probationary training time; you might want to consider a “co-employment” arrangement. In a Co-Employment arrangement, the business owner controls the employee’s daily objectives and core job functions while Cardinal takes care of time-consuming personnel/HR tasks like payroll, worker’s compensation, compliance, and benefits administration. If you think these arrangements might suit your business, give Cardinal a call at (800) 342-4742 and ask to speak to a Cardinal Business Solutions Manager today!