Companies Are Increasingly Hiring for Skills Rather Than Degrees – and It’s Good for Everybody

The way businesses hire workers just isn’t working anymore. They need a new approach – one that values skills over degrees, and job readiness over professional networking.

That’s the conclusion of Ryan Roslansky, the CEO of LinkedIn, and Byron Auguste, CEO of Opportunity@Work. Together they wrote a joint op-ed for CNN saying that the hiring system we have isn’t working for businesses or employees.

“The old set of indicators—the right degree from the right school, the right network to endorse you and the right past employers on your resume—are weak predictors of what actually matters: a candidate’s ability to do the job,” they write. “(W)hen a college degree becomes a box-checking, bureaucratic exercise, it unnecessarily places a barrier between skilled workers seeking better jobs and employers in need of their talents.”

Instead, they say, “the most sustainable way to hire and grow more effective, engaged, workforces” is “hiring for skills, instead of just relying on pedigree.”

Hiring for skills rather than degrees is good for businesses because it significantly expands the hiring pool, especially for jobs like IT, cybersecurity, and CRM platform administration, where qualified workers are in constant demand.  

Hiring for skills rather than degrees is good for employers because it opens doors to literally millions of qualified workers who are kept out of jobs they can do. It’s unnecessary gatekeeping. This is especially true of non-traditional students and traditionally disenfranchised populations, who are kept out of 21st century jobs by what Opportunity@Work calls “the paper ceiling.” 

Fortunately, LinkedIn sees this changing. 

“We’ve started to see signs of a shift on LinkedIn, with job postings that don’t have degree requirements up from 15% in January 2020 to 20% so far this year,” they write. “And HR teams are increasingly looking beyond who you know or what school you attended to find great talent, with 40% of hirers on LinkedIn explicitly using skills data to fill their roles. Employers are more open to new ways of finding and evaluating job candidates, and those that move swiftly in this direction will build more resilient teams.”

That’s good for everyone. And it means that, now more than ever, getting the right credentials—which can be fast, focused, and (at Calbright) even free—can give someone access to better jobs.

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