Employer Branding Talent Acquisition

No Degree? No Problem!

Most of us know the drill – you finish school, you stay out of trouble, you get a college degree and you land that top job – because none of the world’s biggest firms will ever consider a candidate without a degree, right? Wrong!!

Tech giants Google and Apple have joined a growing list of companies who are offering jobs at their firm without needing a college degree. While it sounds like a completely mad and risky thing to do, it turns out there are some great benefits to doing this.

Where it was strongly-believed that not having a college degree or any kind of formal qualifications would greatly hinder a person’s chance of getting a good job, now there are more chances for people to bag a top job without them.

Recently Glassdoor named 15 more companies which didn’t require college degrees to work there. Among them were IBM, Ernst & Young, and Hilton.

It’s thought by opening this pathway into the company, it will help to improve diversity and they can also target those who attend coding boot camps or other non-traditional college ways to be hired.

Ananth Kasturiraman, Co-Founder and CEO of Skillist, says:

For entry-level roles, many employers have relied on the credentials within a resume, like a college degree or a high-profile company, as a proxy for skill. However, this practice significantly narrows the pool of talent that an employer might consider. It also leaves millions of jobs unfilled – the highest number of openings in U.S. history. This habit, known as “degree inflation,” has real consequences for businesses. When companies require a college degree for jobs that were previously filled by non-college graduates, it can increase the salary by as much as 30% and the length of time-to-fill by an average of twelve days. Simply put, employers are spending more time and money than they need to fill these open, entry-level roles.

At the same time, tens of millions of workers are being overlooked for entry-level professional jobs because they lack the right credential, even though they have the experience to do the job. What’s more, non-college graduates who have been hired into these positions are likely to be more engaged and stay in the role longer than those with degrees. Degree inflation has been a significant contributor to our country’s continued income inequality.

Now you might think the job options are limited for those without a college degree and would most likely to be offered menial and low-level roles but that’s not the case. Some of the jobs on offer at Google for non-degree applicants include recruiters, software engineers, and product marketing managers.

Apple is hiring design verification engineers, project managers, and iPhone buyers, and IBM can offer roles such as financial blockchain engineers, and contract and negotiation professionals.

So what do talent acquisition experts think about this?

Phil Strazzulla is the Founder of NextWave Hire. He says:

Companies are realizing that a bachelor’s degree is merely a proxy for skills that a candidate will have.  However, candidates can acquire and hone skills through actual work experience even if they don’t necessarily have a degree.  The employers who understand this are opening up entirely new talent pools, many times full of typically underrepresented groups of people.

Will Staney is the Founder & Principal Consultant at Proactive Talent Strategies. He says:

With the current economy humming and a low unemployment rate, the demand for talent is high and the “qualified” supply of talent is low. Adding another barrier, like a college degree requirement makes that small pool of talent even smaller. Not to mention, the skillsets that entry-level employees need for the business world change so quickly, by the time a college graduate starts their first job or internship, many of the knowledge and skillsets they learned are already outdated. Employers should look past an educational requirement and assess talent based on the ability to perform the job.

And if you want even more proof that you don’t need a college degree to be successful then you may be surprised to learn that none of these people have one either and they didn’t do too badly:

  1. Jan Koum – Co-founder of WhatsApp – At the age of 21, Jan dropped out of San Jose State University where he was studying math and computer science and went on to co-found WhatsApp.
  2. Richard Branson – Founder of the Virgin Group – Branson dropped out of high school at the young age of 16 and went on to create Virgin Media, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Mobile among many others.
  3. Bill Gates – Microsoft – He quit Harvard University to follow his passion for computers, he founded Microsoft which is the now the successful software company in the 21st century.
  4. Steves Jobs – Apple – He dropped out of Reed College and went to co-found Apple, which is now the most valuable public company ever according to the New York Times.
  5. Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook – Dropped out of Harvard University in his sophomore year in order to complete his project “Thefacebook“. He did return in 2017 to pick up an honorary degree.

By Ushma Mistry

Editor & Content Strategist at Link Humans, download our new eBook now: Measuring Employer Brand: The Ultimate Guide and check out our latest product The Employer Brand Index.