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More Jobs Ditch Degree Requirement

Jobs that have traditionally required a four-year college degree are increasingly accepting applicant skills and experience instead, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription). The reason? The still-tight labor market.

What’s going on: “Companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Delta Air Lines Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. have reduced educational requirements for certain positions and shifted hiring to focus more on skills and experience.”

  • “Maryland this year cut college-degree requirements for many state jobs—leading to a surge in hiring—and incoming Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro campaigned on a similar initiative.”

Why: Unemployment remains low, with job postings far exceeding the number of job seekers.

  • In September there were 10.7 million openings and just 5.8 million unemployed people looking for work.

The impact: “Black and Hispanic people are less likely to have a college degree compared with white and Asian people, according to the Commerce Department. Men are less likely than women.”

  • “Even though education is supposed to open up doors and windows of opportunity, they have, in some ways, become a means of closing off opportunity,” said Nicole Smith, the chief economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Model of success: Six months into an initiative to review college-degree requirements for state jobs, Maryland has seen a sizable increase in the number of people without four-year degrees hired as state employees.

  • Both the quality and number of applicants has gone up since the program began, state hiring managers are saying.

The NAM’s take: “As the manufacturing industry works to increase equity and parity for underrepresented communities, identifying and reevaluating job requirements allows manufacturers to diversify their talent and gain a competitive advantage,” explained Manufacturing Institute Vice President of Strategic Engagement and Inclusion AJ Jorgenson.

  • “The MI is working directly with manufacturers to evaluate their job requirements and eliminate any potential for unconscious bias in hiring. The MI continues to lead the industry in identifying and addressing all systemic barriers to create and sustain a more diverse and inclusive workforce.”

Join us for the MI’s third annual Diversity & Inclusion Summit Dec. 16 to explore dimensions of diversity and inclusion specific to the manufacturing workforce. Register here.

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