The requirements for a four-year college degree in recruitment are gradually becoming easier

As a high school student in New York, Shekinah Griffith watched a televised news report from President Barack Obama, who visited an innovative school in Brooklyn. Its programs included high school, an associate’s degree in a technical subject, an internship, and the promise of a good job.

“I thought, ‘This is where I need to be,'” Mrs. Griffith recalled. “There aren’t many opportunities like this for people like me.”

He applied, was accepted and improved the course. After school, an internship and an 18-month apprentice, he became a full-time employee at IBM by the end of 2020. Today, Mrs. Griffith, 21, is a cybersecurity technology expert and earns over $ 100,000 a year.

Over the past few years, major American companies in every industry have pledged to change their hiring habits by opening the door to higher-paying jobs through career paths for four-year college graduates like Mrs. Griffith. More than 100 companies, including the Business Roundtable’s Multiple Pathways Program and OneTen, have pledged to focus on hiring and promoting good jobs for black workers without a college degree.

How has Corporate America done so far? According to a recent report and additional data provided by the Burning Glass Institute, the overall situation has changed gradually. But the research group’s company-by-company analysis underlines both the potential and the challenge of changing the habits of entrenched recruits.

The Burning Glass Institute is an independent non-profit research center, MC Burning Glass, using data from a labor-market analysis firm. Researchers have analyzed the list of millions of online jobs, looking for the requirements and trends of a four-year college degree. In 2017, 51 percent required a degree. By 2021, that share has fallen to 44 percent.

Workforce experts see the removal of four-year college degree filters for some jobs as the key to increasing diversity and reducing inequality. Employees, they say, should be selected and promoted because of their skills and experience rather than a degree or educational background. And companies that change their hiring practices tap into previously neglected talent pools in a tight labor market, as well as diversifying their workforce.

About two-thirds of American workers do not have a four-year college degree. Screening by college degree eliminates minorities particularly difficult, 76 percent black adults and 83 percent Latino adults.

Burning Glass analysis shows that companies that have trimmed back degree requirements usually started doing this before the epidemic. Nonprofit groups such as Opportunity @ Work, founded in 2015, and the Markle Foundation’s Skillful program, launched in 2016, motivate companies to accept skills-based hiring.

But the epidemic of the labor crisis and the call by corporate America to address racial discrimination after the assassination of George Floyd two years ago have prompted many more companies to reconsider hiring. An aging workforce is forcing population change, immigration prevention and diversification, equity and inclusion programs to change, experts say.

“Things are coming together that we haven’t really seen before,” said Joseph Fuller, a professor at Harvard Business School and co-author of the Burning Glass Report, published in February.

Johnny C., chief executive of the Society for Human Resource Management. Burning glass research underlines a trend that is “real and sustainable,” says Taylor Jr. “Employers do not have the luxury of eliminating talent. Their needs need to be further addressed. “

Mentioning “college degree” in job postings is not an actual recruitment, but workforce experts say it is an important indicator of corporate recruitment behavior.

“For diversification goals, the biggest lever you can pull off is to drop a four-year degree filter,” said Alice Rosenblum, managing director of Grades of Life, which advises companies on the practice of inclusive recruitment.

There are judgment calls in burning glass research. For example, companies may list qualifications required for the job as “bachelor’s degree or equivalent practical experience”. Nevertheless, such terms suggest bias towards college degrees, the researchers concluded.

A detailed analysis of companies in the same industry reveals significant differences in degree requirements for entry-level jobs that continue to be a stepping stone to higher-paying roles and upward dynamic career paths. Several technical professions, such as computer support specialist, software developer and software quality assurance engineer.

Successful training programs for the disadvantaged, such as year-up and per-scholes, have focused on technical work because demand is strong and skills can be demonstrated through coding tests or industry-recognized certifications.

Jobs are required to exclude a college degree qualification for the job. The skills required for a job need to be defined more clearly, and recruiting managers need to be trained. Institutional practice, notes of energy experts, deep runs. The companies seek out not only college graduates but also a handful of schools of choice.

Matt Siegelman, president of the Burning Glass Institute and co-author of the report, said: “It’s still a hand-to-hand fight at the company level.

According to the company, some employers who have become champions of skill-based recruitment and have generously supported upward-mobility programs typically require a higher four-year degree in recruitment.

Microsoft, for example, is a major financial supporter of Merkel’s Skillful program and a member of the Rewark America Business Network, a group of companies committed to moving toward skills-based hiring. Microsoft and its LinkedIn subsidiary have offered millions of free online courses during the epidemic.

But in Burning Glass analysis, 54 percent of Microsoft requires a degree for computer support job postings, compared to the national average of 24 percent. For its software quality assurance work, 87 percent require a college degree and a national average of 54 percent. According to Burning Glass, Microsoft requires a college degree in 70 percent of its total job postings in 2021.

Lauren Gardner, vice president of global talent acquisition for Microsoft, declined to comment on Burning Glass Analysis, without mentioning a college degree or equivalent experience on many of the company’s lists.

“We are moving in the direction of the candidates’ skills, in contrast to the way they have achieved them,” said Mrs. Gardner. “We are absolutely committed to expanding our recruitment aperture. But it’s a journey. “

Google offers its popular skills courses for free at nonprofit and community colleges, and in February announced $ 100 million in funding to expand training and job search programs, typically focusing on low-income workers without a four-year college degree. Google, according to Burning Glass, has made real progress in reducing college degree requirements, from 89 percent in 2017 to 72 percent in 2021 – although that level is still high.

Google job postings typically list a ‘bachelor’s degree’ as a qualification, sometimes following engineering or other finance requirements, and almost always end with the phrase “or equivalent real experience.”

In a statement, Brendan Castle, Vice President of Recruitment for Google, said, “Our focus is on the skills displayed, and it can come through degrees or it can come through relevant experience.”

In the tech industry, workforce experts point out to Accenture and IBM that companies’ recruitment efforts without a four-year degree began as a corporate responsibility project that eventually became a more mainstream recruitment pipeline.

This experience, they say, has influenced how companies describe job requirements. Burning Glass analysis shows that both IBM and Accenture require a college degree in less than half of their job postings.

Danica Lohja came to the US from Serbia in 2011 with 400 and hoped for a brighter future. She started working as a waitress in a country club, but Technology seems to have worked well there. So he earned an associate’s degree in computer information systems at a community college in Chicago.

Mrs. Lohja learned about the one-year apprenticeship program offered by Accenture. The company hired him in 2017 and promoted him three times. He is now an associate manager at Accenture Unit that negotiates contracts and manages the hardware and software providers of large technology service companies.

Mrs. Lohja refused to say how much she did. Accenture’s associate managers earn more than $ 110,000 a year, according to job-search site Indid. Mrs. Lohja, 35, is married to a software engineer from an insurance company. They own a home in Chicago, send their two youngest sons to private school, and move to Aruba for a holiday in April.

“I think we’re living the American dream,” he said.

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