Are degrees becoming obsolete?

To degree or not to degree? That is the debt-riddled question

Are degrees becoming obsolete?

Ah, the degree—the hallowed scroll of paper that once promised you a fast-track ticket to the high society club. Where once degrees where an absolute necessity into that professional life, now in the age of AI and skills-based hiring the shine’s sort of wearing off.

According to research from Oppertunity@Work, 75% of new jobs insist on some form of degree – however, only 40% of candidates have one. What’s more, 67% of graduates said they could have got their current job without having got a degree, while 60% of grads say they’ve never been asked to provide any proof that they even have one.

It begs the question - should employers say ‘sod the degree’ and instead start looking at hiring applicants with transferrable skills?

Ona personal note, I love my degree. However, Classics is in itself something of a vanity project. Spending days reading Plato and reciting Ancient Greek was a bit dream-like, but I’m not sure it translated too well in to the modern world. The weird thing is this I could easily do my current job without my degree, but there’s no way I would have landed the role without it.

It’s made this sort of paradox whereby employers are placing education above real life abilities, and now in the talent crisis it’s starting to become suffocating.

This is where skilled-based hiring comes in. A relatively new trend in the HR realm, it was more of a novelty pre-pandemic. Now, in the competitive talent market, it’s a simple go-to solution.

According to TestGorilla’s The State of Skills-Based Hiring 2022 report, 76% of organizations are looking at this new recruitment technique. What’s more, data from Accenture found that companies who use skills-based hiring enjoy a two percent revenue for every 10% increase in intersectional gender equity.

So should we stop looking purely on degree or educational merit and instead start looking at what the role demands? At the day to day duties?

A bit of a caveat here. I'm not saying degrees are totally irrelevant – they’re pretty great if you follow down the path you studied. And if you want to perform open-heart surgery or fly an airplane then g get that degree. But, if you're stuck in existential dread - pondering if that degree has any worth—take solace in the fact that you're not alone.

And for employers, start looking beyond the paperwork and assess what skills the role you’re advertising actually needs. Skills-based hiring is coming for your talent pool in 2024 – whether you like it or not.

So it’s better to make your peace with it now, before your competitors do.

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