To get a decent job, the norm is to have a university degree. The opportunities for interviews rarely open up for candidates without a graduate degree. But things are changing now.
A focus on skills is rapidly increasing in the job market. Top companies around the world like Apple, Google, Tesla, Netflix, and many others do not require employees to have a traditional four-year degree.
This is because technological advancement affects almost all industries in the world. And the exciting thing about tech is it advances so rapidly that a traditional degree may become outdated as new skills start to be in demand. Consequently, the assumption that a university degree is required is well on its way out.
We reached out to some CEOs to learn about their views on employing people without graduate degrees. And guess what? We found plenty of them enthusiastic about hiring non-graduate employees!
Salma Sultana, CEO of Classy Catch said that she prefers employees without graduate degrees. "My experience with non-graduates has been really good so far. All I had to do was train them in my ways of inventory and supply management. They are still, to this day, very consistent with their high quality of work. I highly doubt hiring a graduate instead would result in greater efficiency or higher quality of work."
Some people inherently learn more by doing rather than by learning about something on pen and paper. And companies that strictly follow a graduation rule to hire miss out on a large population of talented candidates.
Simplynius' Arshil Azeem Ul Haque is one such CEO who prefers hiring people based on their skills rather than degrees. He said, "I find people without degrees are more focused on the skill they actually want to pursue in their career. And also, they end up valuing the company more because they genuinely love their work."
Many people out there work throughout their college years and earn a lot of experience. More times than not, those candidates will be a better choice than those with a traditional four-year degree but no experience.
But some people are inherently sharp but cannot afford to get a university degree. If you have an eye for talent, hiring these people can be greatly beneficial for your company.
"After I switched to skill-based hiring, I instantly found more specialised people for my company as it got rid of the degree barriers. Moreover, the employees I hired just because of their skills happen to be more passionate about their job than those who were hired as a result of their degree in general," said Alan Talukder, CEO of Aerospeed.
Many companies believe that a university degree separates a mature adult from a chaotic and unorganised child. That could not be further from the truth.
The only reason these companies go for candidates with a university degree is that they believe the degrees to be signs of 'being an adult'.
But in reality, qualities like these are all subjective and are specific to an individual and have nothing to do with a university degree.
One of the most exciting things about dropping the university degree requirement for a job is diversity.
When there is a mix of university graduates and people without degrees, everyone is guaranteed to learn something new. In addition to this, companies that consider all candidates are very popular amongst job-seekers.
Rabbi Mehedi, CEO of Ravdeus, employs 10 people and he does not care if the employees he is hiring are not graduates. "My age or lack of a degree was never a barrier to any of my successes. What really matters is your drive for a particular field or craft and your passion to learn it."
A degree holder may not necessarily be a skilled person. There are many scenarios when reaching a target requires only a specific set of skills where a degree is irrelevant. For these positions, a candidate without a traditional degree but armed with a specific skill set can be a great hire.
Skill certificates these days are tremendously popular and the popularity will be fueled more in the post-Covid world with the rise of services like Udemy, Coursera, Linkedin Learning, and many other online services that focus on polishing an individual's skill and providing a certificate for it. As a result, companies can now select individuals from a huge pool of skilled candidates.
A 2017 Forbes article said that college graduates who are not qualified for given roles "cost companies more money to employ, tend to be less engaged in their jobs, have a higher turnover rate, and reach productivity levels only on par with high school graduates doing the same job".
Some CEOs even take the challenge of hiring nongraduates as challenging the norms! Tanbin Rafee, CEO of TR9 Inc, a company in Canada, employs 25 people and he loves the idea of hiring people without graduate degrees.
He said, "Our goal has always been to challenge the norm and inspire people to get involved and explore early on in their career. We believe in the philosophy of skills over degree."
However, the message from all of these is not to just avoid getting a degree altogether. There are many soft skills a degree provides that do not get outdated and tremendously useful throughout life.
The message is not to be fixated on just degrees because skills can help companies get the right people for the job and look beyond degrees.