Should Most Jobs Require a Bachelor's Degree?

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Not long ago, LinkedIn ran a story that observed that there might be a degree bias with hiring. More and more organizations were insisting that new hires have a minimum of an undergraduate degree (Bachelors) as a condition of employment.

I personally thought that for many jobs, that was overkill. I decided to run a poll on LinkedIn asking what you thought. I offered three options:

Yes! They have the basics!

No! School didn’t help me.

Other. Explain below.

 

The first two are very stark choices. It is one more the other. I was curious about the third and expected the numbers to be close with the first two.

 

Starting with “Other,” these were a few other people’s thoughts:  

Most jobs should require common sense and ethics – unfortunately not a requirement

Overly broad question. Highly depends on the job. I say this as someone who knows folks without a Bachelor’s who — through passion, perseverance, etc. — have performed as well at work, if not better, than those with, say, a Ph.D. I suggest that overemphasizing upper degrees needs to stop, in many cases (not all), and for many reasons.

I voted “other” because the “no” answer was too specific stating it didn’t help me. In my 26 years in law enforcement, I received over 2000 hours of specialized training, along with my experience. I became a certified trainer in disciplines such as Hazmat and instructor development. However, if a job posting states a bachelor’s degree is required, I don’t even get a chance to introduce myself and demonstrate the experience I can bring to an organization.

 

Schooling prepares students to learn how to learn. Learning in the job varies so much. I’ve had amazing instruction and training on the job as well as horrendous “training” which is basically trial and error – learn by making mistakes. Companies that offer exceptional training get exceptional results and employees.

 

I say no!! Who would teach the kids out of school how to perform the work?? Usually, the guy or gal that worked their way up from the bottom is the best teacher!

 

If I’m hiring an experienced person- I want experience! I need to know that you’ve “been there, done that” and can handle what comes. Degrees are great, but not if that degree gives a false sense of confidence and you have no real-world ability.

 

Having a degree should never be a pre-qualifier for a position unless it’s a proven need. Such as an MD or a JD. College is intended initially to make you a well-rounded person.

 

And, of course: Depends on each individual position….

 

Overall, the results surprised me.

Yes! They Have the Basics! 27%

No. School Didn’t Help Me 58%

Other. Explain Below 16%

 

More than half of the respondents did not believe this will help them in their careers.

That is shocking given the emphasis on university education in our culture.

 

Perhaps it is time for more employers to survey their staff and see whether they believe new hires are best served by obtaining a degree.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2021 

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and him 90+ smart sets.

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