Earlier this year, Pennsylvania governor Josh Shapiro struck down the state’s college-degree requirement for most government jobs, putting the Keystone State in the company of Delta, IBM, and General Motors, to name just a few of the employers who have recently moved to open their hiring processes to a wider swath of candidates. (Shoutout to my home state, Maryland, for joining their ranks last year.)
That list is growing, and quickly. Just 41% of job listings currently include a degree requirement, down from 46% in 2019. Research published last year by the Burning Glass Institute noted that the trend from degree-based to skills-based hiring was already well underway pre-pandemic. And as Charter CEO Kevin Delaney noted last week, “skills” was among the buzziest of buzzwords at the World Economic Forum’s recent annual meeting in Davos.
The benefits of more skills-focused hiring, as the Burning Glass research highlighted, are significant. For one thing, prioritizing skills over degrees forces employers to have greater clarity on the skills and attributes needed to succeed in a role. It also expands talent pools in a tight labor market and paves the way for greater diversity in recruiting—in particular making processes more inclusive of Black and Hispanic workers, who are less likely to hold bachelor’s or advanced degrees than white and Asian workers, according to census data.
Below, some best practices for making the transition in your own hiring process:
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