Expand Your Talent Pool - Fortune 100 Hire Without a College Degree - Are You?

  • Posted by: J. Kent Gervasini |
  • 10/9/17 |
  • 6:05 AM
Expand Your Talent Pool - Fortune 100 Hire Without a College Degree - Are You?

The 21st Century is incredibly exciting, and it’s gaining steam with innovation driven by creative American minds. With 38+ years of staffing and recruiting experience, J. Kent Staffing can attest that the diverse Denver workplace of today is like no other.

New technologies are creating greater efficiencies, and a globalized economy is giving the Denver employer a bigger, more competitive playing field and more competition for talent. There is no doubt that in this new international ballgame, we need a diverse, flexible, and creative set of staffing and recruiting strategies to attract and retain a productive workforce. But here is the challenge—a shrinking talent pool.

Denver Unemployment Rate Historically Low – Sept. 2.2%
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2017, unemployment rates in seven states were at their lowest levels since the state unemployment data series began in January 1976. Colorado had the lowest unemployment rate in May, 2.3 percent, followed by North Dakota, 2.5 percent, both of which were the lowest rates ever recorded in those states. The rates in Arkansas (3.4 percent), California (4.7 percent), Mississippi (4.9 percent), Oregon (3.6 percent), and Washington (4.5 percent) were also at series lows. Alaska and New Mexico had the highest jobless rates among the states, 6.7 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.

Denver’s Hot Candidate Market - It’s a Buyer’s Market
Where do we find the qualified candidates capable of handling our business when America’s talent pool is shrinking and recruiting budgets are increasing every month with few results? Companies are struggling to find and retain good talent and will continue to struggle without a hiring strategy focused and committed to expanding their pool of available talent. In J. Kent’s blog of Jun 8, 2017, Reality Check – Denver Employers are Struggling to Hire we asked two important questions:

  1. What is your business strategy to attract and compete for top talent?
  2. How much longer can you wait to fill a critical position

So Where is the Talent Denver Employers Need NOW? 
          Employers are Becoming Creative to Help Fight Low Unemployment
KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Ernst & Young (EY), Deloitte, and IBM are just some of the companies that have been leading the way in de-emphasizing formal education in the hiring process. Deloitte hides the candidate’s university from recruiters. EY has eliminated the requirement of a college degree altogether, but instead will offer online testing and search out talented individuals regardless of background. 

IBM Employment
IBM CEO, Ginni Rometty, in an open letter to president-elect Trump and in a column for USA Today, emphasized that many IBM jobs don’t need degrees. IBM reviews an applicant’s experience, technical knowledge, certifications, and other skills/programs but doesn’t take into account educational background. “What matters most is relevant skills, sometimes obtained through vocational training. In addition, we are creating and hiring to fill “new collar” jobs--entirely new roles in areas such as cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence and cognitive business”, said Rometty. About 10 to 15 percent of IBM’s new hires do not have traditional four-year degrees. 

What Are the Benefits of Hiring Without a Degree?
IBM, EY, and PWC, for example, have certainly been the thought leaders on this topic for quite some time. These global leaders understand that the ins and outs of our U.S. workforce is defined by our nation’s birth rate demographics—Baby Boomers, Gen Y, X, Millennials, and the up-and-coming Generation Z. It’s all about numbers.

To that point, these thought leaders are prepared to maintain their global competitiveness by recognizing the benefits and values of hiring without a degree to include:

  1. Diversifying their talent pool
  2. Reducing biases
  3. A degree is a poor substitute for work ethic, common sense, critical thinking abilities or that “can do, will do attitude” needed in a collaborative work environment
  4. Learning skills in the classroom are different than applying them in the corporate world
  5. Focusing hiring managers on attributes that positively correlate with strong job performance

The New York Times – It Takes a B.A. to Find a Job as a File Clerk 
In 2013, The New York Times reported, It Takes a B.A. to Find a Job as a File Clerk. A Bachelor's degree is now required for jobs that used to be held by high school grads. Yes, that is true. Eighty percent of J. Kent’s candidate and applicant pool have a Bachelor's degree, and many applicants also hold a Master's. We have followed this trend for the past 25 years--the college degree through a quarter of a century has become the new high school diploma. The minimum requirement today for getting even the lowest-level corporate job is an expensive one.

Denver Employers Typically Require a Minimum of a Bachelor's Degree
At J. Kent, we see a minimum requirement of a Bachelor’s degree for our Direct Hire and Temp-to-Hire search engagements. A four-year degree is required of candidates for critical administrative, general business, accounting, finance, operations, marketing and even event staffing positions. Because of the requirement, today we place executive assistants with Bachelor degrees and MBAs, and almost every receptionist, HR coordinator, accounting clerk, data entry specialist and corporate recruiter, etc., holds a Bachelor's degree.

Granted, Denver has a robust educational system—from preschool to post-doctorate, and the Metro Denver area attracts talent from workers all over the world. Possibly some employers may not need or even want to change the requirement. However, right now and for the foreseeable future, Denver employers will continue to be challenged to hire the talent they need. So, enlarging the available talent pool is a must and a reality.

Is the Minimum Bachelor Degree Requirement Right for Your Open Positions?
          What Makes Sense for My Company?
Ask yourself, does the minimum Bachelor degree requirement:

  • Still make sense for today’s workplace and related jobs?
  • Make sense for my company and its long-term ability to recruit and retain talent for certain jobs?
  • Give me a better candidate for my open, non STEM positions?
  • Provide me with the skill sets that meet the demands of my jobs?
  • Possibly hurt my business?

Is the Employee with a Degree “Better” Than the Employee Without One? – It Depends
A difficult question, but one that should be asked if your company is interested in leveraging their talent pool. The concept or idea that the person with a degree is "better" than a person without one has been held with great conviction for many years. Likewise, the idea that our conventional wisdom has long held that our colleges and universities are world class. Indeed, a hotly debated topic, but that is another discussion.

IBM, EY, and PWC Did It – What are Your Thoughts?
The benefits of a solid college education are clear; particularly for those positions that require specific learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). STEM aims to foster inquiring minds, logical reasoning, and collaboration skills. We just don’t have enough STEM applicants—thus, too many jobs, critical to our nation’s economic growth, are left unfilled. But not all jobs are STEM jobs; thus, for those that are not, should the Bachelor’s degree be a minimum requirement?

Although it is not clear what the traditional career path will look like in a decade, it is clear, that our talent pool is shrinking and recruiting budgets are not giving the Denver employer the needed results. It’s up to employers to prepare for increasing their talent pool. In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that only one in three American adults held a Bachelor's degree or higher.  Employers miss out on a lot of potential candidates and talent by requiring a degree. What does that look like in your organization?  

The Information Provided Does Not Constitute Legal Advice

J. Kent Staffing is a Denver temporary staffing agency and has a world-wide audience.  Employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country.  Therefore, employers, temporary staffing agencies, and direct hire recruiting firms should consult their own labor or employment law attorneys with additional questions or for guidance and more information specific to their country, state and workplace.








  • Share/Bookmark
0 Responses to "Expand Your Talent Pool - Fortune 100 Hire Without a College Degree - Are You?"

Share Your Thoughts

* Required