Companies no longer require college degree for some higher-paying jobs, preferring more extensive work experience instead
By Belle Carter // Nov 30, 2022

Some major players in the industry are taking out the college degree requirement for many high-paying jobs amid the tightening of the labor market. The Wall Street Journal reported that Alphabet Inc.'s Google, Delta Air Lines Inc. and International Business Machines (IBM) Corp. have lowered the educational attainment required for some positions. The big companies leaned toward hiring applicants with a better skillset and work experience.

According to an analysis of labor research group Burning Glass Institute, job postings in America that require at least a bachelor's degree were 41 percent in November, which fell from 46 percent in 2019 before the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The think tank study indicated that degree requirements dropped even earlier in the pandemic and figures have grown since then.

The media outlet stated that job postings are greater than the number of unemployed people looking for work. There were 10.7 million openings in September compared with 5.8 million unemployed, which created unusually stiff competition for workers.

Lucy Mathis won a scholarship to attend a woman in computer science conference, where she found out about an IT internship at Google. She eventually dropped out of her computer science undergraduate program to work at the company full-time. The 28-year-old now makes a six-figure sum as a systems specialist. "I found out I had a knack for IT. I'm not good at academics. It's not for me," Mathis said.

As per the Big Tech firm, more than 100,000 people in the U.S. have completed its online college-alternative program that offers training in fast-growing fields such as digital marketing and project management. Together with 150 other companies, they are now using the program to hire entry-level workers.

Meanwhile, IBM spokeswoman Ashley Bright said the majority of the U.S. roles in their multinational tech company no longer require a four-year degree after they reviewed their hiring practices. Moreover, Delta said a four-year college degree was preferred but no longer required.

Some occupations have universal degree requirements, such as doctors and engineers, while others typically have no higher education requirements, such as retail workers. There is a middle ground, such as tech positions, that have varying degree requirements depending on the industry, company and strength of the labor market and economy.

Meanwhile, the country's largest private employer, Walmart, said it values skills and knowledge gained through work experience and that 75 percent of its salaried store management started their careers in hourly jobs.

As per Kathleen McLaughlin, the retail giant's executive vice president, the company's goal is to shift the "focus from the way someone got their skills, which is the degree, to what skills do they have."

43 Million people hold trillions of student loans in America

Bachelor's degree holders earn 31 percent more than those with an associate's degree and 84 percent more than those with just a high school diploma, according to a 2021 report by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

But the cost of college education can be too much for many – more than 43 million people in America have a combined $1.6 trillion in student-loan debt. President Joe Biden wants to address this by pushing a student loan relief program that would cost taxpayers billions of dollars. (Related: HIGHER EDUCATION ROBBERY: American taxpayers will be forced to pay an average of $2500 each if student loans are canceled.)

The authors of the 2021 report pointed out that while a college degree can provide specific workplace skills, workers can gain the skills needed for many jobs without a four-year degree. "Even though education is supposed to open up doors and windows of opportunity, they have, in some ways, become a means of closing off opportunity," chief economist at the Georgetown center Nicole Smith said.

Back in March, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said the government would review college-degree requirements for every state job.

Half a year later, the state said the program is showing early signs of working as intended. The number of state employees hired without a four-year degree from May to August is up 41 percent from a year before while the number of all employees hired is up 14 percent.

The nonprofit Opportunity@Work, which also wants to cut degree requirements, worked with Maryland on its program. The Chief Customer Officer Bridgette Gray said there are around 70 million Americans over the age of 25 who are in the workforce today and don’t have a college degree and about four million are already in high-wage careers.

"College is a clear pathway to upward mobility, but it shouldn't be the only pathway," she said.

Visit for more news related to the tightening labor market in America.

Watch the video below that talks about Biden's student loan relief that would cost taxpayers around $195 billion.

This video is from the NewsClips channel on

More related stories:

Initial unemployment claims remain high as recession fears affect labor market.

Texas judge strikes down Biden's student loan forgiveness plan.

Biden's war on U.S. economy deepens: Huge job losses in January add to labor market woes amid ongoing supply chain crisis.

Number of Americans with a second job up by 6% as inflation continues to eclipse wage gains.

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