Job listings that don't require applicants to have a college degree are surging, with recruiters prioritizing skills over formal education, LinkedIn survey finds


Recent data from LinkedIn reveals a significant shift in the hiring practices of recruiters, with a focus on skills rather than degrees. The findings indicate a 90% increase in UK job adverts that no longer require a degree between 2021 and 2022. Globally, recruiters are increasingly searching for candidates based on their skill sets, as stated in LinkedIn's Future of Recruiting report for 2023. It reports that around 20% of jobs listed in the US do not require a four-year degree, up from approximately 15% in 2021. This trend is predicted to continue, with 75% of recruiting professionals anticipating a prioritization of skills-based hiring within the next 18 months.

The shift towards skills-first hiring is evident among companies that have previously placed strict emphasis on specific degree requirements. Notable organizations such as IBM, Accenture, Dell, Bank of America, Google, and Tesla are now increasingly hiring based on skills rather than degrees. This change in approach reflects a broader perspective on finding and nurturing talent, allowing businesses to remove unnecessary barriers in the hiring process and foster a more diverse range of talent, fresh perspectives, and ideas within their organizations.

LinkedIn's Future of Work report highlights the growing importance of people skills, as 92% of US executives believe they are more crucial than ever. The report also identifies the fastest-growing in-demand skills in job listings since November 2022, including communications, flexibility, professional ethics, social perceptiveness, and self-management.

The skepticism surrounding the usefulness of college degrees is not limited to recruiters. High-profile individuals like Elon Musk, who heads multiple companies including Tesla, question the value of traditional higher education. Musk has asserted that colleges are more an avenue for enjoyment than learning, pointing to successful college dropouts like Bill Gates and Larry Ellison as examples.

In contrast, prestigious firms such as KPMG, PwC, and Deloitte have observed an increase in graduates lacking essential professional skills like communication, collaboration, and presentation abilities. These firms have had to provide additional training to help new hires adapt to the workplace, suggesting that universities and colleges may not be adequately preparing young individuals for the demands of the working world.  

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