Op-ed: Demand for a degree and ‘upcredentialing’

Industry vet mulls whether or not today’s jobs should require a traditional degree; discusses “upcredentialing”

degree-job-staffordYou’re sure you could do the job, but the posting says a bachelor’s degree is required and you don’t have one.

Requiring at least a bachelor’s degree is one of the more popular — but perhaps inefficient — applicant screening tools spawned in internet-based hiring systems. A labor analytics firm, Burning Glass Technologies, recently reported on this “upcredentialing” requirement, finding that employers now ask for more education from new hires than is held by existing workers in the same jobs.

For example, 65 percent of job postings for executive secretaries and executive assistants call for bachelor’s degrees, but only 19 percent of people now in those jobs hold such degrees, the report said.

A college degree may give employers a barometer of an applicant’s skills, intelligence, tenacity and, possibly, economic security. But Burning Glass said it’s also “a trend that could shut millions of Americans out of middle-skill, middle-class jobs,” given that two-thirds of the workforce lacks bachelor’s degrees.

(Next page: Moving away from upcredentialing and the degree requirement)

eSchool Media Contributors