Lately, I have been looking at a lot of job postings. I often get excited about a possible opportunity and look at the company and become fascinated with who they are and what they represent.
“My, what I would love to bring to an organization like that, I appreciate their message, their mission. I have experience in what they are asking for and needing.
Oh, they require a college degree. Next…”
Most employers now expect applicants to have at least a Bachelor’s in order to be able to contact them. The message is clear-
Do not bother contacting us if you do not have a college degree. Nope. Stay away. We don’t care who you are, who you know, what you’ve done or what you are passionate about, or capable of.
Sometimes, employers don’t even make a notation as to what you have to be degreed in at all; only that you have one. It is as if, they check a box on the form and that’s it. No exceptions.
This brings up a few thoughts. My mother went to USC and received a degree in dental hygiene. Only to own her own remodeling company for 35 years.
My father carries a zoology degree from USC and has spent most of his career life as a purchasing manager, writer, and business owner.
For people who switch career paths in life, a degree becomes just a piece of paper. They still have to learn everything new that they need to know. Most of them do that with mentorship and work experience.
This current college degree only applicants phenomenon strikes me strange for the following reasons.
- With standard protocol in (big) business over the last twenty years, being to either outsource work to other countries or to pay people as little as possible to help their bottom line- Why would employers now demand a degree that will mean they will have to pay them more than someone without? Older workers were weeded out of positions because they had nice salaries, longer vacations and benefits. Only to be replaced by inexperienced workers who had to learn on the job but were paid much less. Now let’s hire people we have to pay more.
- People get bored. The few people I know that were completely born to do the same job are engineers. They are wired for it, love it, breathe it and usually have enough change to keep it exciting for them. Other than the Professional roles, (doctors, lawyers, teachers) I think people in general want to mix it up a little. When people (Yes, I am making sweeping generalizations here, but as this is only my opinion, I think it’s ok) find a new something that gets them excited, they want to pursue it. They have big energy for it; strive to learn as much as they can about it. They try really, really, hard.
- Reading the article reference here- it takes much longer to fill a position when one requires a degree than it does if it is open to other applicants.
Sixty one days to fill a college degree demanded position or 28 days for the same position without the moniker. That is potentially wasted productivity time.
- When employers add the must have 5-10 years of completely related work experience. Again, people get bored. Maybe they are looking for a new job because they are sick of their last job. They will bring that energy to a new company if they are tired of that work or market.
- Some employers complain that they can’t find any good applicants, no one fits the bill. Maybe it’s because you have knocked out 60 % of the potential people before you even know their name.
Sometimes it feels like a secret club, one that takes significant money and time to get into.
I am in NO WAY undermining a college education. It is very important and is becoming even more so as the years go on. However, for some, like me, a middle aged woman who has one daughter in college now and another one starting next year; taking the time and money away from them is not what I want to do. I do want to work, I want to work hard. I have ideas, energy and passion coming out of my ears.
But I don’t have the degree.
Picture by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid