The HR Director of a large employer was speaking to the staff and faculty of a small local college. An admission representatives asked the speaker the value he placed on having a degree from our institution. His reply was that due to the high number of resumes received for each job opening, the first criteria he looked at was education. Those resumes that listed a degree were put into one stack, all other resumes were put in another. The only time he would look at the resumes in the second stack would be if he could not find enough qualified candidates to interview in the first stack.
It used to be that those persons who had extensive on-the-job training and/or experience in a field could easily find a job in that field. Workers were hired and promoted based upon their job performance and their subject matter expertise. However, expertise no longer guarantees being hired for a new position or getting that long-awaited promotion at the old. Hiring managers now look for indisputable criteria to justify their decisions.
One of the most indisputable criteria available is the educational accomplishments of a prospective employee. As an example, two persons have submitted a resume for a position, and after the interviews are completed, the hiring team cannot decide which is the candidate which will be offered the position. The first candidate has twelve-years experience in a field related to the job position; the second candidate has eight-years experience in a field related to the job position. However, the second candidate also holds a bachelor’s degree in the same field. Who gets hired?
In the past, the first candidate would have an excellent chance to get the job offer. Nevertheless, modern day human resource personnel are more apt to hire the second candidate because the candidate has an objective measure (the Bachelor’s Degree) which states that he/she is indeed a better match for the position than the first. Despite four additional years of hands-on experience, the first candidate cannot show anything other than hearsay evidence to prove why he/she should be hired.
Additionally, the first candidate may never even be called in for an interview. Without any evidence of a higher education, his resume may be one of those perpetually stuck in the hiring manager’s “outbox.”
Though many people still assume that experience and hard work can get them to the top, the reality is that without having at least a Bachelor’s Degree, their upward mobility will eventually plateau while they watch younger (and better educated) people pass them by on the promotion ladder.