Google does it. So do Apple, IBM, Tesla, UPS, and many more. What do these companies have in common?
They’re all removing the requirement of a college degree from their job descriptions.
According to some leaders, business leaders, millions of jobs requiring a 4-year degree can be done without that level of education.
Former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said:
“propensity to learn became the company’s No. 1 hiring criterion, not pedigree, as the company struggled to fill open positions”source: The Wall Street Journal
A LinkedIn study on the Top 20 Occupations that Do Not Require a 4-Year College Degree discovered several companies had scrapped the entire idea of requiring degrees for their positions. A Glassdoor post on 15 companies who’ve scrapped degree requirements also shows ability means more than certifications.
What took so long for companies to remove the degree barrier to work? How have job descriptions changed over the years? And, which companies are scrapping degree requirements?
Let’s dig in.
The Recent Evolution of Requiring College Degrees
A lot has changed since the economic collapse of 2008. Many companies have scrapped college degree requirements, high school diploma requirements, or both.
After the Great Recession, employment was on the rebound. Some employers had so many applicants they were overwhelmed. So, they added more requirements to help weed through the talent pool. Then, many positions for a high school graduate required bachelor’s degrees.
ZipRecruiter discovered the following:
- 2016: 15% of job postings required a bachelor’s degree.
- 2020: 11% of job postings required a bachelor’s degree.
- 2021 (January to June): 7% of job postings required a bachelor’s degree.
And, in late 2020, over 80 companies of the Business Roundtable committed to focusing on rewriting job descriptions and placing more importance on real abilities and skills.
The pandemic forced many people out of work. As tensions eased and fear dissipated, employers expected a rushing return to work to match the rush of consumers anxious to leave their homes again — but that’s not what happened.
Many people weighed the reality — was their job really worth it? Was their annual wage enough to justify the sometimes long hours or maltreatment coupled with less than a living wage? This led to what’s being called the Great Resignation.
Many employers are still scrambling to fill positions that had more than enough applicants (pre-COVID). So, they have to do something they’ve never considered before to fill these positions — drop some of their lofty requirements, like prior experience and college degrees.
Even when offering better wages and sign-on bonuses for new hires, many companies still struggled to fill positions come January 2021. This caused a drastic drop in jobs requiring college degrees in the first 6 months of the year.
Over the next 5 years, experts suggest that more than 1.4 million positions will open to those with no college degree — or without high school education. This is good news!
Don’t Leave Diverse Talent Behind
Traditional JDs leave loads of capable and talented people without access.
One of the many problems with degree requirements is they segregate job seekers and exclude some underrepresented groups who might not have access to quality education to prepare them for 4 years at a university.
But, it also leaves out people who don’t want to attend a 4-year college for different reasons (e.g., student loan debt). Tuition costs rise more each year, making the cost of a 4-year (post-high school) education far out of reach for many Americans.
“Black Americans in particular are often left unprepared by the U.S. education system, and companies could help by hiring workers without a degree and giving them training…”source: Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co — The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit
Even employees without degrees (who already hold top positions with companies) are at risk.
The same positions at other companies might require a 4-year degree. If the employee wants to leave their current job for that other company (or loses employment), they might be excluded for lack of a degree. This is known as degree inflation.
So, which companies have already begun hiring candidates without a college degree?
20 Companies No Longer Requiring Degrees (or Graduation Requirements)
Here’s a round-up of 20 companies that have updated hiring requirements. These companies don’t require a 4-year degree (* for most jobs):
Apple is a sought-after company for people desiring to work in the tech sector. Some of the company’s current openings that don’t require a degree include iPhone buyers and engineering project managers.
2. Bank of America
Even without a college degree, administrative assistants, lending associates, investment analysts, and more can find a rewarding position with Bank of America.
Want to be a district manager for your local Chipotle? General manager? Accounts payable director? These positions and more can find employment with Chipotle without a degree.
4. Costco Wholesale
Stockers, warehouse order pickers, and pharmacy techs are just a few of the positions at Costco that don’t require a college degree.
Most entry-level positions at CVS don’t require a high school diploma or GED, and the company also scrapped its GPA requirements for recent college graduates.
Are you a network specialist? Software engineer or account strategist? Google will hire you — even if you never attended college.
Hilton has several openings and hires event managers, front office managers, housekeepers, and more without a college degree.
8. Home Depot
Department supervisors. Assistant store managers. Product managers. Yep — you guessed it: No need for a college degree here, either.
Data scientists, privacy analysts, software engineers, digital marketing managers, and more can work at IBM even if they’ve been on a college campus.
Brand advocates, sales associates, and more can find engaging work at Lowe’s and don’t need a degree.
No degree is required for cloud, platform, and software engineers at Netflix. But, you must prove proficiency and make it through several rounds of interviews.
Site reliability engineers, loss prevention ambassadors, strategy program managers, and more all have something in common — these positions don’t require a college degree at Nordstrom.
13. Ovia Health
As noted in this story, Ovia Health offers several positions to people with no college degree in hopes of eradicating unequal access to employment (due to barriers posed by exorbitant college tuition rates).
14. Penguin Random House*
For those hoping to rub elbows in the publishing world or who otherwise want to put their tech-savvy to good use, Penguin Random House has positions that don’t call for a degree, like editorial and marketing assistants and social media marketing managers.
Publix’s current job openings with no degree requirements include ISTS support technicians, retail setup coordinators, and social media specialists.
Starbucks hires baristas, shift supervisors, and more without a college degree. Starbucks currently has over 58,000 job openings across the United States for these positions.
17. State Street*
To find jobs at State Street that don’t require degrees, you’ll need to scroll through the company’s list of current openings. One of the positions that doesn’t require a degree is data support analyst – assistant manager.
Some of the jobs available at Tesla that do not require a degree include systems validation engineer, integration engineer, field support engineer, and software engineer. While these positions don’t require degrees, you must prove equivalent work experience.
19. The Body Shop
In 2021, The Body Shop dropped educational requirements AND background checks for applicants to broaden their talent pool.
20. Whole Foods
Software development engineers, salesforce administrators, and team leaders can find a home at Whole Foods without having a college degree.
Why I Wrote This
Companies and job seekers have reaped the benefits of opening up the talent pool to a more diverse set of applicants. Are you ready to find top talent (even if they don’t have a college degree)? Ongig’s Text Analyzer software helps you flag job descriptions that include elitism bias…like degree requirements.
- 15 More Companies That No Longer Require a Degree—Apply Now (by Glassdoor)
- No College, No Problem. Some Employers Drop Degree Requirements To Diversify Staffs (by Kirk Carapezza)
- CVS Health boosts pay, cuts education requirements as retailers compete for workers (by Melissa Repko)
- Some CEOs Suggest Dropping Degree Requirements in Hiring (by Chip Cutter)
- What is ‘The Great Resignation’? An expert explains (by Ahbinav Chugh)
- Netflix Careers and Opportunities (by Layura Schneider)
- Help Really Wanted: No Degree, Work Experience or Background Checks (by Lauren Weber and Chip Cutter)
- Leadership In Action (Business Roundtable)
- Elon Musk said a college degree isn’t required for a job at Tesla — and Apple, Google, and Netflix don’t require employees to have 4-year degrees either (by Allana Akhtar)
- No degree? No problem. Here are the jobs at Top Companies you can land without one (by Joseph Milord)
- $15 wage becoming a norm as employers struggle to fill jobs (by Christphoer Rugaber)
- Dismissed by Degrees, Managing the Future of Work (by Harvard Business School, Accenture, and Grads of Life)
- Employers are loosening degree requirements. But will it last? (by Lilah Burke)