Work force experts see removing the four-year college degree filter for some jobs as key to increasing diversity and reducing inequality. Workers, they say, should be selected and promoted because of their skills and experience rather than degrees or educational pedigree. And companies that do change their hiring practices, they add, benefit by tapping previously overlooked pools of talent in a tight labor market, as well as diversifying their work forces.
Nearly two-thirds of American workers do not have a four-year college degree. Screening by college degree hits minorities particularly hard, eliminating 76 percent of Black adults and 83 percent of Latino adults.
Companies that have trimmed back degree requirements typically began doing so before the pandemic, the Burning Glass analysis found. Nonprofit groups like Opportunity@Work, founded in 2015, and the Markle Foundation’s Skillful program, begun in 2016, had been prodding companies to adopt skills-based hiring.