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Why Your Skills Matter as Much as Your Degree, and Why That's Good for You and Employers

  • Publication: 
    Green Bay Press Gazette
    Date: 
    June 1, 2018

    TechHire is part of an emerging school of thought that places more emphasis on a person's skills than on their degrees or other credentials. Among the biggest proponents is Skillful, which incubated the idea in Colorado over the past two years and is expanding to other states including Wisconsin. Degrees still matter — and should — but when they become virtually a generic requirement, it leaves some people on the sidelines who could have the skill set to be in the game.

    By focusing on skills and de-emphasizing four-year degrees in jobs that don't actually need them, both potential workers and employers have more options. In a tightening labor market where companies are scrambling to fill openings, that matters.

    As labor markets tighten, employers are looking for every good candidate they can find, particularly in certain technical fields. During the recession and the years since then, businesses were very selective in hiring, probably overly so in some cases. As a Harvard Business School report noted last year, “degree inflation” — demanding a four-year degree for jobs that previously hadn’t required one — had been “making the U.S. labor market more inefficient” because perfectly capable people were overlooked or didn't bother to apply.

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