College Degree Required. But Why?

There’s an idea that the person with a degree is “better” than a person without one. Indeed, The New York Times recently reported on the relatively new phenomenon of companies hiring people with college degrees for jobs that historically didn’t require college degrees. Are you doing this in your business?

If so, I have to ask, better for what? Yes, having a four year degree does show a degree of dedication. You have to pick a major, take class after class, write paper after paper and work on dreaded group projects. (Which, in my humble opinion, should be banished off the face of the educational earth unless the professor is willing to act as a proper manager, which most are not.) But, anyway, in theory you learn some things and you demonstrate that you have stick-to-itiveness. This is worth something.

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8 thoughts on “College Degree Required. But Why?

  1. Oh this really bugs me. Especially when they want someone with a bachelor’s degree, but they won’t pay a living wage. $7.50 an hour? How in the name of all that is holy is a person supposed to pay rent and their school bills, not to mention eat, on a salary like that? I am really behind because of this crap. Thank God my new job isn’t like this. For once, my degree is actually worth something now.

    And thank you for saying us clerical chicks (and roosters!) are dedicated professionals. We may not have fancy titles, but most businesses could not function without us.

    1. It really annoys me when people link administrative professionals don’t require any specific skill. Let’s face it, it’s a hard job! And it’s complex. And it requires skills that I do not have.

      I’m so happy about your new job!

  2. The manager may make the hiring decision with a plan to develop the individual to move up the ladder. That new hire’s education plus ojt may provide qualifications for the next steps.

    1. Sure!
      I’m not arguing that a college degree shouldn’t be required for any positions. Just that it shouldn’t be required for every position.

  3. Thanks for saying that administrative assistant is not an easy job. It certainly isn’t! I was an admin assistant for many years. You have to keep a lot of balls in the air. I considered becoming an executive assistant for a while, but after reading many, many job descriptions, I realized I didn’t have near enough skills for it! It involves project management, accounting, customer service, just to name a few. Admins have to be very versatile!

  4. I know some really stupid people who have degrees. I can’t understand why any HR professional would pass up a lot of great candidates with the required skill sets just because they don’t have that piece of paper. I would also worry about disparate impact when requiring a degree for a non-professional position.

  5. I agree, it is silly to hire a person who has a degree for a job that does not require a degree. A person with a degree may not have the knowledge, skills, and abilities that one acquires through experience. Reading this article reminded me of an experience I had with a very large company 16 years ago.

    I was a contingent worker assigned to a company within the computer industry. During the times when production was slow, an experienced worker trained me to perform his job. The temp agency and my direct supervisor within the company were aware of this fact, and approved. About six months later, another contingent worker with a degree in mortuary science was assigned to our area. Three months later, when the company was hiring people, the mortician who didn’t have any experience was hired because he had a degree while I was overlooked because I “only” had ojt.

    I asked to be assigned elsewhere shortly after that. Two months later, the friend that had trained me to perform his job let me know that, despite a degree in mortuary science, the mortician lacked a solid work ethic and was fired. It just goes to show that a degree doesn’t bestow the recipient with the attributes needed to cut it in the real world.

  6. It bugs me so much when hiring manager do this. You don’t need a degree to do some of the jobs but when you do hire someone with a degree, you wonder why they get bored and leave. Sure if there is any potential for progress in the career but then again, if there is potential to develop them further, why not support it by encouraging them to get a degree at a later date when it’s actually necessary. Most of the time, they are better of persuing professional certification instead.

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