Ernst & Young Stopped Requiring Degrees. Should You?

The UK offices of Ernst & Young have announced that they will stop requiring degrees, but instead will offer online testing and search out talented individuals regardless of background. Why? They say there is no correlation between success at the university and success in careers.

The Huffington Post quotes Maggie Stilwell, EY’s managing partner for talent as saying:

Academic qualifications will still be taken into account and indeed remain an important consideration when assessing candidates as a whole, but will no longer act as a barrier to getting a foot in the door.

Our own internal research of over 400 graduates found that screening students based on academic performance alone was too blunt an approach to recruitment.

It found no evidence to conclude that previous success in higher education correlated with future success in subsequent professional qualifications undertaken.

To keep reading, click here: Ernst & Young Stopped Requiring Degrees. Should You?

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8 thoughts on “Ernst & Young Stopped Requiring Degrees. Should You?

  1. Gosh I sure hope this becomes a trend. I know so many people who are excelling in their jobs – in fields different from that of their degree. ((I’m a degreed accountant working in politics, for example, and I have had tons of success).

    I also think of all the folks in their 50’s & 60’s who were not of the generation that got the push for college, college college who are, despite decades of experience, at an automatic disadvantage just because they don’t have a piece of paper.

  2. Yep, this could be a good thing (I say, “could” because it really depends if they are being honest about it. If they are just saying it; but, not doing it, then it is a waste of folks’ time. If they really are doing it, then yea, it is a good thing). However, I do sort of feel that they are now going to do something that they should have been doing all along.

    I think it is key that the one report “revealed wealthy kids are 35% more likely to become high earners than clever, disadvantaged young people, even if they are not academically gifted.”

    As a trainer, I often see folks who have that degree, or even an advanced degree and sort of use that as a “you should do as I say because I have X degree; so I know what I am talking about” even though their ideas stink.

    I’ve also seen the person without the degree who has some great ideas; but, not taken seriously because they lack that sheepskin.

    Years ago, we had a great middle-manager. She was smart, well-liked by those above and those below her, she was clearly a people-person, very well-read (Seriously, I don’t know anyone else who reads works like “War and Peace” on their own), always had terrific ideas; but, her lack of a college degree kept her from being promoted any higher. It was not just her loss; but, the company’s as well.

  3. I am happy to see a UK company oppose conventional wisdom and affirm that most degrees are not needed for a successful life on any rational basis. It had to be somewhere other than the US because of the politically correct and misguided US Supreme Court decision in Griggs.

    Bill McMorris: How The Supreme Court Created The Student Loan Bubble
    It all starts with Griggs v. Duke Power Co.

    === ===
    [edited] The GI Bill paid for World War II veterans to attend college. A lie from that time props up our current Big Education regime. College attendance supposedly produced the upward mobility and economic boom of the postwar period.

    It’s a heartwarming story: the veteran would have been a dust farmer but for the grace of government generosity. But it just isn’t true. Only one out of every eight returning veterans attended college. Seven out of eight benefited from aptitude testing, something even more egalitarian. Testing favors raw talent above all else, allowing companies to hire high-potential candidates from any background and groom them to fit the company’s needs.

    The armed services were forced to process hundreds of thousands of recruits for the war. They developed aptitude tests to filter and assign soldiers. Businesses saw that this worked. The chief hiring metric in the postwar era was not the degree, but the tested aptitude that would enable a person to succeed. Testing enabled blue-collar workers to ascend in business based solely on their ability.

    The Supreme Court Griggs decision has made that organic rise through business ranks impossible. The doctrine of “disparate impact” leaves businesses liable for those who fail to pass hiring tests.

    University of Pennsylvania Professor Amy Wax wrote a 2011 paper “Disparate Impact Realism”.
    = = =
    [edited] Despite their imperfections, tests and criteria which depend on cognitive ability remain the best predictors of performance for jobs at all levels of complexity. Those were the types of tests targeted by the Griggs decision.

    Most legitimate job selection practices, including those that are better predictors of productivity, will routinely trigger liability under the current rule.
    = = =

    The solution for businesses under Griggs was obvious: outsource screening to colleges, which are allowed to weed out poor candidates based on test scores. The bachelor’s degree was previously reserved for academics, doctors, and lawyers. It became the de-facto credential required for any white-collar job.
    === ===

    The solution under freedom is to strike down the Griggs decision. The solution under tyranny is to provide a college degree for free to everyone.

    There is little evidence that colleges create any ability in students. Colleges test heavily to select students who will do well. Colleges refuse to measure or report how much their students gain in reasoning, comprehension, and writing ability due to their education.

    Colleges report large increases in future earnings for their students compared to non-degreed people. They do not include the large percentage of students who drop out even after thorough admissions testing.

    1. Hmm, and I’m sure none of those aptitude tests favored white males over anyone else. Because of course white men are soooo much more guaranteed to succeed in business than anyone female or with brown skin.

  4. As an England person, I back this and actually it’s really quite common here. A lot of places understand that people of similar age have done different paths e.g. 1 went to University and got a degree, the other started from the bottom and learnt on the job experience and both have similar skills, and don’t discount the non-degree person as we over here understand the importance of different learning styles. Not everyone thrives in a traditional learning environment and I can learn better from ‘doing’ rather than reading about it etc.
    I’m glad that America has seen this and hopefully following suit, because they’re narrowing their talent pool!

  5. Goodness me, Sorry for the shocking grammar. English person not an England person. Don’t you just love autocorrect?

    1. Whenever I get a new device, I turn off autocorrect. I still type mistakes but they’re not turned into totally wrong word choices.

  6. Suzanne, thanks for the great read! I’ve been seeing a lot of articles about this topic lately. Do you think that eradicating degree requirements is becoming a recruiting trend? And, with millennials placing such high value on education and degrees, do you think this shift in hiring will affect their perceptions of employers and managers?

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