7 companies that recently dropped college degree requirements for new hires

  • College degree requirements have locked millions of Americans out of well-paying jobs.
  • Ongoing labor shortages are causing more and more companies to drop degree requirements.
  • These seven technology, finance and aviation companies are leading the charge.

Previously, you needed a university degree to work in these companies. No more.

According to a 2017 report, after the Great Recession, degree requirements robbed nearly two-thirds of American workers of millions of high-paying jobs that didn’t actually require a four-year college education. With fewer degrees than their white peers, black and Latino workers have been disproportionately left behind.

While figures such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook have questioned the need for college degrees, more and more companies are realizing that the requirements for degrees put them at a “competitive disadvantage” as labor shortages aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and the practice is shrinking their hiring pools: In February 2023, the unemployment rate for U.S. high school graduates was 5.8% against 2.9% for those who had a baccalaureate. This gap represents millions of potential workers who could do a great job even if they don’t have a college degree.

Today, a number of companies have removed educational requirements to expand their network and diversify their workforce. Between 2017 and 2019, employers reduced educational requirements for 46% of medium-skilled jobs and 31% of high-skilled jobs, which were most pronounced in occupations in finance, business management, engineering and healthcare, the think tank Burning Glass Institute reported in 2022. The vast majority of these “degree resets” are expected to be permanent.

These companies tap into the more than 70 million workers nationwide who have gained skills and experience outside of four-year colleges, whether through community college, military service, boot camps or working on the job, as estimated by the non-profit workforce development organization. Opportunity@Work. As more companies reduce credential requirements, the Burning Glass Institute predicts that 1.4 million more jobs will be open to these workers over the next five years.

Here are seven companies that have ditched credential requirements and are leading this radical skill-based shift in the job market.


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