There was a time not so long ago where a common line in the requirements section of a lot of job advertisements contained two words; degree educated.
Quite often it didn’t state a specific degree, but there was a desire to have candidates who had been through the higher education system come out of the other side with a certificate and letters they could append to their name (though few ever did).
But in more recent times this requirement seems to have been dropped from a lot of roles, and with the current government paving the way for tuition fees which could be 200% higher than my time in the education system, you’ve got to assume more and more people will be entering the world of work without a degree.
In my early days as a manager I used to see the degree as a filter on commitment and work ethic. It was rarely about the subject studied. It was evidence they had committed themselves to three years of study and come through it successfully. It is very easy to drop out of University, and the fact this person hadn’t was a tick against their name.
But more and more I see candidates without a degree to their name, and I have had to change my own viewpoint. Moreover in the future less and less candidates will have been through the University system, and why should it matter?
The reality is, I used to look for a degree not as a basis of intelligence, but as an indicator for positive attitude and behaviours.
And conversely in recent times I find the attitude of those exiting the education system has changed. It is a generalisation but no less a reality of my experience, that more graduates are entering the world of work with an air of expectancy far greater than I have seen in the last 10 years. That their time in education has fast tracked them in terms of salary and role to a lofty status.
So in a future of less graduate and no declining need for a talented workforce it is time to re-evaluate the needs of your business when it comes to entry level staff.
Over the years I have come to value less measurable qualities such as passion, enthusiasm and desire above paper qualifications. At its worse, education teaches us to remember, not to think. And I don’t know of any degrees in passion or ambition.
So it’s time to re-evaluate the value of a degree, and find ways of assessing the qualities that really matter.