Fi Apprenticeships

Why Employers Are Starting to Move Away from the Traditional Degree Requirements

Published by
05th February 2024

It was recently discovered that a whopping 70% of UK staff are planning to find a new job in 2024, and over half (58%) of US employees were intending to make a major job change this year…so if you thought the war for talent was coming to a lull, this may prove you wrong.

Since the pandemic the working world has been in a state of flux – our practices are constantly evolving in response to the rise of the carpe diem mentality that COVID created, and the subsequent shifting needs of the workforce that came with it. With a constant flow of employees in and out of organizations, businesses have been keenly focused on strategies to attract, embed, and retain top talent.

And in 2024, this may mean looking beyond the pool of traditionally qualified workers. The 4-year degree as a job requirement is starting to be challenged in corporate America, and this is in part due to the precedent set by big name companies like IBM, Accenture, Bank of America, and Google doing away with a bachelor’s degree as a requirement for being hired. Now, recent data suggests that nearly half of US organizations intend to eliminate the need for a bachelor’s degree in 2024. And this trend is not just exclusive to the US – LinkedIn data discovered a 90% increase in the share of UK job postings that did not require a university degree.

With the current talent squeeze we are seeing, it’s no wonder that companies are starting to change their tune towards those who take a more untraditional path into the world of work. After all, fewer than 40% of Americans actually hold a bachelor’s degree, which leaves 70 million workers who do not have one being overlooked by so many employers.

But if degree inflation is finally starting to fall, what should employers be doing to ensure they are attracting the best talent?

The answer to this breaks down into two key factors – what the characteristics are for a desirable candidate, and what training pathways employers can offer to their employees. For the former, this will see hiring managers and HR professionals moving away from looking at traditional qualifications and instead measuring the aptitude of a potential hire based on their attitude, their acquired skills, and whether they can enhance the culture of the company. There are so many employees who are eager to learn and develop but for one reason or another have not gone down the 4-year degree education path. Companies that are moving away from the traditional stance of needing a degree are going to gain access to a larger and more diverse pool of talent.

The success of your new hires is then dependent on the training programs that companies have in place for them. One offering that is growing in popularity in the US is apprenticeships, which have seen a 64% rise over the last decade. Apprenticeships have proven to be a great tool for getting fresh talent into roles; for example, in Switzerland 70% of teenagers participate in apprenticeships after finishing high school due to their effectiveness for businesses and their biproduct of creating social mobility opportunities. They can therefore be a fantastic strategic tool for attracting talent, but also lend a hand in increasing retention rates, too, as they foster a sense of loyalty from the onset.

Similarly, employers can create in-house training programs that are specifically tailored to upskill individuals to their working practices, and enrol new hires in certain Bootcamps and external certifications to gain qualifications whilst learning on the job (we are seeing this begin to particularly grow in popularity in the tech world).

And much like Swiss employers, companies who are looking to move away from the degree requirement and create apprenticeship and training programs are going to be furthering their social agenda for their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies, as they will be helping to create more social mobility opportunities.

So, if you would like to discuss how OrgShakers can help you with navigating this expansion of your hiring process and assist you in accessing wider pools of unexplored talent, please get in touch with me at or contact us through our website.

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