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Education Businesses IT

Why Do Employers Require College Degrees That Aren't Necessary? (thestreet.com) 358

Slashdot reader pefisher writes: A lot of us on Slashdot have noticed that potential employers advertise for things they don't need. To the point that sometimes they even ask for things that don't exist. Like asking for ten years of experience in a technology that has only just been introduced. It's frustrating because it makes you wonder "what's this employers real game?"

Do they just want to say they advertised for the position, or are they really so immensely stupid, so disconnected from their own needs, that they think they are actually asking for something they can have...? Here is a Harvard Study that addresses one particular angle of this. It doesn't answer any questions, but it does prove that you aren't crazy. And it quantifies the craziness.

The study's author calls it "degree inflation," and after studying 26 million job postings concluded that employers are now less willing to actually train new people on the job, possibly to save money. "Many companies have fallen into a lazy way of thinking about this," the study's author tells The Street, saying companies are "[looking for] somebody who is just job-ready to just show up." The irony is that college graduates will ultimately be paid a higher salary -- even though for many jobs, the study found that a college degree yields zero improvement in actual performance.

The Street reports that "In a market where companies increasingly rely on computerized systems to cull out early-round applicants, that has led firms to often consider a bachelor's degree indicative of someone who can socialize, run a meeting and generally work well with others." One company tells them that "we removed the requirement to have a computer science degree, and we removed the requirement to have experience in development computer programming. And when we removed those things we found that the pool of potential really good team members drastically expanded."
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Why Do Employers Require College Degrees That Aren't Necessary?

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  • discrimination (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @02:42PM (#55621135) Journal
    One theory I've heard (I don't know if it's true or not) is that employers require degrees to avoid sexual discrimination lawsuits.

    For example, let's say a company has 20% of its employees male, the rest female. They are open to a discrimination lawsuit prima facie. But if they only hire people with a X degree, they can say, "only 19% of people with degree X are male, we are doing better than average!"

    As more people with degree X arrive on the scene, the requirement becomes harder and harder to avoid.
    • You don't even need a degree to do that if you keep records to show that hiring isn't disproportionate to the ratio of applicants applying for positions. You don't need a college degree to go be a roughneck on an oil rig, but none of those companies are getting sued for sexual discrimination because almost all of the workers are men because there are almost no women that apply for those jobs.
    • Re:discrimination (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Saturday November 25, 2017 @04:22PM (#55621625) Homepage Journal

      What jurisdiction is this?

      In most places there can only be discrimination during the hiring process. Having a legacy of being male dominated, for example, isn't actionable. Who would bring the complaint? How could they justify the company firing people just to fix the numerical issue?

      Around here the degree requirement is usually just to filter candidates. Companies can't be bothered to train or even evaluate candidates properly, so put that lazy filter on.

    • (I don't know if it's true or not)

      It's not true. I mean I have no proof, but some concepts are just too stupid to be true, and this is one of them.

      More than likely it reduces the applicant pool to those "smarter ones" who have proven adept at navigating the meat grinder. This unfortunately means some very qualified people will slip through.

  • Like women (Score:4, Interesting)

    by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @02:42PM (#55621137)

    As soon as you stop looking at only the gorgeous ones, you'll enjoy many amazing sex encounters with the ones you previously ignored.

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @02:43PM (#55621149) Homepage Journal

    I didn't RTFA, but I'm pretty sure this has been discussed at least nine million times in the last 20 years. The main reasons:
    1. Demonstrated ability to stick with something for a while.
    2. The average college grad is usually more literate than the average high school grad. Better chance that you'll get an employee that can do basic math, speak properly to customers, etc.
    3. Employers will get many applicants for any given job, so this will at least filter out SOME people. And of those that apply for the job, #1 above applies.
    Yes, it's lazy, but as long as you have more applicants than open positions, why not? (From the employer's point of view.)

    • by andersenep ( 944566 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @02:55PM (#55621215)

      Wish I had some mod points. I really hate that college degrees in the US are often viewed solely some kind of career prep/vocational training. Higher education does have to be geared towards some specific job; it can be an end in itself, and it has its own intrinsic value.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you have two applications with no work experience, then I would go with the one with a degree as a baseline filter. But if both have several years of experience then I don't think it matters as much, and if you reject the non-degree candidate in the prescreening phase you might be missing out on a great programmer with a nontraditional background (and in tech not having a formal degree isn't all that uncommon anyways, compared to most STEM fields)

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @03:11PM (#55621303)

      While these are good skills the degree shouldn’t be a baseline for employment. Because too many people are wasting 4 years of their lives in education just so they can get a job. Many have these skills beforehand but knowing they need to work the system they get the degree to get the job.
      College isn’t designed to be a job training center. They want to focus on learning and education.
      A lot of good people are wasting time in college just for the degree and not for the enlightenment of learning.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @03:45PM (#55621451)

        Because too many people are wasting 4 years of their lives in education just so they can get a job.

        The problem is that there is a negative feedback loop. Too many people go to college and get worthless degrees, so the job market is flooded with psychology grads. Therefore there is no downside to employers demanding degrees since these grads are plentiful and willing to accept the same low wages as a HS grad ... which puts pressure on the HS grad to go to college and get a degree in something.

        I don't know what the solution is. One reasonable proposal is to require taxpayer subsidized student loans to be combined with an internship or apprenticeship to match up students with employers and ensure they are learning something useful.

        • How to break the loop is a good question.

          Degrees are being used as a (really lazy) litmus test. If the costs weren't as simple as "It took me 6 weeks to hire people when I opened the job up to everyone vs. 3 without," then there would be a variable that could be weighted differently. It would be great to see people incorporate "for the good of society" into their thoughts, but right now, the bottom thought, even if it doesn't need to be, is "Is it cheaper for me."

          I've heard a whole slew of reasons why pe

        • by blindseer ( 891256 ) <blindseer.earthlink@net> on Saturday November 25, 2017 @04:55PM (#55621783)

          I don't know what the solution is. One reasonable proposal is to require taxpayer subsidized student loans to be combined with an internship or apprenticeship to match up students with employers and ensure they are learning something useful.

          Here's another proposal. Let's have the students either have to pay for their own educations, like in working through college, or have to apply for a loan through a private bank. If you pay for your own education up front then no one cares if you study transgender dance theory because that's your money. If someone has to go to a bank and they see an application for a loan to major in transgender dance theory then chances are the bank will refuse the loan. If someone shows up with an even slightly higher than average SAT or ACT score, good grades in high school, and wants to go to college to be a registered nurse then that person is quite likely to get a loan.

          Government subsidy just artificially raised the prices and reduces choices. I remember this with the switch to digital television. The government said they'd pay UP TO $50 for a device that received digital TV and had a few other requirements. Guess what happened? Every device was priced at exactly $50. I wanted a device that did something the government would not subsidize so I had little for choices. I could choose the crippled government subsidized solution or a very expensive feature filled device for many times more money. There wasn't a $100 middle of the road digital TV converter device, only the $50 crippled devices or $300 whiz bang devices.

          Why is it that an engineering degree costs as much as a degree in transgender dance theory? Because the student doesn't pay for it, the government does. If the student had to pay for it then perhaps the student might give more thought in the value of the degree. If a private bank had to put a risk factor on each degree on every student loan they they'd be handing out loans for things like engineering, nursing, law, business, and so forth but not transgender dance theory. They'd also set standards on who got the loan. The government really only cares if a person has been accepted to a college, not if the degree has any value or the school is any good. Mostly they do this just so they know who gets the check and for how much.

          A private bank would also put a market based check on the amount of the loan. They might give a $15,000 loan for studying dance. For someone that wants to be a surgeon, and they have demonstrated ability, the bank is quite likely to give a $250,000 loan. Oh, and the dance school loan would probably have a 15% interest rate and the medical school loan a 5% interest rate.

          Oh, and the bank might also get in the business of finding people work if it meant getting paid back on the loan. What incentive does the government have in finding people work? I mean they don't want people destitute but really all they want is people that won't cause trouble. The government doesn't much care if they get you a job, put you in prison, or get you on welfare. It's not their money so some government bureaucrat will "find you a job" just so they can be rid of you and move on. They won't care if you like the job, if it matches your degree, or even if the job pays better than minimum wage. It's not their money.

    • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @03:16PM (#55621319) Journal
      This would make a lot of sense in an era of declining educational standards at schools. It used to be that getting good grades at secondary school meant that you had put in a decent amount of work and commitment. However, now that it is no longer politically correct to fail school kids the qualification has become enormously devalued and it is no wonder that employees no longer rely on it. In fact, even universities are now beginning to question whether using high school marks to determine which admit students is reliable.
      • lack of a trades track as well! Germany has a good system.

        also get the nfl / nba training grounds out of college and on to a real minor league system like the NHL and MLB.

        • Germany USED TO do a relatively good job with their bottom 20%.

          But that ship has sailed, they now graduate into apprenticeships not knowing how do basic arithmetic.

          Yes my Aunt is a teacher in a German high school. They don't know what to make of it or do about it. It's like the idiot kids have been replaced by American idiots.

      • by swb ( 14022 ) on Sunday November 26, 2017 @05:06AM (#55623823)

        I think there's a lot of truth to this. The local newspaper is prone to running the occasional feature article with essays written by school children in the 1900-1930 era. The ones they run are often written by 7-8th graders and read like they were written by adult college graduates -- language, sentence structure, composition, even the ideas expressed are mature and sophisticated.

        I cannot imagine a contemporary student of high school writing these essays, let alone junior high school kids.

        I can't decide if its the curriculum, the instruction, the kids, the parents, or some kind of emergent aspect of our culture that's made our kids so less capable than they used to be. I'm kind of inclined to a get off my lawn argument about TV and technology making people distracted and less capable in general literacy, but I think there's room for a sound criticism of our crass, commercial cultural content, too.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      More like demonstrated ability to be born into money.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gurps_npc ( 621217 )

      Here are the counter-arguments (from the employers point of view).

      Why it is better to hire people WITHOUT a college degree.

      1) You can pay them less. A lot LESS.

      2) You get people that are more loyal. They know it's harder for them to get another job.

      3) You get people that have experience working long, hard hours rather than staying out late and drinking, then doing a half -assed job to finish off projects at the last minute.

      4) You get people that think getting into a ton of debt just to prove how smart

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Often they list a degree and a bunch of irrelevant stuff just so that they can pay you less because "you are underqualified".

      • 4) You get people that think getting into a ton of debt just to prove how smart they are sounds off to them.

        You sound like you have a massive chip on your shoulder. Going into massive debt so you can spent the next 40-50 years employed rather than unemployed is almost certainly the better choice. Also:

        1) You can pay them less. A lot LESS.

        Yep, going into debt to massively increase lifetime earnings is not a terrible plan.

        3) You get people that have experience working long, hard hours rather than staying out

    • Higher education is NOT necessarily career preparation. It teaches theory, not necessarily reality. In my old career as a Systems Engineer, I met so many people with masters degrees that had no idea how to actually turn a Windows server into a domain controller, let alone plan complex systems. I have a degree in Criminal Justice which might as well be basket weaving. I learned through teaching myself and a whole lot of studying how today. A college degree doesn't even accurately predict who will work harder
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        I met so many people with masters degrees that had no idea how to actually turn a Windows server into a domain controller

        Benefit of doubt: Were they Solaris, *BSD, or GNU/Linux admins who had never been in front of a licensed copy of Windows Server before?

    • by grimr ( 88927 )

      1. Demonstrated ability to stick with something for a while.

      So require someone to waste 4 years of their life while not earning money and accruing debt just to prove they can stick with something. Nice.

      I'd bet that a lot of people would be willing to accept a much lower starting salary if they didn't have to finance a student loan.

      2. The average college grad is usually more literate than the average high school grad. Better chance that you'll get an employee that can do basic math, speak properly to customers, etc.

      That's a failure in the high school system if true. But the quote in the summary of the article says "even though for many jobs, the study found that a college degree yields zero improvement in actual performance"

      3. Employers will get many applicants for any given job, so this will at least filter out SOME people. And of those that apply for the job, #1 above applies.
      Yes, it's lazy, but as long as you have more applicants than open positions, why not? (From the employer's point of view.)

      Why not? Because it's a

    • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @05:23PM (#55621929) Homepage Journal

      Translation, there is no STEM shortage. We have so many we can afford to round file people without reading past the top of page 1.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday November 25, 2017 @02:44PM (#55621153) Homepage Journal

    One reason is to filter out some of the applicants, because you have too many. Might as well filter out the ones that don't have a degree first; they might know less than the other ones, and they definitely have demonstrated less willingness to jump through hoops.

    Another potential reason is to disqualify applicants because you want to hire a H1B.

    Another reason is that the HR employees want to protect the value of their bullshit degrees.

    • by Motard ( 1553251 )

      they definitely have demonstrated less willingness to jump through hoops.

      That would be awesome if you own a hoop jumping company. But I've found that companies will more often value people that can dispose of hoops (at least the ones not mandated by government or legal requirements).

      'Course, the hoop jumpers are controlling HR. And so we have this story.

  • .... without any doubt that one is capable of sticking through something that may be difficult, or sometimes even unpleasant, to achieve a goal. It's a high level generalization of a person's character that can be more properly evaluated, albeit much more expensively, with a probationary period.

    Although of course, YMMV.

    • I agree with this. There are certainly jobs which more or less require specific training - physical therapy comes to mind (maybe because I’m currently getting PT). But for a lot of careers, what you study in college amounts to general (but still useful) background knowledge instruction.

      My physics degree courses taught me things which have been useful in my jobs; but I’ve never worked in an actual physics job. I must admit that I’m still waiting for the chance to apply quantum mechanics or

    • I think this is used all of the time. I don't find it to be an accurate test. Most jobs are plug and play and under one subject. I don't need to know if Johnny or Sally can push through subject matter they find boring, because if I keep giving it to them, they'll probably go find a job that is more interesting to them. I just need to know they can RTFM when it pertains to why I hired them.

      --
      "Indecision may or may not be my problem" - Jimmy Buffet

  • Idiot Filter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 25, 2017 @02:46PM (#55621169)

    Because it filters out idiots.

    Yes, there are plenty of smart people with no degree and plenty of idiots with degrees, but the mix is more in their favor with a degree, though it's getting to be less of an advantage now that most people have one.

    Because it costs them time & money to interview people, simple filters that make their job easier are widely used, even if there's some opportunity cost of overlooking people who are good but who don't pass the filters.

    They make up for that anyhow by using employee recommendations. If someone is willing to vouch for a person, they can often skip some of the requirements as long as they have some evidence of being good at the job.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Well, it filters out extreme idiots. The common run-of-the-mill idiots make it through college just fine.

  • The typical hiring process is not about finding the right candidate, it is about eliminating the wrong candidate. Therefore the tendency is to look for screening criteria that can be used by the Human Resources department to eliminate as many people as possible before the list of capable candidates is presented to the hiring department.

    .
    The HR department loves a checklist, and a checkbox saying "college degree required" is an easy item to screen for.

    • Whichever IT Manager let's HR screen their staff is a moron. Most of the time HR knows nothing about the skills or mentality that makes a good IT person.

      • I used to be able to hire candidates without degrees based upon other factors, such as experience (e.g. in the 1990s). Today I don't have that option anymore - of no fault of my own. It's not a matter of letting HR do the screening. It is a matter of company policy as established by the executive board in conjunction with HR best practices. Someone may be a moron in all of this, but it's not the hiring manager.

    • The hiring process is broken and misses some really good candidates but I see this as being a failure in corporate culture. An unwillingness to train, develop, and grow a candidate virtually assures that the candidate you get will probably search for a better opportunity in two years. An employee that feels the company is as invested in them as they are in it, is more likely to stay. But these days, companies seem to accept a certain amount (or even encourage) turnover. Their business model even takes this
  • by Slugster ( 635830 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @02:47PM (#55621175)
    A 1971 supreme court case named Griggs vs Duke Power found that if an employer engaged in their own employee or applicant skills testing, and that testing was found to result in racial discrimination, then the empoloyer was guilty of racial discrimination even though that was not their intent.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org].

    Griggs is the basis of credentials inflation in the US.
    As a result of Griggs, most companies began halting their own applicant testing entirely, and simply began to require more and more education--assuming that this would still weed out the ineffective applicants.
    • That does not explain why the same phenomenon is occurring everywhere outside the US though.
      • It is likely because a degree is essentially an IQ test.

        I'm going by memory here so if someone has better numbers then I welcome corrections. The average IQ of a high school graduate is about 105, slightly above average. The average IQ of a college graduate is about 110. The average IQ of someone with a graduate degree is about 120. The 50/50 point of graduating high school is an IQ of around 80 or 85 as I recall. I can assume that if someone has a college degree then there's a high probability of a pe

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        A 1971 supreme court case named Griggs vs Duke Power found that if an employer engaged in their own employee or applicant skills testing, and that testing was found to result in racial discrimination, then the empoloyer was guilty of racial discrimination even though that was not their intent.

      This is not true. The ruling was against tests which are not applicable to job performance. You're suggesting otherwise, with your "applicant skills testing" description.

      • Not quite.
        From wiki-- "As such, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employment tests (when used as a decisive factor in employment decisions) that are not a "reasonable measure of job performance," regardless of the absence of actual intent to discriminate. ..."

        What this means in practical terms is that the employer cannot impose such tests, done themselves. If the applicant has passed such tests elsewhere or not, was not a matter considered by the decision.
        https://www.forbes.com/sites/g... [forbes.com]
        • If in the Griggs vs Duke Power 1971 case, that Duke Power is prohibited from requiring high school diploma which was disproportionally disadvantageous for blacks, then how can businesses now defend their practice of requiring college degrees which is even more arbitrary and harder to justify for business purpose? It's widely known that college degree is a white privilege much more than high school diploma. I think businesses are just in an ignorant bliss ripe for a lawsuit to slap them back into sense.
    • by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @06:27PM (#55622197) Homepage

      The funny thing is that the judgement condemns both an aptitude test, as well as a requirement for a high-school diploma. In fact, the requirement for the degree gets somewhat more condemnation. Therefore it seems like this ruling could easily be referenced to actually strike down policies of credential inflation, in almost exactly the same phrasing that many critics here are putting forward. Quoting from the Griggs vs. Duke Power Co. judgement (1971):

      On the record before us, neither the high school completion requirement nor the general intelligence test is shown to bear a demonstrable relationship to successful performance of the jobs for which it was used. Both were adopted, as the Court of Appeals noted, without meaningful study of their relationship to job performance ability. Rather, a vice-president of the Company testified, the requirements were instituted on the Company's judgment that they generally would improve the overall quality of the workforce.

      The evidence, however, shows that employees who have not completed high school or taken the tests have continued to perform satisfactorily, and make progress in departments for which the high school and test criteria are now used...

      The facts of this case demonstrate the inadequacy of broad and general testing devices, as well as the infirmity of using diplomas or degrees as fixed measures of capability. History is filled with examples of men and women who rendered highly effective performance without the conventional badges of accomplishment in terms of certificates, diplomas, or degrees. Diplomas and tests are useful servants, but Congress has mandated the common sense proposition that they are not to become masters of reality.

  • by ModernGeek ( 601932 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @02:48PM (#55621181)

    People with degrees start life later, and often times with a lot of debt. They are organized in the most traditional sense, and will probably be buying a home a few years after graduation. This debt load makes mobility hard, and the chances that the person is living paycheck-to-paycheck are a lot higher. However, unlike someone with less earning power living paycheck-to-paycheck, the person with the degree will have a higher chance of having more to lose. You want the employee that needs you, not the one that will just wander off and say fuck-all when they're pissed at you the employer; they don't have anything, much less anything to lose, so why put up with you? The college grad has a credit score, mortgage, car, and family to protect.

    • by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @04:09PM (#55621575) Journal

      There's no question that the employer-employee relationship is unbalanced, with power mostly in the hands of the employer. But the counter-argument is that, degree or not, people jump from one job to another in order to advance their career. And that has become much easier to do in the past couple of decades, with job websites like monster and careerbuilder, and networking services like linkedin.

      Changing from one employer to another is an onerous decision, one that you want to initiate on your own terms, not your employer's. But people can do it even if they have debts. Start by building up an emergency fund, with enough to cover about 3 to 6 months of your living expenses, in case you get laid off. Then -- start to save up for a down-payment on a house, if buying one makes sense. (It may not if your career requires you to be mobile.)

      TL/DR: From an employer's perspective, I don't think that a candidate with a 4-year degree is necessarily "stickier" than one without. It comes down to the liquidity of the market for the skills the candidate has.

  • There's alot of bullshit that comes out of college, but alot more that goes in. Also, can you finish a 4 year project?

    It's a sham how private education has jacked up the price so college is only available to upper class people, or with the burden of huge debt, but also, if you haven't hired for a position, you wouldn't believe the bald-faced bullshit hundreds of people will send you.
  • It's an example you can do something without giving up and that's it. They teach you almost nothing useful for most of college. Required basic classes and electives make up the majority of your schooling. Anything below masters is just a slightly better High School Diploma.
    • but as you work into masters and higher you start going up the Irv Tower and way from skills and stuff that are needed in the work place. The higher up the more skills that only really work good for Irv Tower.

      doctors have an association to keep there wages high so they can pay for an full 4 years of college + 4 years of an trade school after that and then some. Now office jobs don't pay $100K-150K so you can't drop $200K-$300K on student loans.

  • Interviews are expensive, you don't want to waste them interviewing poor candidates.

    If you're looking for really high end people most of them have a degree already. So the degree requirement just gets rid of extraneous candidates.

    If you're looking for lower to mid-range people requiring a degree filters out some qualified applicants, but there should be plenty left.

    That's not to say companies are hitting the right balance, our most talented hire by far had a degree is a field completely unrelated to softwar

    • by DamonHD ( 794830 )

      Can we just stick with "HR needs to be fixed"? Working with small local companies up to multinationals over 30+ years I have remained friends with essentially all the useful people that I ever met in HR! That is sadly rather few.

      Rgds

      Damon

  • College graduates carry student loan debt they need to service. That means they're more financially vulnerable and less able to walk away from their job. It's like a free ball and chain manacled to their wage slaves. Sure, it's doesn't stop them from leaving, but it's surely a hindrance.
  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @03:07PM (#55621279)

    tech schools are better then college for ready to work skills. To bad they got roped in to the college system and got an bad rap.

    • tech schools are better then college for ready to work skills. To bad they got roped in to the college system and got an bad rap.

      The nice part about a traditional college is that, regardless of what you may get your degree in, English 101 is required.

      • Good god this. Years back I was the "IT Manager" for a very small organization. I was alone but shortly added one person. The process of hiring someone for a position a bit higher than help desk was painful. Bad candidate after bad candidate walked through my door.

        I finally hired a woman who appeared to be a self taught, motivated individual who did not have a degree. She was fantastic. Personable, hard working, picked up on things quickly. She was a god send. Until I told her to send out an Email to

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @03:09PM (#55621289) Homepage Journal

    "Having a degree" proves nothing in specific, but statistically speaking, it may (vaguely) indicate a few things in general. You'd sure as heck better not depend on those vague indications, though.

    What requiring a degree (and various other tickmarks unrelated to actual skill and capacity) does, though, is frees businesses to (a) pretend they can't find viable candidates capable of the work, and (b) consequent to a, allows them fish in pools of skill that are much less expensive without alerting the stockholders.

    And of course, all of this facilitates and amplifies various other types of discrimination: age, health, arrest and conviction records, social media participation, political leanings, gender, religious outlook, etc.

    The current tech job market is truly a hellhole. I'm really glad I no longer outright depend on it, and I feel intensely sympathetic with those skilled and capable candidates who are trying to crack the corporate wall.

    The good news, I expect, will be that none of this will mean bupkis within a few decades, because I highly doubt there will be any jobs at all of this type remaining. Pervasive automation looks to be coming, and if/when it does, it's going to eat the need to be employed outright.

    • There really is no job that is safe from automation anymore. I quit technology and became a truck driver. In the next 10 or so years, a truck driver will be obsolete. For now, the money is good and the only way you'll get fired is if you have an accident. Trucking companies need me more than I need them.
  • ... then you indeed do not need any CS types in IT, because you do not have a productivity above zero anyways. In that situation, I can well understand at least hiring people that make these utterly pointless meetings more pleasant.

    Companies run on this paradigm probably hire consultants for any real work anyways, because they cannot do anything themselves anymore. A slight problem may arise when these consultants realize how indispensable they are and refuse to work for cheap. My last negotiation with a ma

  • Because of my age, I've had many colleagues and candidates who lacked degrees, especially advanced degrees. Most computing work was relatively new, and people strongly interested in it at the start of my career often did leave college to pursue the technologies that fascinated them. But over time, that technological fascination has become less critical. The interaction with managers, customers, and collaborators have come to matter more in the IT and developer world, and the educational opportunities have

  • College is really best for doctors and lawyers mainly, who need to have a high level of rote memorization functioning since they need to be able to react quickly in situations where fast decisions have to be made in life and death situations. This is the way things used to be. This is why college programs are designed to filter out most people except those with very high memory retention. And thus, colleges have 50-80% failure rates. For all other jobs, its overkill, its wasting years of peoples lives, it c

    • You were on to something talking about undercutting the work-force. When you devolved into saying this was a political game run which one side runs, you went off the rails.

      --
      "A day without sunshine is like, you know, night" -Steve Martin

  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @03:54PM (#55621497)

    Often enough if you apply they will still accept you without the mentioned degree as long as you show competency in said field. Bring a portfolio and show your previous professional works as well as personal works.

    • What's your plan for getting past the HR gatekeepers? If you don't fit the requirements of their scanning software, you're not going to get to talk to the decision makers. Ever.
  • ... is a filter for Wussies.

    That's doesn't mean you're a wuss if you didn't go to College. It's only more likely that you *aren't* a wuss if you did go to College and got a degree that actually means something, i.e. STEM.

    This is quite simply put, but has solid truth to it. A degree is only a small piece of the mosaic that is your career, but a significant one that can mean quite the difference.

  • I didn't see anyone else mention this, so here's my understanding.

    There are three common categories of employees are are exempt from standard overtime rules: supervisors, administrative, and professional.

    A college degree (usually expressed as degree or equivalent experience) is evidence that the position has professional requirements, and can qualify for a Fair Labor Standards Act [dol.gov] exemption from overtime rules [dol.gov].

  • I have never been asked for my degree, what university or my majors. All my customers care about is that I deliver quality and solve their problems.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      All my customers care about

      "Customer". Not "employer". You will be hired on contract to do the actual work. The person who will take credit for it is a member of the CEO's alma mater, plays golf at the executives' country club (but knows who to lose to) and has an expectation of a lifetime comfy position.

  • Basically, it's called a "cultural fit" which means they're just not comfortable with people different from themselves. They'll require degrees for everyone right down to the receptionist. And why not? Don't want any of the unwashed getting in, eww. They might have hobbies like hunting or fishing instead of cooking with argula or going to artisan cocktail bars.
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Don't want any of the unwashed getting in, eww.

      This.

      But culture varies from company to company. I did a short stint* for an outfit that liked to hire people with engineering degrees from midwest colleges. Where they were the first generation to have gone beyond high school (or possibly even completing it). People from blue collar and agricultural backgrounds that were easily impressed by making a few dollars an hour more than their parents did steering a plow.

      *I wasn't a very good fit culturally. My people came from a background of Harvard medical and

  • The person knows they have to get up, arrive on time and do what they are told. They have shown they can do this for years.
    The applicant can study, retain what they have studied and recall new and complex information over time to some set standard.
    Some long term, risky and unexpected health problems with the person could have been expected to show within the many years of the education system and its work load.
    A persons politics and personality should have developed to a stage that can be tracked. Is t
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      The person knows they have to get up, arrive on time

      Sadly, no longer part of a high school curriculum. The trend today is to let the teenagers sleep in because "Muh biological clock."

  • Once I was looking through job postings for a new job fresh out of college. A lot of the jobs I was looking at had completely bullshit requirements. An example was a Broadcom intern position that required a PHD and 6 years of industry experience, or a Masters and 12 years of industry experience.

    Another instance was a job posting for a programming language that had only existed for less than 2 years, but the job posting required 10 years experience.

    It was pointed out to me by a friend who has been in t
  • We tried removing the requirement for a degree - it opened up some extra good candidates, but it completely exploded the number of terrible applicants by about two orders of magnitude. Yes, flooded with over 100x crappy resumes, and we don't have a giant HR department to handle it (plus they'd bitch about having to stop chatting and playing their mobile phone games that much).

    And in the end we ended up hiring a guy with a degree, though there was a strong contender from the degree-less contingent. But it wa

  • by erp_consultant ( 2614861 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @06:22PM (#55622171)

    I have a degree and I have worked in IT for many years, both as a developer and someone that hires developers. As near as I can tell, a degree doesn't make one bit of difference. I have worked with smart people that had degrees and smart people that didn't. I have worked with people with advanced degrees that were as dumb as the day is long.

    I think it is a mistake to assume that people that did not attend college or finish college are less intelligent than people who did. One of the big problems is identifying talent. The gatekeepers - HR - are largely unskilled in my experience and often unable to identify talent. Simply excluding people without degrees dumbs it down. It makes their job easier. Relying on software that scans resumes for key words just compounds the problem. This leads to people gaming the system and tailoring resumes to trick the software into thinking they are the better candidate. People that can't or won't play the game are left on the sidelines.

    Higher education, particularly in some of the more prestigious schools, is little more than a giant country club. Some people are able to milk these sorts of relationships for their entire career. As the old saying goes, it's not what you know it's who you know. This holds true mainly in executive positions and less so in individual contributor positions. But there is a discrimination of sorts and a stigma attached to those without degrees.

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