A Cengage’s Report Reveals that the Degree Stigma Causes Employment Crisis

IBL News | New York

A majority of 62% of U.S. employers are contributing to the talent crisis by requiring degrees for entry-level jobs, even though nearly half, 43%, admit that skills training credentials are more important than a degree when considering a candidate for a position.
In addition, more than a quarter, 26%, filter the candidate pool because “that’s the way it’s always been done.”

This is what the Cengage Group’s 2022 Employability Report states when analyzing what is causing the job crisis, as 65% of employers say that they are struggling to find talent in the U.S.

Only 38% of U.S. adults have a four-year degree. “These degree requirements and employers’ mixed messages about what’s actually needed for job eligibility caused half of all recent graduates not to apply for entry-level jobs because they didn’t feel qualified,” says the report after collecting data from 1,000 U.S. hiring decision-makers.

“While employers continue to implement outdated degree requirements, they seemingly contradict themselves by ranking skills training credentials (43 percent) and real-world experience (28 percent) more important than a two or four-year degree (26 percent) when considering an entry-level candidate.”

This outdated mindset and lack of focus on a candidate’s skills and experience are the main drivers of the talent crunch, according to the educational company.

Michael Hansen, CEO of Cengage Group, highlighted that “this outdated mindset and degree stigma is not only widening the labor gap, it’s costing businesses time and money and turning away potential talent.”

Nearly half of employers, 48%, don’t require a degree because they believe candidates can attain the proper skills through life experience, internships, skills training credentials, stackable credentials and hands-on experience outside of an institution.

“For a number of fields, including several in-demand industries like healthcare, technology and skilled trades, the future of work – thanks to the accelerating pace of technological change – will not depend only on a degree. It will instead focus on a candidates’ skills, experiences and potential to upskill or train in new fields,” said Hansen.

Only in IT, there are 3.85 million unfilled jobs in the U.S.

The report points out that today’s talent expects employers to invest in their continued learning and career development, and most employers, 77%, say free employer-sponsored education offerings are a differentiator for recruitment and retention in this tight labor market.

Three in four employers, 75%, offer employer-paid/employer-sponsored education opportunities, with 61% offering online education opportunities. Outside of providing education, 78% of employers say they offer the flexibility needed to pursue education opportunities.