Employment Brand: Must Be Educated For A Job On Our Ignorant Team

For as long as I can remember (probably as long as they've been in existence) one way I've kept tabs on the job market and trends in general is through active job alerts from various job boards.

I know, #NerdAlert right? 

Whether I'm looking or not, I periodically look at posted jobs that come through to see what's up, who's hiring, and of course wonder about the companies posting the same opening every few weeks or month after month. 

I clicked on a posting earlier today for a technical recruiter. It was a rather short ad for a short-term contract role. The main thing that stood out was this: 

"Candidates without a college education will not be considered for this role regardless of years of experience."

While it is not uncommon for employers to prefer degreed applicants, I always find it interesting that there's almost never any explanation about how having a degree pertains to the actual job itself.

It's especially puzzling when a specific major is not mentioned or a list of several "different" majors is shown.

Usually the education bullet looks like this:

  • Bachelor's degree in business, communications or psychology or similar discipline is required.

Huh? Similar to what? And, what do any of those have to do with each other or anything else shown on the posting?

Essentially these employers are saying they care that person studied something, but not so much on the caring what it was that they studied.

If having a degree IS necessary, then shouldn't the subject-matter specialty matter? And, shouldn't the person considering whether to apply be able to understand exactly how a degree of any kind would matter? 

I appreciate education, professional development and continuous learning as much as the next person, but I've never found any evidence that those with degrees are in any way better at their jobs than those without degrees. 

Let's say I (or someone else with a degree) was interested in applying, but decided: you know, I'm not sure I want to work somewhere with a bunch of elitist snobs advertising that they use arbitrary criteria to automatically rule out a huge segment of the potential applicant pool. 

Not only are they intentionally eliminating one group, they are quite possibly inadvertently turning off anyone else that doesn't believe education eradicates ignorance. In fact, they are proving that it doesn't and simultaneously creating a less than intelligent employer branding message. 

What do you think? 

Views: 235

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on February 27, 2015 at 7:24pm

Here's another example. This is so poorly written and offering such a poor pay rate (some fast food places around here pay more than that) I can't believe they have the nerve to REQUIRE a degree for this "excited" (yes, excited) position. 

Compensation: $12.00 to $12.00 per hour

Do you have your Bachelor's Degree and have wanted to get your foot in the door into Human Resources? (REMOVED AGENCY NAME) is currently seeking a Recruiting Coordinator to join our client's growing Human Resources team in Irvine. This is a terrific opportunity to get your foot in the door with a well-known corporation in Orange County. As the Recruiting Coordinator, you'll be responsible for assisting a team of recruiters with scheduling interviews and reviewing resumes. To be considered for this excited Recruiting Coordinator position, you must have a Bachelors degree and at least 2 years of administrative experience. Apply today at (AGENCY WEBSITE) Bachelor's Degree 2 Years of Experience

Comment by John Sundholm on March 2, 2015 at 11:36am

I could not agree more with this post. My opinion on this goes a step further: this practice is tantamount to discrimination. As this 2013 NYTimes article points out, a college degree is routinely required nowadays for entry-level positions like receptionists and clerk positions that require nothing more than so-called "soft skills" and common sense. To what end? A look at the statistics of who goes to--and especially who finishes--college in this country should give a pretty good impression of the kind of social and cultural effects this has on the workplace and the economy. The implications are troubling to say the least.

I'm new to the world of HR and recruiting, but in my short time spent so far, I've been pretty appalled by just how unfairly laid the playing fields are for even the most menial positions. I come across resume after resume bearing useless Bachelor's degrees from for-profit "universities" that end up in the trash--for receptionist positions. The blame for this is routinely pushed onto these bait-and-switch "schools" for their predatory practices--and it should be--but no one seems to ever mention the far more insidious piece of the puzzle, which companies and management requiring a Bachelor's degree to sit and answer a telephone for $10/hr (if you're lucky) creating the demand for for-profit universities' supply in the first place. It's not only dumb and unnecessary but, in the big-picture context, unethical.

Thank you, Kelly, for speaking out on this.

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