There was a time when college credentials held more weight in hiring than they do today. Fresh from commencement, graduates would often have more chances of obtaining a job than someone with commensurate experience. But today, particularly in the field of information technology – and especially in the private sector – skills are beginning to outweigh education. Companies are rethinking hiring habits and how they evaluate and hire employees.
Historically, degrees had been a proxy for certain capabilities. In the rapidly changing tech industry, however, companies are taking a closer look at candidates who have deep practical experience even if they don’t have a degree. For example, a prospect with four years of real-world software-development or system-administration experience might find it easier to compete for a position than a candidate who has a four-year degree and no experience.
In rethinking their hiring habits, recruiters must also consider how an employee will fit within a company’s corporate culture. An IT professional with experience is likely to need less support from their peers to be brought up to speed than a new college graduate. This makes for a smoother transition and onboarding experience, and less strain on the company’s workforce.
The technology sector, in particular, has a high rate of turnover, as professionals are often engaged through finite-duration contract jobs, and employers are constantly competing for skilled workers. From the standpoint of both return on investment and productivity, it’s critical to minimize the time it takes to onboard, train, and offboard an employee.
As recruiters and human resources professionals strive to make the hiring process more efficient and cost-effective, many are relying on artificial intelligence to take a first look at incoming resumes. AI models can pick up skill-specific keywords, which makes recruitment more effective. College degrees become almost irrelevant – or are at least weighted differently. Relevant skills diminish the importance of a degree as a singular criteria.
While some industries will benefit from requiring a four-year (or longer) degree, others – such as information technology – are attuned to demonstrated, relevant skills. On the bleeding edge of technology, time is of the essence, skills are quickly rendered obsolete and workers have to keep their skills sharp with real-life experience. A worker who has shown they can do the job right now brings special value to the table.
Employers and their recruiters should re-evaluate their own hiring protocols, deciding whether skills or schooling should be weighted more heavily during recruitment. The decision might mean the difference between a costly and inefficient hire who is saddled with increasingly exorbitant student-loan debt and an easily onboarded and valuable employee who doesn’t need the additional compensation to service their debt.
Rethinking your hiring habits? You might want to consider contingent labor. Contact us to find out how PeopleCaddie can help.