Latest trends underscore declining value of degrees in global job markets

Recent data from LinkedIn revealed that U.K. job postings not requiring a college degree increased 90% from 2021 to 2022.

American employers in both the private and public sectors have dropped degree requirements and are favoring applicants with desirable skills sets.

Once considered essential for landing a good job, college degrees have become increasingly less mandatory for various work opportunities.

According to new data from LinkedIn, the number of job postings that do not require a college degree rose 90% between 2021 and 2022 in the U.K. Instead, employers have begun preferring candidates with desirable skill sets over a traditional 4-year college degree.

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As noted by Fortune, this trend comes as major American technology firms like Google, Apple, and IBM have dropped certain degree requirements to attract diverse applicants with necessary job skills.

Fortune also notes that “recruiters globally are now five times more likely to search for new hires by skills over higher education.”

With the average total cost of attending college estimated from roughly $19,000 to almost $58,000, many students are getting turned off from the idea of pursuing 4-year degrees.

“It’s simple supply and demand; the more students who attend college, the less valuable a four-year degree becomes,” one student from the University of Wisconsin who wished to remain anonymous told Campus Reform.

Other students are choosing to go pursue work immediately after high school, forgoing higher education entirely.  

“From what I have seen in the workforce, employers in some fields tend to hire someone if they have hands-on experience over someone that has just spent time studying,” a 21-year-old electrical apprentice said to Campus Reform

Some organizations attribute the decline in employer’s decreasing value of a college degree as due to the perception that schools are no longer emphasizing important soft skills like critical thinking and debating.

A 2019 report by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that 3 out of 4 employers experienced difficulty with discovering new graduates with a job’s required soft skills. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns also helped accelerate younger generations’ decline in soft skills. 

As noted by Fortune, some young people in Japan have undertaken drastic measures like paying $55 an hour to relearn how to smile as a result of mandatory mask mandates for several years.

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In December 2022, Campus Reform covered instances of various states like Utah and Maryland discontinuing degree requirements to work in their state governments.

In January, Campus Reform reported that Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro removed similar degree requirements for most state jobs, citing a new model “focused on skill, competency, and practical experience rather than just educational background.”

Campus Reform contacted Fortune for comment and will update this article accordingly.