The labor shortage is a long-term trend, not a short-term problem. This shortage is caused by smaller cohorts of new young workers due to the collapse of the fertility rate.
Many organizations have responded by eliminating college degree requirements:
Google and 150 other companies use the tech giant’s online college-alternative program to train and hire entry-level workers, reports The Wall Street Journal. And according to CNBC, IBM doesn’t ask for a bachelor’s degree for half of its U.S. roles.
Bank of America also doesn’t request college degrees for most of its entry-level jobs, while Delta says degrees for pilot applicants are “preferred” but not required.
And applicants for thousands of government jobs in the state of Maryland no longer need a bachelor’s degree — instead, they can submit any relevant work experience, military training or other educational certificates.
Source: ‘It’s a bit like musical chairs right now’: Big employers like Google, IBM no longer require college degrees in a tight job market, but experts warn that may not last
To the above also add the state of Utah and many airlines, which have dropped degree requirement for air crews.
During the population expansion caused by the temporary baby boom, college enrollments grew ever larger – we created an entire academic industry pushing everyone to college.
- In 1965, half of U.S. adults had not graduated from high school!
- Today, about 42% of the young cohort have a 4-year degree.
- About 42% of high school grads will enroll in a 4-year program in their graduating year, and about 20+% will enroll at a community college.
The college degree became a filter for employers to use in choosing among job applicants.
Now, the situation is reversed, and power is back to the suppliers of labor. This came about because – for about 50 years – the U.S. fertility rate has been below replacement level and is now falling even further. The US population increased during this time due (1) lowering of the death rate, (2) childbearing age women having children (but half as many as prior generations), and (3) immigration. Immigration is now the largest component of US population growth.
The US proposes to solve its labor shortage through importing skilled workers. But dozens of other countries say the same thing. There will not be sufficient numbers of persons willing to relocate to solve this problem.
Consequently, there will be a reduction in demand for college degrees, long term. What we just went through was a short-term anomaly in history and is not coming back.
Note – obviously there are many high skilled positions that require extensive education and training. These will continue to require a college degree. But the long-time reality is many, maybe most college grads take jobs that did not require a college education. The degree was needed only to look better than other competitors for the same job.