It’s been reported that more and more companies are eliminating degree requirements in order to attract talent.

To find out the extent to which this is the case, in January, surveyed 1,000 U.S. hiring managers.

Key findings:

  • 53% of hiring managers say their company eliminated the requirement for a bachelor’s degree for some roles in the past year
  • 64% say the reason for removing requirement was to increase the number of applicants
  • 76% say they are likely to favor experience over education
  • Majority of hiring managers say company doesn’t see value in certificate programs, associate degrees, online degrees, or boot camps
  • 77% of companies are currently offering apprenticeships or plan to by the EOY
  • 46% say attrition is a problem

One-third of companies that eliminated college degree requirements did so for senior-level roles

Overall, 53% of hiring managers say in the past year their company eliminated the requirement for a bachelor’s degree in some or all roles where a bachelor’s degree is not essential.

Of those who eliminated the requirement for a bachelor’s degree, 60% say they did so for entry- level roles, while 57% say for mid-level positions and 33% for senior-level positions.

Some industries are more likely to have removed the requirement for a bachelor’s degree this year than others.

Below is a look at the percentage of hiring managers, in industries surveyed with at least 40 respondents, who say their company eliminated a bachelor’s degree requirement for roles in the past year.

  • Construction – 39%
  • Education – 49%
  • Finance and Insurance – 61%
  • Health Care and Social Assistance – 62%
  • Hotel and Food Services – 39%
  • Information – 65%
  • Retail – 46%
  • Software – 70%

Top reason was to increase number of applicants

When asked why their company eliminated the requirement for a bachelor’s degree, 64% of hiring managers say it was to increase the number of applicants.

Additionally, 58% of hiring managers say the company removed the requirement to create a more diverse workforce, and 59% say it was eliminated because the company believes there are other ways to gain skills.

According to Chief Career Advisor Stacie Haller, the move to eliminate a bachelor’s degree requirement is not surprising.

“With two open job openings for every job seeker in this market, companies are at war for talent,” says Haller.

“We are hearing about layoffs in certain sectors, but in many others, companies are vying for the same candidates to fill open roles. The advent of the changing workplace with remote and hybrid options have opened up more opportunities for job seekers. A college degree requirement may eliminate many great candidates for entry into an organization.”

76% of hiring managers say experience is favorable to education

More than three quarters of hiring managers say their company is likely to favor experience over education.

However, education is still seen as valuable, and 63% of hiring managers say their company pays for further education. Additionally, 72% of hiring managers say that when evaluating candidates, the company believes having a bachelor’s degree is ‘very valuable’ (32%) or ‘valuable’ (41%).

When asked about other degree types or forms of education, however, hiring managers were much less likely to say they are considered valuable. Only 24% of hiring managers say their company sees value in certificate programs, 23% in associate degrees, 16% in online degrees, and 8% in boot camps.

2 in 3 companies have candidates take an assessment

The vast majority of companies test candidates in the interview process. Overall, 66% have candidates take an assessment to test hard skills, while 64% have applicants complete a test assignment.

“The majority of what one learns in order to obtain a college degree is not actually used in the workplace. With the exception of professional services such as accounting and law, the value companies see in a candidate having a bachelor’s degree is evidence that the applicant is able to learn, meet deadlines, etc.,” says Haller

“Work experience and some testing in the hiring process can demonstrate that a candidate has these skills just as well. Plus, when it comes to a new job, many of the skills needed to perform well require training once hired anyway. Companies are now realizing they can train for the skills they need, and the degree requirement just needlessly eliminates strong candidates.”

77% companies already do or plan to offer apprenticeships by EOY

Nearly 8 in 10 hiring managers say their company currently offers apprenticeships (54%) or will by the end of the year (23%).

The reason most say they are offering apprenticeships is to ensure workers develop the right skills (56%).

Additionally, 55% of hiring managers say apprenticeships help to increase productivity as well as increase worker retention (54%), minimize training costs (43%), and lower recruitment costs (37%).

Keeping workers is a challenge for most companies. Nearly half say attrition is a problem at their company.

“Apprenticeships provide the training needed for a specific job and often provide way more valuable hands-on training and experience than a college degree. More and more organizations are working on specific training programs and accreditation for their roles, such as Google. Companies are focusing on creating and developing the talent they need, while also providing learning opportunities to attract talent,” says Haller.


All data found within this report derives from a survey commissioned by and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish on January 26, 2023. In total, 1,000 U.S. hiring managers were surveyed, using a convenience sampling method. Appropriate respondents were found through demographic criteria and screening questions.

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