- Utah will no longer require a bachelor’s degree for most state government jobs, Gov. Spencer Cox announced Dec. 13.
- Ninety-eight percent of state executive branch jobs do not require a degree. Hiring managers and committees are instead instructed to consider comparable experience as “equal to educational qualifications at every step in the evaluation and recruiting process,” according to the announcement.
- “Degrees have become a blanketed barrier-to-entry in too many jobs,” Cox said. “Instead of focusing on demonstrated competence, the focus too often has been on a piece of paper. We are changing that.”
Utah follows in the footsteps of other states and private companies that have pivoted away from requiring four-year degrees to fill certain jobs.
Maryland, for example, announced in March that it would drop the degree requirement for thousands of jobs and instead ensure pipelines were in place for job seekers “skilled through alternative routes,” such as apprenticeships, boot camps, military service and other forms of on-the-job training. The state teamed up with Opportunity@Work to help close the opportunity gap.
President Joe Biden has also expressed support for employers taking a skills-first approach to hiring. But employers have struggled to adapt to the change, despite largely agreeing that real-world experience and skills training may be more important than degrees, Cengage survey results released in July showed.
Hesitation may be due in part to questions over the value of credentials, Cengage said. While employers tend to agree that degrees aren’t necessarily reliable signals for the right skills, many rely on them because it is what’s always been done, Morning Consult survey results showed. But companies can take steps toward a skills-first approach by fostering an openness to the conversation within their organizations, one former recruiter told HR Dive.