More Signal, Less Noise
Recruiters and hiring managers--and entire organizations for that matter--are putting less and less stock in college degrees when evaluating a candidates fitness for a job. That is because there is more noise than signal in the college degree "message." It is difficult to discern what specific knowledge skills or abilities someone has because they earned a degree in such-an-such field. Even reviewing someone's transcript only reveals the names of the classes they took (and the grades they earned), not the competencies that were taught and expected to be demonstrated by students in those courses.
In an article I wrote for EDUCAUSEreview, I explore this topic in more detail.
Here's the introduction:
This is hard to admit for an erstwhile academic, but outside the halls of academe, the widely accepted raison d'être of colleges and universities is to produce graduates with
degrees. A degree signals that an individual is prepared to pursue related graduate training or employment in given fields. That's the common assumption, anyway.
Degrees have long been deeply entrenched in the job market and economy. In some job markets, however, degrees are either not required or are insufficient. To meet the needs of these markets, various nondegree postsecondary credentials have emerged. For many adults and their employers in these sectors, a nondegree credential signals employability and job readiness in a way that is more concrete and clear than with traditional academic degrees. This clarity is helping drive the increase in these "alternative" postsecondary credentials and the organizations offering them. [KEEP READING]