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Companies With Job Openings Are Cutting Degree Mandates

64% of hiring managers say the bachelor’s degree requirement was eliminated to increase applicants.

A majority of hiring managers (53%) said in the past year their company eliminated the requirement for a bachelor’s degree in some or all positions where that degree is not essential, according to a new survey from

Of the companies that eliminated the bachelor’s degree requirement, 60% say they did so for entry-level roles, 57% did for midlevel positions, and 33% did for senior-level positions.

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 job applicants.

“With two open job openings for every job seeker in this market, companies are at war for talent,” said Stacie Haller, chief career advisor at “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.”

Other reasons why the college degree requirement was eliminated include to create a more diverse workforce (58%) and that there are other ways to gain skills (59%), with more than three-quarters of hiring managers noting that their company is likely to favor experience over education.

The vast majority of companies test candidates in the interview process, according to the survey. 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.,” Haller said.

“Work experience and some testing in the hiring process can demonstrate that a candidate has these skills just as well,” she continued. “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.”

The survey also found that 54% of hiring managers say their company currently offers apprenticeships, and 23% said their company likely will by the end of the year. They do so to ensure workers develop the right skills (56%), increase productivity as well as to increase worker retention (54%), minimize training costs (43%), and lower recruitment costs (37%).

Keeping workers is a challenge, as nearly half of respondents say attrition is a problem at their company.

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

  • Software: 70%
  • Information: 65%
  • Health care and social assistance: 62%
  • Finance and insurance: 61%
  • Education: 49%
  • Retail: 46%
  • Construction: 39%
  • Hotel and food services: 39%

Nearly 1,000 hiring managers participated in the survey commissioned by and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish on Jan. 26, 2023.