2020 Jun 29, 12:15pm
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On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to fill job vacancies based on merit, rather than require a minimum level of education for candidates seeking open positions. The order rightly recognizes that a job candidate with several years of relevant experience may be just as qualified, if not more so, than one who has collected a stack of advanced degrees.“Employers adopting skills- and competency-based hiring recognize that an overreliance on college degrees excludes capable candidates and undermines labor-market efficiencies,” the order reads. “Currently, for most Federal jobs, traditional education — high school, college, or graduate-level — rather than experiential learning is either an absolute requirement or the only path to consideration for candidates without many years of experience.” ...The administration’s move strikes a blow against credential inflation, the phenomenon of increasing education requirements for job openings even though the skills required to do those jobs have not meaningfully changed. A 2017 Harvard Business School report found that postings for dozens of common jobs now typically request bachelor’s degrees, even though a majority of people currently working in those jobs do not have a college education. Examples of jobs that have suffered from credential inflation include lower-level managers, secretaries and administrative assistants, and child care workers.Credential inflation shuts out experienced, qualified job candidates who are perfectly capable of filling certain roles simply because they lack the right piece of paper. It also deprives employers of a pool of talent. Most perniciously, it convinces young jobseekers that they need a bachelor’s degree or even a graduate degree to succeed in the labor market, forcing them to spend tens of thousands of dollars and years of their lives pursuing unnecessary credentials.