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Tip of the Week: Skills Over School

February 12, 2024, The Association

A new study shows a growing hiring trend to eliminate a long-standing requirement. Where does your org stand?

Required: Bachelor’s degree in related field

In the animal welfare sector, we’ve been talking about eliminating formal education requirements, particularly for entry-level positions, for a while now. We’ve heard and read Nonprofit AF’s Vu Le reminding us that this “pervasive and inequitable hiring practice” shouldn’t be our default. “If we want to create a just society,” says Vu, “we have to be more thoughtful of our hiring practices, because this formal education requirement hurts real people and perpetuates inequity.” Vu clearly explains all the reasons why here.

New research conducted through supports this trend. quotes professor Diane Gayeski, PhD., who shares, “Due to the expense of attending college, earning a bachelor’s degree is generally more difficult for people from traditionally marginalized groups and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.”

Continues Gayeski, “If a student’s parents didn’t attend college or if they are from outside the U.S., it can be much more difficult to know how to navigate applying to colleges and finding scholarships and other resources. Eliminating a bachelor’s degree can open jobs up to individuals who weren’t able to attend college.”

According to’s November 2023 survey of 800 employers:

  • 45% of companies plan to eliminate bachelor’s degree requirements for some positions in 2024
  • 55% of companies eliminated bachelor’s degree requirements in 2023
  • 70% say they eliminated bachelor’s degree requirements to create a more diverse workforce
  • 4 in 5 employers value experience over education when evaluating job candidates
  • Two-thirds of employers have candidates complete test assignments

Have you reassessed this requirement at your organization? (To be clear, this does not refer to specialized positions, such as legal and veterinary professionals.) And if you feel uncomfortable removing it altogether, consider:

Required: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent education or experience

Learn More

Vu Le on “Requiring formal education as a default”
Article: “Nearly half of companies plan to eliminate bachelor’s degree requirements in 2024”

Photo: Pexels

About The Association
The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement is a cohort of leaders on a mission to champion, advance, and unify the animal welfare profession.

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