Future of Work: The best person for the job may not have a degree

Noorjit Sidhu, future of work investor at Plug & Play, reached out after seeing my LinkedIn post about joining Catalyte and how reskilling ties to my parents’ immigration story. He wanted to connect over the future of work. We jumped on a fun phone call and Noorjit followed-up with a list of questions for me. Being the (proud) nerd I am, I’m excited to write up my answers and share them with you in a Future of Work Series. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

NS: Are there particular professions/skills you think the removal of employer regulatory barriers would be most useful for, if any?

LT: I’d say that removing four-year college degree requirements for middle-skill jobs, roles that require don’t require college-level skills would be most beneficial to both companies searching for talent and individuals searching for jobs.

Employers across most (if not all) sectors require four-year college degrees for middle-skill jobs. This practice, also known as degree inflation, forces recruiters to screen out qualified job candidates. And, according to Accenture’s Dismissed by Degrees report, degree inflation is causing employers to close off access to about 67% of the U.S. workforce — those without a four-year college degree.

The four-year college degree requirement for middle-skill jobs has to go. And it would make the most sense to start with sectors that are at high-risk of degree inflation, which according to Harvard Business School analysis, includes: manufacturing, retail trade, hospitality, educational services, public administration, technical services, finance, insurance and more.

The benefit of addressing degree inflation is clear for job-hunters. For employers, the benefits include reducing human capital costs (e.g., extended time-to-fill driven by degree requirements, a smaller pool of applicants, rejection of qualified individuals, higher salary expectations, under-utilization, less workforce diversity and a higher likelihood of leaving for a competitor).

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About Lolita Taub
Lolita Taub is the chief of staff at Catalyte, a TEDx speaker and an AI enthusiast, with a venture capital and enterprise tech background. She is a Venture Partner at NexGen, an LP at Portfolia’s Enterprise Fund and a former VC at Backstage Capital and K Fund. Lolita holds nearly a decade of enterprise B2B software, hardware and services sales experience at IBM, Cisco Systems and in Silicon Valley. She has a BA from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the IE Business School. Lolita has been recognized for her work on Forbes, Inc.com, The Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.com among other publications.

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