Executive Order Emphasizes Skills over Degrees for Federal Jobs

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek July 1, 2020
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White House exec order

​President Donald Trump signed an executive order June 26 that directs the federal government to take the emphasis off whether a job candidate has a college degree and instead assess an applicant's job skills. Some large employers in the private sector have already adopted this point of view.

Under the presidential order,
the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is to revise qualifications for jobs with the U.S. government within the next six months. A federal agency may prescribe a minimum educational requirement "only when a minimum educational qualification is legally required to perform the duties of the position in the state or locality where those duties are to be performed," according to the order.

SHRM Online has collected the following articles on requiring a college degree for a job when hiring.   

Executive Order on Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates
This order directs important, merit-based reforms that will replace degree-based hiring with skills- and competency-based hiring. In doing so, it will hold the civil service to a higher standard—one that ensures the individuals most capable of performing the roles and responsibilities required of a specific position are those hired for that position, and one that is more in line with the principles on which the merit system rests.
(The White House

Trump Signs Order Prioritizing Job Skills over College Degree in Government Hiring
college degree will no longer give Americans a leg up when seeking some jobs with the federal government. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday that will overhaul the government's hiring practices so that a job applicant's skills will be given priority over a college degree.
(USA Today)   

Skills over Degrees in Federal Hiring
In signing an executive order revamping how the federal government does hiring, President Trump took aim at the necessity of having a college degree. In ordering that the government move away from requiring that applicants have degrees, Trump said he wants to make it easier for those without a higher education to get federal jobs.

But higher education leaders said they didn't take the move as a blow. The government still will want applicants who have the skills they get from going to college.
(Inside Higher Ed) 

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Getting Talent Back to Work]


When Degree Requirements Don't Matter
Speed of hire aside, there are myriad reasons that making non-degree-specific hires is a good idea. Diversity is one of the most significant benefits, said Jeff Hyman, an adjunct professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and author of Recruit Rockstars (Lioncrest Publishing, 2017).
(SHRM Online

Elon Musk: A College Degree Isn't Required for a Job at Tesla
Students assume that getting a four-year degree—and taking on the thousands of dollars of student-loan debt that comes along with it—is the only way to get your foot in the door at top companies such as Tesla, Apple and Netflix.

But that isn't always true. Even the CEO of Tesla doesn't think you need it.
(Business Insider

15 More Companies That No Longer Require a Degree
Google and Hilton are two of the companies that realize book smarts don't necessarily equal strong work ethic, grit and talent. Whether you have your GED and are looking for a new opportunity or charting your own path beyond the traditional four-year college route, here are 15 companies that have said they do not require a college diploma for some of their top jobs.

"When you look at people who don't go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings. And we should do everything we can to find those people," said Laszlo Bock, Google's former senior vice president of people operations, in January.
(Glassdoor)





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