Survey: More Job Recruiters Are Looking for Skills, Not Degrees

"Since 2019, the share of recruiter searches on LinkedIn that include a skills filter has grown by 25%."

Job listings that don’t mention any degree requirements have reached a massive 90% total, one new HR-related survey has found.

That’s good news for anyone that wants a fair playing field for a skills-based job position — although it might be a bit of a bummer for anyone with a little or a lot of student debt.

Formal educations have long served as barriers for many, and as an easy way for recruiters to cull their stack of applicants. Now, the job economy is moving in a different direction.

75% of Recruiting Professionals Say Skills-First Hiring Is on the Rise

LinkedIn issued the survey that uncovered the shift away from formal education signifiers.

The social platform’s Future of Recruiting report 2023 found that skills-based hiring is on the rise, and could be the future of job placement around the globe.

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LinkedIn recruiter survey chart.

Not only has the number of job ads in the UK that don’t mention a need for a degree jumped up 90% year over year in 2022, but the number of US job listings that don’t require a four-year degree hopped up to 20% from around 15% during the same period.

“Since 2019, the share of recruiter searches on LinkedIn that include a skills filter has grown by 25% — and today, recruiters are 50% more likely to search by skills than they are to search by years of experience.” ~LinkedIn

Businesses Must to Know What Skills Their Workers Actually Need

Part of a shift towards focusing on skills over certifications? Businesses need to make sure they know just what those skills are.

“Part of having a skills-first strategy is going beyond just hiring to ensure you’re looking at the larger picture. First, you need to understand the skills that your business needs. Then understand what skills your employees have, or that they can develop, and what skills you need to hire for so that you build your talent strategies accordingly.” ~Jennifer Shappley, VP, Global Talent Acquisition at LinkedIn

That’s easy to agree with — a full 94% of recruiting professionals did just that as part of the recent survey.

Not quite as many (84%) say that working towards understanding employee skills is “currently a priority” at their own company, however, suggesting that there’s a little more work to be done on this front.

A Healthy Job Market Might Be Pushing Recruiters Towards the Skills-Based Search

Tech jobs are still being slashed left and right, following a trend that first kicked off just about a year ago, but employment is actually pretty high in the overall economy.

That strong job market might even be the impetus behind the trend away from degree requirements: Recruiters need to fill job positions, so they’ve dropped some of the barriers that had been filtering out perfectly good workers.

As a result, some workers are finding jobs that would have otherwise passed them over. You don’t need a degree to see the economic benefits to taking a skills-based approach to job searching.

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Written by:
Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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