Companies Relax Qualifications, Experience for more applicants

Companies relax qualifications, experience and even drug testing as applicants dry up in tight labor market

  • Data shows companies posting job ads without requiring prior experience 
  • America is seeing high numbers of open jobs and not enough workers
  • This is forcing companies to drop requirements for college degrees


American companies are removing requirements for experienced employees with college degrees in an effort to boost hiring and fill more jobs. Employers say they have relaxed standards in order to increase the work force of companies across a wide swath of industries, The Wall Street Journal reported. Some companies no longer insist on performing criminal background checks on prospective hires. A number of firms have also done away with drug testing.

There is an increase in the number of jobs which no longer require a high-school diploma or a higher degree. Companies are also offering college graduates in-house preparatory courses in fields ranging from software engineering, coding, and banking. An analysis of wanted ads from companies seeking to hire medical transcriptionists and preschool teachers shows they have been most aggressive in removing hiring barriers, according to the Journal. Experts say that it is more common for companies in cities like Dallas and Louisville, where unemployment is relatively lower, to lower barriers to jobs.

Retailers like Amazon and Walmart are also making the hiring process easier in order to staff their call centers and warehouses. Hasbro, a company that makes toys, once required a two-year degree from anyone wishing to be hired for an entry-level position at the firm. Now they dropped the requirement. It also divided four marketing jobs into eight lower-level positions that, when combined, perform the same functions and assist higher-level staff.

Terminix, one of the largest pest control companies in the world, now says it is ‘preferred’ that applicants have college degrees. This is a reversal of its policies after the 2008 recession hit, when it required would-be hires to have a college degree. Bank of America, which has 7,500 job openings worldwide, requires degrees for less than 10 per cent of those positions.

During the first six months of 2018, 30 per cent of job postings specified a minimum requirement of a college degree.That number represents a 2 per cent drop from 2017, according to labor-market research company Burning Glass Technologies. In 2012, jobs requiring college degrees were at 34 per cent. The firm analyzed some 15 million ads on job sites like Indeed and Craigslist.

Companies are also less likely to require that entry-level applicants have at least two years of prior experience. During the first half of 2018, 23 per cent of entry-level jobs required previous experience. In 2012, the figure was 29 per cent. The labor market is as tight as it has been in decades, with more jobs open than people willing to fill them.

U.S. job openings surged to a record high in March, suggesting that a recent slowdown in hiring was probably the result of employers having difficulties finding qualified workers.

Government data from earlier this month showed that more American workers voluntarily quit their jobs in May, a sign of confidence in the labor market that economists say will soon boost wage growth.

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple and Starbucks began to hand out company shares to their employees. The companies are doing this in order to improve their rate of retention and dissuade employees from looking for work elsewhere. In its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, the Labor Department said the number of workers leaving jobs of their own free will increased 212,000 to 3.3 million. That lifted the quits rate one-tenth of a percentage point to 2.4 percent, the highest since April 2001.

The rise in the quits rate, which policymakers and economists view as a measure of job market confidence, bolsters expectations that wage gains will accelerate this year.

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