January 2024
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A Degree of Change

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Retail giant Walmart has joined the ranks of organizations such as IBM, Accenture, Bank of America, Dell, Delta Airlines, and Google that no longer require a college degree to apply for many corporate positions. Citing the increasing cost of attending college—the Education Data Initiative reports that US student loan debt has eclipsed $1.7 trillion, with the average borrower owing around $40,000—Walmart has rewritten hundreds of job descriptions to accommodate applicants without higher education.

"While degrees should be part of the equation and in some cases even required, there are many roles where a degree is simply unnecessary, including at corporate headquarters," write Lorraine Stomski, Walmart senior vice president of associate learning and leadership, and Julie Gehrki, vice president of philanthropy, in a company blog post.


The move makes sense. The Education Data Initiative states that college tuition has increased a staggering 748 percent since 1963. State governments in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Utah have made similar education changes for jobs in the public sector during the past few years.

Removing degree requirements could also help existing employees outside of corporate positions. The 2.1 million existing Walmart associates no longer must jump through such hoops and can expect promotion based on merit instead.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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