November 2018
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TD Magazine

Word Wiz: Downskilling

Thursday, November 1, 2018

No degree? No problem. Thanks to a tight labor market, the downskilling of educational and credentialing requirements for open positions in high-demand industries has been gaining momentum.

According to analysis from Burning Glass Technologies, job openings requiring a degree fell more than 2 percent in the past five years, and the amount asking for more than three years of experience dropped more than 5 percent in the same time. In real numbers, that means 1.2 million jobs could be open to less-experienced candidates, in addition to the 1 million jobs added in 2017 that included the tag "no experience necessary."


Notably, IBM has shifted away from credential-based hiring for specific positions, reporting that nearly 15 percent of its new hires in the United States don't hold a four-year degree. Likewise, the Wall Street Journal reports that less than 10 percent of Bank of America's 7,500 job openings require a degree.

Positions in cybersecurity, cloud computing, and data analytics are prime examples where sharp talent shortages are leading to downskilling. Instead, companies are looking to fill gaps from a wider applicant pool, including high school partnerships and apprenticeship and boot-camp style programs.

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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