June 14, 2023

Why College Degrees Shouldn’t Be Required For Entry Level Jobs & Unveiling the Truth Behind ”Highest Paying Jobs for College Grads” (DF#101)

Why College Degrees Shouldn’t Be Required For Entry Level Jobs

And Unveiling the Truth Behind ”Highest Paying Jobs for College Grads"

In this episode, we're diving deep into thought-provoking topics that challenge conventional wisdom when it comes to education and job prospects.

First, we delve into the fascinating evolution of job requirements and how college degrees transformed from a luxury to a near-necessity in the professional world.

Then, we discuss why a college degree shouldn't be necessary for every job, especially at the entry-level. We'll delve into the benefits of skills-based hiring, the changing landscape of work, and the pitfalls of overly relying on credentials.

Finally, we dive into numerous articles about “high paying jobs for workers with (or without) college degrees”. We’ll see how accurate those are and learn which high-paying jobs actually require a college degree.

Tune in to this eye-opening episode of the Degree Free Podcast as we challenge the status quo and explore the changing dynamics of college and employment.

Join us as we strive to empower individuals and encourage a more inclusive and nuanced perspective on Degree Free career development!

Enjoy the episode!

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Links and Notes from the Episode

Episode Transcript
Please enjoy this transcript or our episode!

Please note the transcript may have a few errors. We're human. It can be hard to catch all the errors from a full length conversation. Enjoy!

Ryan [00:00:00]:

With the proliferation of the internet and with how cheap education actually is, because college does not equal education. You can be very, very well educated and never have stepped foot on a college campus ever in your life. No rules. You're listening to Degree Free on the Degree Free Network, where we talk about how to teach yourself, get work, and make money. No degree needed. Here are your hosts, Ryan and Hannah Maruyama. Maruyama aloha, folks. And welcome back to Degree Free, where we teach you how to get hired without a college degree. We are your hosts, Ryan and Hannah Maruyama. It is great to have you back on the podcast.

Hannah [00:00:45]:

Welcome back. Welcome back. As always, folks, ryan and I are stoked to have you with us here today.

Ryan [00:00:49]:

Let's just jump right into it. Today I wanted to talk about something that I promised on an episode a few months now back, I think, and it is going to be talking about the origination of how college degrees came to be, the standard of which companies use to validate skills.

Hannah [00:01:10]:

This is the story of how college became the measuring stick for hiring.

Ryan [00:01:13]:

Exactly. And I will link to everything that I'm talking about at Degreefree Co podcast for those people that are curious and want to read this for themselves. This is a look at a paper that analyzed this certain court hearing and court case and postulates that this is the reason why it has become this way. Now, I want to say at the very beginning that I have no idea if they're correct or not, but it makes sense. The argument that they lay it out makes sense to me at least. So I will link to everything that we talk about in the show notes for you to go and look at there. So this stems back to 1971 and the Griggs versus Duke Power Company. But going back even further than that to title seven of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Griggs sued Duke Power Company because they were discriminating against, or he alleged at the time that they were discriminating against him and black Americans and other minorities by requiring a high school diploma and to pass two different aptitude tests to get hired and to move up in the company. So in order to get a higher position, to get hired into these higher positions in a company, you needed to have a high school diploma and then pass these two aptitude tests. So that's what Griggs sued about in 1971, is that what they were doing violated title seven of 1964 Civil Rights Act. So that sets the stage for all of this, that it's about to go down anyway. What ends up happening is that they find out that, yes, the aptitude tests that they were giving out were discriminatory and they did discriminate against black Americans and people that did not have the same aptitude or access to that education and access to all of those resources that other people had access to. So what companies ended up having to do was they needed to figure out, okay, now that I can't give an aptitude test for my job roles, how can I measure what I need to measure? How can I validate that you have the skills that I want in an employee? So that's where these two that wrote this paper and I'll give you their names right now, brian O'Keefe and Richard Vetter, that is what they're postulating here and that's how it became. So what they started looking at was college degrees instead of the exact aptitude for that job. Like I said, it's not actually the exact aptitude of the job because apparently those aptitude tests that they were giving in 1971 didn't really have to do with the job and they were discriminatory and they weren't testing for actual things for that job. Surprisingly unsurprisingly, depending on how you look at it. This had consequences downstream that you wouldn't think of. And what the two authors of this paper end up getting to is that it didn't actually end discrimination, it actually increased discrimination. And now it went even more so against black Americans and minorities and all of those people that couldn't afford and just poor people in general that couldn't afford a college education. And now you have this standard that is almost unattainable for them in a responsible fashion without taking out debt. Especially now. Right back then it wasn't so bad, it wasn't as bad then as it is now because the cost of college wasn't as high. But especially nowadays it is so expensive to go to college and you are basically gatekeeping these jobs with a piece of paper that doesn't have relevance to the job anyway.

Hannah [00:05:05]:

So what they did essentially was they removed the discriminatory aptitude test and instead they put a paywall there that's equally as discriminatory, if not more so because it really just keeps people out unless they pay to play.

Ryan [00:05:18]:

Exactly. Whereas nowadays an aptitude test, with the proliferation of the internet and with how cheap education actually is, because college does not equal education, you can be very, very well educated and never have stepped foot on a college campus ever in your life. So you can go online and learn what you need to know to pass an aptitude test, but maybe you do not have enough money to go and get a college degree. And so inadvertently, or surprisingly, the antidiscriminatory case actually became the grounds for widespread discrimination. Even more so.

Hannah [00:05:58]:

Sounds about right. The government gets involved and everything's worse.

Ryan [00:06:02]:

So this was just very interesting. I always wanted to go back to where the beginning of how college degrees became the gold standard and how it was the gold standard for so many years. And according to my findings and according to the deep dive that I did, this is what I found and this is what made the most sense to me because I was just thinking to myself, how did every single company get on board with all of this? How did it happen? And my original thought was that one company did it and then they said, okay, well that makes sense, we'll do it too and then we'll do it and then we'll do it and then quickly it just spread. But this makes more sense. But at the end of the day, it was all about trying to validate skills and doing that maybe successfully at the time, but I can say now confidently that it's doing that unsuccessfully now because a lot of different companies are actually going back to the aptitude tests. Now you will see, especially if you go to a technical role, that you will get an aptitude test to see if you know how to do this. At the time when this came out, they really wanted to steer clear of it and I think just because it was such a divisive time and they didn't want to get sued. They didn't want to get sued and they didn't want to lose a bunch of money in lawyers fees and then the fees that you have to pay on top of it, the earnings or the winnings on top of that. So they just said nope, college degree is it. Now companies are going and they are creating their own aptitude tests that have to align especially with the role. So they have special teams that come up with these aptitude tests or they have a person that's actually doing the role that they are hiring for. They have that person create the test and come up with what that candidate needs to know.

Hannah [00:07:59]:

The craziest thing about this case is that Willie Griggs, the man who sued Duke Power for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, sued them for requiring a high school diploma. And the answer by the companies was to start requiring a college degree, which is just unbelievably. And the company's response, company's Collective, was to now start requiring a college degree which was even more selective and even more expensive, thus putting a wall between people who want jobs and can do them and just requiring credentials that really have no bearing on their performance in those jobs.

Ryan [00:08:33]:

Well, to be fair, it was a high school diploma and two aptitude tests. That's what he sued for.

Hannah [00:08:38]:

But the aptitude tests were not actually.

Ryan [00:08:40]:

About performance according to the Supreme Court. Yes, it was not. So it wasn't, but it wasn't though. So I'm just being fair about what he actually sued for. It was the aptitude test, two aptitude tests and the high school diploma. Although I agree with the sentiment of what you're saying.

Hannah [00:08:54]:

Yeah, I'd like to see the aptitude test. I wonder if those are public. I'm going to see if we can look for them.

Ryan [00:08:58]:

So yeah, to get back to the companies that are currently doing this now, if you're in a technical role you have gone through, and whether or not it's Excel or code this problem, figure out, show me how you can do this. Those are much more common now, and I think a lot of it has to do with just being so far removed from this court case. So it's not as in the pop culture, and it's not as dangerous to go and give aptitude tests, but also the material is much more relevant to the actual jobs. What happened in this 50 year period since 1971 to 2023, when we're making this episode, is that companies went and used the college degree requirement, and they found that it worked okay enough, I suppose. But then in the past 20 years or past ten years, the candidates that were coming out of college, they didn't know what they needed to know to get these jobs and to become effective at these jobs. So much so that these companies had to create these different tests, and they're willing to get sued for not having compliant aptitude tests. So much so because the crop that is coming out of college and their normal recruitment routes are so terrible. So that was just a really interesting thing that I found that I really wanted to dig into another example of these tests. Pre employment are going to be behavioral tests. Those are allowed. And so if you ever especially like customer service roles or sometimes marketing roles, things that need a high level of EQ, I guess they will give personality tests and things of that nature, like Myers Briggs or behavioral questions. What do you do when somebody slaps you in the face?

Hannah [00:10:49]:

I need to know. Yeah, this happens every day at our company.

Ryan [00:10:52]:

Yeah, exactly. A, you walk away. B you slap them back. C, you go back and tell your boss. Right. And everybody that has been in those types of soft skill, quote unquote, has done those types of assessments, and apparently those are completely legal. But I find that this was such an interesting thing because for so long, they used a college requirement, and it was working for long enough, or they didn't want to take the risk of getting sued for that long. But the results that they're getting nowadays are so crappy that they are now willing to take on that risk and give these aptitude tests out. And I think that that's where we are headed, actually. We are headed towards more aptitude tests. Yes. Should they be nondiscriminatory? Absolutely. They should only be focused on the things that are relevant to your jobs, like actually relevant to your job. If you are going to be working with Excel every day and you need to know a certain amount of Excel, then yes, taking an Excel test prior to that, I don't see the problem with it. But if you're having to deal with Excel every day and then tell me how much you know about Native American history or tell me what you know about Polish history. Those just doesn't it just doesn't matter. Doesn't make sense.

Hannah [00:12:22]:

Doesn't seem to be super useful. Yeah, but did you take your Art 1100 class? Don't care.

Ryan [00:12:29]:

Let me know your thoughts on this. Go to YouTube and give us a comment. Do you think that this is correct? Because I think that I do. This argument makes sense to me. Once again, I don't know if this is correct. I don't know if the correlation equals causation. I'm not sure. I'm not sure if we can tie it all back to 1971 in this one specific court case. But out of everything else that I was seeing, this makes the most sense to me because to have it mandated by the government that you can't do these discriminatory actions and then figuring out another way to discriminate against people, so.

Hannah [00:12:58]:

Now you're just legally discriminating using money.

Ryan [00:13:00]:

And so that makes the most sense to me. And that makes the most sense because it happened at such an accelerated rate, especially back then. They didn't have the internet. They weren't all connected. So how did everybody from the East Coast to the West Coast, how did all of those companies all come to the exact same decision? Is that we are going to have college degrees be the standard by which we set? Like I said, I thought it was just kind of organically and one company did it and then one company and one company one company, which could be true. I'm not sure but this sounds right to me. If you have another opinion, please let us know by leaving us a comment on YouTube.

Hannah [00:13:37]:

Definitely would be curious to see what people think because it definitely looks like that griggs decision made it harder for minority candidates to actually get jobs instead of helping them. If you want to hear more degree free, which why would you not, you're going to want to go over to degreefree co newsletter to sign up for our free weekly newsletter that is going to have degree free news. Ways that you can get jobs, skills that you may want to know are up and coming and valuable and just stuff that Ryan and I think is cool that you are going to want to know. So run on over and sign up for that. Let's jump right in to this absolutely amazing article I found by youthincmag.com. The title of this article is the highest paying Jobs You can Get Without a College degree. Are you ready for this list?

Ryan [00:14:19]:

Yes, I'm ready.

Hannah [00:14:20]:

Number one, massage therapist. Number two, vocational nursing. Number three, makeup artists. Number four, event management. Number five, yoga instructors. And number six, DJs. These are the highest paying jobs you can get without a college degree. Did you know that?

Ryan [00:14:39]:

What's the criteria here?

Hannah [00:14:40]:

I have no idea. I think the criteria is that whoever wrote this list was super papered and has never been outside. Because what's funny about this list is that I unfortunately do not have one of these jobs. And I think I'm just going to have to go put in my two weeks. Like, sorry, folks, I can't work here anymore. This is not acceptable. So I just thought that this is a really funny list, mostly because it says these are the highest paying jobs you can get without college degrees. And the simple fact is that you can get whatever job you want without a college degree. There are degree free CEOs off the top of my head. John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods. Dan Ike, the CEO of Spotify. Yon Kumb. The CEO of WhatsApp? Who was literally a janitor. But you'll notice that they have limited us to massage therapy, vocational nursing, makeup artists, event management, yoga instructors, and DJs. That's it. These are the highest paying jobs we can get. This is not looking down or criticizing these jobs because there are people that make really good money, make six figures doing these things. But it's just such a papered thing to do, to just put people into only these jobs and say, these are the highest paying things you can do. No. You can be a software engineer at a fang company. No. The CEO of Netflix right now does not have a college degree.

Ryan [00:15:52]:

And this is really a problem because it keeps that mindset that people have. These sets of jobs are only for people with degrees. These sets of jobs are only for people without degrees. And that's exactly what we're trying to get rid of. We're trying to get rid of that barrier. We're trying to get rid of that line that doesn't exist. All the people that don't have degrees can do the jobs of people that have degrees, every single one of them. I mean, maybe not legally right now, but inability? Sure, given enough time, absolutely. College doesn't necessarily equal education. You can become educated in many, many other ways. Like I said, not necessarily legally. There's 3% 2% of jobs out there that are licensed to practice, and you can only get those licenses with going to a formal college and then getting the license through that mechanism. But in essence, what I'm saying is that there are degree free people that can do all of those jobs given the correct training and given routes to do so.

Hannah [00:17:00]:

Yeah, this is funny because aside from doctor, I would say some of the top earning jobs off the top of my head would be, like I said, CEO, software engineering, data analytics, all things that you can do without buying a college degree, all of these routes are open to you. All of these things have been done before. We, as people who are degree free, are not limited to these five jobs as the highest paying jobs that we can get without buying from a college.

Ryan [00:17:27]:

This is kind of a perfect segue. I don't know if we were peeking at each other's notes that we had, but what I have here are the ten fastest growing jobs for workers with and without a college degree. So people with a degree and for the degree free people, apparently. This is from Indeed, and I will go over you know what, I'll read all ten of them. Why not? And I'm going to link to this article at Degreefree Cos podcast. So those that require a degree, they require a degree is outside sales representative transportation coordinator three is quality auditor. Four is accounting coordinator, five, tax preparer, six, loan processor, seven, retention specialist, eight, network operations technician, number nine, mental health case manager, ten, speech language pathologist. Okay? Those are the top entry level, fastest growing jobs. Entry level. For those that require a college degree, what do we notice about that list of jobs?

Hannah [00:18:39]:


Ryan [00:18:39]:

No, that none of those jobs require college degree. Okay? Speech Language pathology does require a college degree.

Hannah [00:18:46]:

It is licensed practice, actually, yes, it's similar to Best. And I have a very good friend who's a speech language pathologist.

Ryan [00:18:53]:

That's nine out of ten, okay? Nine out of ten of those jobs don't require college degrees. You can even make a case that mental Health Case manager, you might require a college degree if you are maybe going into the public sector. A lot of those jobs will require it, but it's not licensed to practice in those. It's not. It's just that they require them because they're government jobs. But if you work for a private agency or if you work for a nonprofit, they don't require college degrees or they don't have to require college degrees to do that.

Hannah [00:19:27]:

And also, all federal jobs are being down credentialed as we speak. Literally right now. It's happening.

Ryan [00:19:32]:

The reason why this was funny, that we have this same point, basically, is I want to read to you also the top entry level jobs for the degree free people. And this is according to Indeed. Number one is going to be inventory manager. Two is going to be auto body technician, three, environmental health and safety specialist, four, salon manager, five, drafting technician, six, business analyst, seven, sheet metal mechanic, eight, aircraft maintenance technician, nine, catering manager, ten, transportation logistics coordinator.

Hannah [00:20:09]:

That's hilarious.

Ryan [00:20:11]:

It's just interesting to see the bias that is in these. And there is nothing wrong with any of the 20 jobs that we've stated so far. And of the jobs that you've stated and all of the jobs that you stated about those other degree free jobs, none of these jobs, there's no value judgment placed on it at all. They're all very important to have a functioning economy.

Hannah [00:20:35]:

And lots of people make a killing at those jobs, too. If you are interested in learning about being a salon manager, I would highly recommend you go check out our episode with Robin Ultrager that Ryan did. He interviewed her and she talks about running and scaling a massive salon business completely degree free. And her life story is pretty incredible as well.

Ryan [00:20:53]:

Yeah, definitely. That was a great episode and we learned a lot from Robin, and I hope you can learn a lot from her as well. She ran a very large salon, 70 people, 75 people at the peak of the employment and of her business. So really great stuff there. I just wanted to point all of this out because these are not necessarily the only roles or the top roles that you can get into. I'm glad that they did have business analyst here, drafting technician here, those types of roles. At least it wasn't all just blue collar work, because that is the bias that we see. And there's nothing wrong with blue collar work. I used to go and listen to my last episode last week. I used to be a blue collar worker and I loved it. There's nothing wrong being a blue collar worker, nothing at all. It's just that's the mindset that we are trying to break and there are a lot of people that have college degrees that were blue collar workers like myself, and they like it better.

Hannah [00:21:58]:

Yeah. What we're trying to break out of is the if you this, you can only this, none of that is true.

Ryan [00:22:02]:

Exactly. This was a short episode. I hope that you liked this episode. If you liked that deep dive that I did with the Griggs versus Duke Power Company, please go to YouTube and let me know and comment, because if you want it more, I'll do more of them. It really takes a long time to find those things and then to read all the different opinions and then to come up with an opinion of my own and then to present it to you. So I hope that you enjoyed it. And if you did, please let me know and I will do more deep dives just like that. Let me know a topic that you want me to go and do a deep dive on. And if you haven't already, connect with us on LinkedIn. I'm Ryan maruyama on LinkedIn. She's hannah Maruyama on LinkedIn. We will have links to everything that we talked about at Degreefree Codcast.

Hannah [00:22:54]:

And if you want to get more degree free, you're going to want to go over to Degreefree co newsletter so you can get our weekly email that we send out about how to get hired without a college degree, about how you can find degree free job openings, and about things that Ryan and I think you need to know.

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