Have you heard about degree discrimination? It’s a practice that has been happening for many years, however, just now it’s starting to gain more steam. For decades, education has been a top requirement found in job ads. However, with the way we get educated changing, and with more importance being given to those with proven experience, degree requirements are becoming less important. 

Our Sales recruiters in Toronto have seen many cases of companies who will not look at candidates without certain degrees or academic backgrounds, creating recruiting challenges. Below, I’ll define degree discrimination and talk about this potential recruitment issue. 

What Is Degree Discrimination?

Degree discrimination in the workplace is something hiring companies need to be careful to avoid. It could potentially hurt their hiring process and create diversity and inclusion issues. 

Degree discrimination refers to the practice of unfairly favouring or disadvantaging individuals based on their level of education or the specific degrees they hold. This can occur in various contexts, such as employment, education, or social interactions, where individuals may be judged or treated differently based on their educational qualifications. 

What Is A Degree Discrimination Example?

An example of degree discrimination might occur in the hiring process, where a job applicant with a relevant skill set and experience is overlooked in favour of another candidate solely because they possess a higher level of education or a specific degree, even if it is not directly relevant to the job requirements.

For example, two candidates are applying for a senior sales position. Candidate A has extensive experience, industry connections and a track record of success that is greater than is greater than Candidate B. But they have a college diploma. Candidate B has a university degree, but they lack industry experience. The hiring company gives preference to Candidate B solely because they have a university degree, something that was listed as a requirement in the job description. 

Is Degree Discrimination Relevant For All Jobs?

Degree discrimination is not relevant for all jobs. There are some careers where you need a certain degree to become a qualified professional. For example, doctors, lawyers, and engineers require a certain level of education. 

Degree discrimination is more relevant in the social sciences. You see it occur more in business, sales, marketing, retail, and other customer service-related fields. 

How To Avoid Degree Discrimination In Your Company

Here are some ways that you can avoid degree discrimination so you can give each candidate a fair chance:

  • Review all job qualifications
  • Be open to changing your views or how you weigh education requirements
  • Create a standardized candidate screening process
  • Give more weight to experience and proven success

Remember that a degree is only one of the many things to consider when comparing job candidates. Weigh all considerations appropriately to ensure you choose the best candidate for the job, regardless of the degree they hold. 


More About The Impact of a Degree on your Career

4 High Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree

Is it Worth it to Get a Master’s Degree?

Do You Still Need a Degree in Today’s Job Market?

Jace Ermidis Sales Recruiter

Jace Ermidis

Jace is a Senior Director, Client Services with IQ PARTNERS as well as our sales division SalesForce Search, where he specializes in Technology and SaaS recruitment. Jace is motivated by watching his clients grow locally, nationally, and internationally. Knowing that he plays an integral role in their growth and success is what he gets out of bed for.

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