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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is it legally justifiable for a hiring company to require a college diploma?

The industrial education complex is at its most powerful when we don't even question the assumptions it puts on the public. One of its greatest triumphs is establishing "a college degree" as a prerequisite for advanced degrees and entry level corporate jobs.

But does anyone other than colleges benefit from this? Is this a symbiotic relationship for the stakeholders of a business and society as a whole? Or is it a "we do it because we have done it" situation?

Specifically, is this just another form of institutional discrimination? Do craven HR departments and hiring individuals lazily gravitate towards like-minded and familiar people at the expense of more talented individuals?

The way a lawyer might ask the question is as follows: Is a legal threshold met of consistent and relevant value to an organization that is ensured with college graduates that is greater than the population as a whole?

But ultimately, what might win out is the question asked another way. Is the real "bundled skill set" of an undergraduate college degree, with its favoring of: passivity; blind obedience to authority; comfort in sitting in one place for hours at a time; high structure and hand-holding, debt spending, living in a disconnected bubble world, emphasis of self over team; abilities to endlessly shuffle information; abilities to follow elaborate and archaic rituals and processes; and little passion to build value and get real-world feedback, even compatible with competitive businesses today?

In the past, there (probably) was a correlation between serious, smart, focused people and people who went to college. This may have lead many to a belief in causation. But that belief may be corrected (or confirmed!) as a greater diversity of approaches is available. Regardless, schools' best chance of being relevant is society not assuming that they are.

We can see how college degreed individuals got us into today's mess. Is it time for a new breed to get us out of it?

2 comments:

  1. "passivity; blind obedience to authority; comfort in sitting in one place for hours at a time; living in a disconnected bubble world, abilities to endlessly shuffle information; abilities to follow elaborate and archaic rituals and processes; little passion to build value and get real-world feedback"

    I'm guessing these are still pretty much in demand :/

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