Skills, Not Degrees

Kristin Luck

skills not degrees

I was fortunate to go to university in the 90’s when tuition for a four-year degree was still affordable. Although I worked full time to put myself through school and took out the standard student loans, I didn’t graduate with the same kind of insurmountable debt with which today’s university grads get saddled.

As a university graduate, I’ve never given my degree much weight. I have a Journalism degree that has been invaluable in terms of my communication skills, but not directly applicable to my day-to-day work; building tech companies or (in the latest iteration of my career) investment banking. Most of what I’ve learned that’s been useful in business has been learned on the job….generally by trying, failing, and trying again.

As a result, when hiring I place considerably more emphasis on skills and experience than I do on a university degree. As the labor market continues to suffer from shortages and high competition for employees, many leaders are following suit.


When hiring, I place considerably more emphasis on skills and experience than I do on a university degree


LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky was recently quoted in Harvard Business Review as saying “…one of the most important areas across the global labor market where more adaptive thinking and leadership is needed is around what I’ve been calling a “skills-first mentality.” I think companies that focus on skills as the currency, companies that shift away from more antiquated signals like only degree, or pedigree, or where someone worked, will help ensure that the right people can be in the right roles, with the right skills, doing the best work. I think it’s going to create a much more efficient, a much more equitable labor market, which then creates better opportunity for all. But that’s part of that adaptive mindset shift as well.”

You can ready Roslanky’s entire interview with HBR here

How are you re-thinking your hiring practices when competing for talent? Interested in talking more about adopting more adaptive thinking around hiring? Reach out to us.