IT giant Infosys ramps up hiring for candidates without college degrees

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Infosys wants to hire 12,000 new American workers by 2022, and in some cases, the IT services giant doesn't think new hires need a college degree to land the gig.

The initiative is the latest in a trend of companies eschewing traditional higher education credentials to address talent shortages, despite a slack labor market. And though hiring has changed dramatically during the economic downturn, employers should stay ahead of the shortages that will persist or return in the recovery, says Tony Lee, vice president of editorial for the Society for Human Resource Management, or SHRM.

“Savvy companies are recognizing that this, too, will pass,” Lee says. “And that even in a pandemic, there are still talent shortages for certain skill sets.”

Infosys will focus on local talent pools across the country as they work to fill the need for knowledge workers who can rapidly adapt to remote working. It’s a unique opportunity to provide equal access to those who have been hit hardest by recent job losses, according to Tan Moorthy, an executive vice president who oversees education and training for Infosys.

“As the pace of technological development evolves faster than core curricula, we are looking for employees who exhibit an agile mindset, allowing them to substitute a lack of traditional skills training with on-the-job learning,” he says.

The company will use their Reskill and Restart program to ramp up hiring candidates without a traditional four-year degree. The program leads workers through skills assessments and job training before matching them to open jobs.

Amazon and Walmart have similar initiatives for workers without college degrees. But smaller employers can also take advantage of this labor pool, and in some cases, they are better positioned to connect with local workforce development boards, coding bootcamps and community colleges.

About 71 million workers in the United States can be considered skilled through alternative routes, or STARs, according to a recent report by Opportunity@Work, an organization that aims to support workers without traditional college degrees.

Employers looking to tap a larger talent pool need to start by reviewing and updating open job descriptions, says Martin Evelyn, insights manager at Opportunity@Work. Research shows an upward pressure over time to put college degree requirements for jobs that do not always require them.

See also: Remote work can be a tool for recruiting a more diverse staff

College degrees aren’t necessarily needed for certain jobs, even if they are listed in the requirements, he says. For example, an entry-level job for an IT support specialist role does not require a degree in many cases.

“Most of the time, an IT support specialist is learning all the skills they need on the job,” he says. “You can hire from tech support at retail stores such as Apple, and that is a pathway that can and should exist.”

Removing the college degree requirement for entry-level jobs opens lucrative pathways for more workers. Evelyn said employers should also look to partner with local organizations like Opportunity@Work that provide training and placement support.

“We found that many STARs felt daunted by trying to sift through all the job postings out there to find jobs actually open to them,” he said. “You are more likely to be rejected just on the basis of not having a degree.”

The organization responded by creating a specific platform to connect workers who have completed training programs with employers who are already willing to hire them.

Opening doors for workers without four-year degrees is crucial to diversifying the ranks of industries such as tech with underrepresented minorities, such as Black and Latino workers.

“The question is, will we offer that opportunity?” Evelyn asks.

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