Is A College Degree As Important As It Used To Be? Google Says No

In today's competitive job market, it's easy to assume that a fancy college degree from the Princetons or the Stanfords of the world will buy you a better job than the rest of the field. And, for a while, that seemed to be true — study after study has shown that college graduates earn more money than their non-degreed counterparts. But, in a recent interview with The New York Times, Google's Senior Vice President for People Operations, Laszlo Bock, threw a wrench into the whole system. Turns out, the tech company (with possibly the coolest offices, ever) has stopped asking for transcripts from applicants, and the number of degree-less hires is trending way up.
"What's interesting is the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well," said Bock. "So we have teams where you have 14 percent of the team made up of people who've never gone to college." According to Bock, the new attitude over at the Googleplex is that the academic setting is becoming increasingly different from the projects and problem solving employees face at the office. And, after a couple of years in the workplace, performance in college becomes "completely unrelated" to performance at their nine-to-five-jobs at Google.
While this might seem like just another Google trend that won't translate back to the rest of the working world (free meals and scooters, anyone?), the importance of job experience and critical-thinking skills over traditional classroom training seems to be increasing in several different fields. According to Forbes, job-seekers with prestigious (and expensive!) degrees in the liberal arts are increasingly being overlooked for candidates with a well-trained, marketable skill. And, Ivy League-filled investment banks like Goldman Sachs are starting to branch out and hire from a much wider pool.
So, what's the takeaway here? Google's Bock stresses that despite the trend, the majority of Google's workforce still holds at least a Bachelor's degree. So, don't go dropping out in hopes of settling into a cubicle in Mountain View, but this move away from focusing on grades and degrees is certainly something to keep an eye on. (Business Insider)
Photo: Via Business Insider

More from San Francisco


R29 Original Series