IBM seeks to hire employees without a 4-year college degree

Big Blue focuses on skills-based hiring rather than credentials to fill technology roles

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IBM seeks to hire employees without a 4-year college degree Rometty says not all tech jobs require a college degree. (Getty)
By  Staff Writer Published  November 8, 2017

Having a four-year college degree is generally regarded as a necessity to score a job in tech. But as the number of tech jobs has climbed, far outpacing the number of applicants, companies like IBM have turned to talent with non-traditional educational backgrounds, according to a CNBC Make It report.

With this drastic shortage of tech workers, the company is now focusing on skills-based hiring rather than credentials to fill these roles.

IBM's hiring practices are part of a larger trend in the industry. Tech companies like Intel and GitHub have also been seeking talent from other educational avenues, such as coding programs and high school partnerships, according to Fast Money.

In a column published in the USA Today, the company's CEO Ginni Rometty explained that not all tech jobs require a college degree. As industries transform, she said, "jobs are being created that demand new skills - which in turn requires new approaches to education, training and recruiting."

These "new collar jobs," said Rometty, are becoming harder to fill. In the US alone, there are more than 500,000 open jobs in tech-related sectors, according to the US Department of Labour. A recent study by Code.org reports that as many as 1 million programming jobs will be unfilled by 2020.

To counter this, IBM's CEO said that the company intends to hire 6,000 employees by the end of this year, many of whom will have unconventional backgrounds.

"About 15% of the people we hire in the US don't have four-year degrees," IBM's vice president of talent Joanna Daly told CNBC Make It. "There's an opportunity to broaden the candidates to fill the skills gap."

In June, the company announced that it would be partnering with community colleges across the US to better prepare more people for "new collar career opportunities."

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