Skill v/s Degree-Based Hiring: Which is Best for Your Company?

When employers screen potential employees or candidates and hire them based on their degrees, this process is known as degree-based hiring.

Conversely, when employers screen potential employees or candidates and hire them based on their skills, this process is termed skill-based hiring. Similarly, skill-based hiring is gaining more and more popularity.

When Donald Trump was the President of the United States, he signed an executive order that asked the government to reduce the minimum educational qualification that an individual requires for applying for federal jobs. Skill-based hiring would be beneficial for many people who do not have adequate degrees but possess the required skills.

Skills-based Hiring

In skilled-based hiring, the candidates are selected based on the skills possessed by the candidates. Skill-based hiring has gained massive prominence in the workforce in the recent past.

However, some companies like Goggle have recently announced that it overlooks the CGPA acquired by the candidate. Anyone even without a degree can apply for a job role at Google.

Degree-based Hiring

In earlier times, degrees were the only information considered vital by the employers while screening any candidate. A candidate was regarded as a valuable worker and suitable for the job position based on the degrees held by the candidate.

However, there has been a shift in the employers’ mindset in the past. Many employers are now giving more importance to skill-based hiring as compared to degree-based hiring.

Professional Degree v/s Skill Degree

A professional degree aids students in preparing for specific careers such as education, medicine, and law. The programs offered by different institutions last over 1–5 years, depending on the career choice. The programs offered by institutions are focused on providing real-world knowledge to the students.

These programs incorporate internships and projects related to their specific careers. It not only helps the students to get hands-on experience but also helps build their resumes.

Conversely, a skill degree incorporates all the skills possessed by an individual. Therefore, there are no unnecessary obstacles when the minimum education or qualification requirements are removed.

Employers can hire candidates that possess the desired skills by filtering their skill degree. If an employer focuses on the candidate’s skill degree compared to a professional degree, they can hire people from different demographics.

Hiring Based on Skills and Abilities

Practical Knowledge

Hiring based on skills and abilities focuses on practical and working knowledge possessed by the candidates. When hiring a candidate based on skills and abilities, the topmost priority to the tasks that an applicant can perform rather than the degree that the candidate has.

Less Emphasis on Degree

Hiring based on skills and abilities does not look for the candidate’s experience or university degree. Instead, it aims to hire candidates with specific capabilities, such as expertise in using the software.

Changing Hiring Practices

Presently, companies are hiring candidates based on both adequate skills and educational degrees. However, the scenario is slightly changing as some companies are trying to transform their hiring practices by bringing in candidates who possess desired skills that match the job role.

Skills-based Hiring Practices

Right Job Description

The companies can list all the desired skills for the suitable job role while preparing the job description. In the case of essential requirements, the companies can also mention certifications related to particular skills.

Skills Required for Job

Companies can tell the hiring managers about the skills that they want in an individual. Then, segregate the skills into two broad categories—those that the candidates must possess and those acquired on the job.

Soft skills, including communication and work ethic, can also be mentioned in requirements for the smooth conduct of job roles. Finally, the required skills can be tested by the companies through certifications or conducting tests.

Skill-based Candidates

After receiving applications, filtering suitable candidates can be done by creating an application that comprises job-related questions.

Developing Sustainability

Even after successfully conducting skill-based hiring, developing sustainability is vital as the hired employees based on their skills might need an upgrade as the industry progresses.

Therefore, an employer in a company needs to ensure that all the employees garner and update their skill set over regular intervals to remain competitive.  

Skills v/s Degree


  • Prepare for the Real World: Education helps an individual to prepare for the world by providing adequate knowledge and experience. It is why a degree is considered so important in the corporate world.
  • Enhances Opportunities: A degree certainly opens up numerous opportunities for an individual in the corporate world.
  • Social Respect: Clients are interested in the degree and qualification that an individual holds. A degree can help you in getting into top companies, which would enhance your social respect.
  • Confidence: A degree also gives an individual a lot of confidence as you develop the basics to answer your employer’s queries.


  • Independence: Skills make you independent and competent in starting your venture.
  • Survival: Skills can help you in getting ahead of the crowd and good clients. However, to grow continuously, one needs to upgrade the skill set on a timely basis.
  • Skills are Vital as Compared to Degrees: Primarily in the IT sector, skills are valued more as compared to degrees. This is because they help the individual to solve real-life problems and fix errors.

Springworks Team

Building products and tools to simplify the life of an org's HR function in terms of recruiting, onboarding & retention!

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