No degree? No problem. Some local companies lower hiring requirements

As employers continue to struggle to find people to work, local companies have made some big changes to their hiring requirements.

Those changes are making it easier for employers to attract more people to apply.

Julia Hazel reports.

No degree? No problem.

Companies hiring in Erie are lowering their bachelor’s degree requirement to attract more job seekers to apply for open positions.

“Somebody who really fits in is important because otherwise they could have all the experience or all the degrees in the world and it just doesn’t work,” said Robyn Young, executive director, SafeNet.

Local employment experts say they have seen this trending among employers.

It’s one of those factors that they can do to try to compete. Everyone is competing for employees right now. It’s just a short, very tight labor market,” said Marc Turner, owner, Career Concepts.

It’s beneficial for both people wanting to work and for business owners looking for more staff. For some, this developing trend is nothing new.

“I actually loosened that a long time ago. I just had my 20th year anniversary of owning the business, and I found over the years some of my best team members actually did not have a four-year degree,” said Robert Lafaro, owner, Lafaro Insurance Agency.

By lowering the requirement, Lafaro says he has found the best candidates to work for his company.

“I look at the skills. I’m not concerned about the experience. We can start somebody fresh because we can teach them insurance,” said Lafaro.

As a result of the competitive job market, some students are taking longer to go to college and taking gap years… although schools are still stressing the importance of a degree.

“The job market is strong. If you’re a young person living at home, mom and dad are taking care of most of your expenses, to get a $17 an hour job, that seems pretty nice. In the short term, why are you going to walk away from that? But in the longer term, it’s not really going to be the thing that you can make a life on,” said Joanne Hosey-McGurk, vice president of academic affairs, Mercyhurst University.

“You have to look at the whole picture. Not keeping your mind closed enables you to provide yourself the opportunity to find the best talent that you have, looking beyond what’s on the resume,” said Lafaro.

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