How Remote Work Is Reshaping The Need For A College Degree

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Remote work has created a world of opportunities for college students and freelancers without a college degree. With the changing workspace trends, companies are now also re-evaluating their hiring criteria. It has come to the attention of many larger companies that having a college degree isn’t the best way to judge a candidate’s work potential and talent. Many times it’s the experience and skill set of a person that can help them stand apart.

A creative mindset is highly encouraged now, with everyone wanting to innovate and introduce the next big idea in their respective industries. This is why we are now witnessing a revolutionary trend among many high-paying corporations that have modified their selection process.

According to an independent research center, “The Burning Glass Institute,” it has been found that by 2021 only 44% of online job listings required a college degree. Other workforce analysts believe that this filter of requiring a higher education degree will continue to be removed by organizations as they move towards hiring a diverse workforce. Organizations are now focusing on soft skills and experience rather than the educational background of applicants.

Reasons Behind this Trend

College tuition fees are increasing by the minute, making it impossible for many young individuals to access the benefits of graduating from college. Most kids need to work part-time jobs along with college to keep up with their expenses and even after that, they spend years trying to pay off their student loans. 

While it does hold true that having a college degree can increase your chances of landing a promising job, it doesn’t mean you can’t get employed in a respectable organization without one.

As explained by Laszlo Bock, Google’s former SVP of the People Operations department, those who don’t have a traditional education and make their way through society on their own are exceptional people. These people tend to have attributes like strong perseverance and problem-solving capabilities that make them valuable assets to any firm that hires them.

Even Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk feels that “you don’t need a college degree to learn stuff.” During the Satellite 2020 conference, Musk mentioned that you can learn any skill for free on the internet, and that “colleges are basically for fun and to prove you can do your chores.” 

He also highlighted a number of prominent corporate giants of the world such as Microsoft’s CEO Bill Gates and Oracle’s founder Larry Ellison who dropped out of college to work on their innovations.

The fact that you can get hired at one of the top companies without spending four years getting a degree can be backed up by a statement from Apple’s CEO Tim Cook during an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting. According to Cook, there are many popular skills such as coding that students may not learn in college, which is why half of Apple’s employees don’t have a college degree.

Companies Changing the Norms

Lists of high-paying firms that no longer require a college degree were assembled by job listing websites such as Glassdoor and FlexJobs. After analyzing these lists, and evaluating the flexibility of the jobs being offered, here are some of the best companies to work for that offer competitive salaries and growth opportunities.

1.    Apple

Apple’s online job listings indicate that no college degree is needed but experience, technological capabilities, attention to detail, and good communication skills are required

2.    Google

Google’s job listing on FlexJob states that practical experience equivalent to a college degree is needed to qualify for the vacant positions. 

3.    IBM

IBM focuses more on the candidate’s technical skills that are backed up by proper certifications from coding boot camps or otherwise. 

4.    Penguin Random House

This company offers multiple flexible positions that you can apply for if you have the appropriate level of experience in place of a four-year college degree. 

5.    Nordstrom

Nordstrom is a retail-centric firm that offers flexible administration-based positions that don’t need you to have a college degree. 

6.    Hilton

This large hotel management company provides the highest form of hospitality to its customers, and it is constantly looking for fresh talent. Hilton offers flexible positions to candidates with a high school diploma only. 

How to Work Remotely Without a College Degree

It is evident enough that job opportunities that don’t demand a college degree are on the rise but the disparity between college graduate employees and the rest still exists. Data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed that the earnings of employees with a college degree are much higher than the salaries of those without one. 

While the median weekly earnings for employees with a bachelor’s degree during 2018 was $1,198, it’s $730 for workers who lack a college diploma.

However, don’t let these numbers discourage you because you can easily polish your skills online and gain experience to make your resume even more impressive. According to IBM’s vice president, Joanna Daley, around 15% of IBM’s US employees don’t have a four-year degree. 

In a conversation with CNBC Make It, she pointed out that for IBM it is much more important to hire employees with real-life experience in coding from either a coding boot camp or industry-specific classes.

Start learning important skills like coding, data analytics, website development, and so forth. You can easily become proficient in these skills by joining boot camps or virtual training, or you can self-learn by watching video tutorials online. 

These are very popular and in-demand skills that can take your resume to a whole new level. To gain experience, you can always work freelance gigs and build your portfolio to prove your capabilities to recruiters.


You can find a high-paying remote job for yourself via different job sites and even through LinkedIn. Just make sure that you are searching with the right keywords such as “remote” and your industry of choice. Besides improving your technical skills, you also need to learn the art of giving interviews and being able to put your best self forward. 

Being confident and approachable during an interview holds immense power, after all getting a job is all about being able to sell yourself as being the best candidate for the position offered.

Dan McCabe
Dan McCabe

Long time remote worker with the dream of enabling everyone to join the remote workforce. Owner and Editor of

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