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Workplace survey: Less degree requirements, more AI


Worker shortage and changing dynamics mean both employers and employees need to adjust expectations

A workplace trends survey shows that both employers and employees are changing their views on what’s needed to get the job done. The 2023 edition of The Employability Survey from Cengage Group shows that most employees (53%) are still struggling to fill positions, down from 65% in 2022.

Employee survey results: ©Prasanth - stock.adobe.com

Employee survey results: ©Prasanth - stock.adobe.com

Employers continue to search for talent on online job sites (25%) and professional networking platforms (17%), such as LinkedIn and Indeed. But employers are also now more willing to train or upskill candidates who may not be a perfect match for the job requirements. Nearly half of employers (48%) said they hire talent with some, but not all, the skills needed and focus on training them for the role.

To fill open positions, many employers are also looking at waiving degree requirements, but this varies by industry. According to the survey, half of employers still require a two or four-year degree for entry-level positions, but this is down from 62% that required them in 2022. Tech applicants (64%) are the most likely to face a degree requirement, followed by manufacturing (49%), and health care (45%). Employers who require them mostly say its because the discipline required to earn a degree makes the candidate better equipped for the workforce.

The explosion of AI platforms, such as ChatGPT, has a third of grads second-guessing their career choice, and more than half (52%) say competition from AI has them questioning their preparedness for the workforce, according to the survey. Less than half (46%) feel threatened that AI can replace them, while 55% say their job could never be fully replaced by AI.

For employers, AI has already prompted a shift in their hiring habits, with 59% indicating that the growth of AI has changed how they prioritize skills when hiring, and 66% saying they are not looking for uniquely human skills and that previous job experience is more important.

Employers also agree (79%) that employees could benefit from training on working alongside AI and other new technologies, and most (68%) say employees will need to learn new skills in the next three to five years to stay up to date. When it comes to entry-level jobs, 57% of employers think they could be replaced by AI, according to the survey.

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© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health