Dismissed by Degrees

Degree inflation is undermining U.S. competitiveness

Six million jobs traditionally held by workers who did not have a degree are at risk of “degree inflation” in the United States. Including new degree requirements reduces opportunity and mobility for America’s middle-skill workers.

Grads of Life worked with Harvard Business School and Accenture to examine this trend, producing the research report ‘Dismissed by Degrees: How degree inflation is undermining U.S. competitiveness and hurting America’s middle class’.

The Middle Class Crunch

The rising demand for a four-year college degree for middle-skill jobs not only harms U.S. businesses, it closes off critical career pathways and excludes millions of Americans from securing gainful employment.

Degree inflation particularly impacts Opportunity Youth – young adults between the ages of 16-24 years who are not working or in school – and constrains the ability of Opportunity Talent to enter and stay in the workforce.

Combat Degree Inflation

Tackling degree inflation offers employers the opportunity to access wider and more diverse talent pools. By committing to becoming an Opportunity Employer, employers prioritize building inclusive talent pipelines that address the phenomenon while also boosting retention and economic resilience.