#PaperCeiling #WorkQualifications #technology #CollegeDegrees
The TV ads call it the “Paper Ceiling.”
In a nutshell, it’s the elimination of some people for certain jobs because they don’t have the proper “paper” qualifications. These people may be perfectly capable of doing the jobs because of experience or other training. They just may not have the degree that the specifications require.
Now Georgia, and other states, are tackling this problem by trying to ease some of the paper qualifications for certain state jobs.
Maureen Downey, education columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, discussed the Georgia situation in her February 14, 2023, column.
As she writes, Microsoft founder Bill Gates never finished his degree at Harvard because his ideas were so time-sensitive that he had to act on them immediately.
With technology, timing is everything. If you wait too long to develop it, it could become obsolete before it’s even created. Or, a competitor will beat you to it.
But, as Downey writes, Gates is a big believer, and funder, of higher education.
The so-called paper ceiling has prompted a generation of leaders and influencers to place a high value on getting a college degree. In fact, statistics show generally that people with college degrees do better economically than those who don’t have one. We also hear stories of people who spent a lot on an education, only to get a job that didn’t require it.
Of course, education of any sort is never a waste.
Where the rub comes is ruling people out for certain jobs they are capable of doing, just because they lack the college degree.
The paper ceiling is a convenience for hiring managers. It allows them to sift and sort through piles of applications more easily by ruling out people quickly.
But college is not for everyone, particularly those who cannot immediately afford it. People have gone into extreme debt to get a degree. But, once they have it, they may, or may not, get the job they want. And, even if they do, they’ll likely spend a valuable chunk of adult life paying off that debt.
There are also many trades and other good-paying jobs that may require technical training, but not necessarily college. These jobs often are in high demand, and workers with those skills can be hard to find.
Some believe too many trade schools have been turned into computer schools, and there are too few venues to train electricians, plumbers and other skilled workers.
Though computers have infiltrated most modern machinery and appliances, there is still a great need for raw, old-school skills.
In short, if you are a hiring manager, don’t underestimate the skills of someone who may not be as well papered as you might like.
If you are a prospective employee, don’t hesitate to apply for a job you believe you can do even if you don’t have the paper credentials. You may have to sell yourself better in your application to overcome the lack of credentials.
Closed minds on either side may blur good potential.
Just as glass ceilings are meant to be shattered, paper ceilings are meant to be shredded.

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