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31 May 2023

Virtually Human: The Benefits of a Paperless Ceiling

By Jan Iverson
Virtually Human

By Jan Iverson

Having a workforce where resumes are not required, and experience is the primary factor, can have several potential benefits in a paperless ceiling work culture.

About 55% of America’s workforce lacks a bachelor’s degree or higher. Many have experience, training, and skills, but without a degree, many struggle to be considered for higher-paying jobs. Called the “paper ceiling”, this invisible barrier holds workers without a college degree back. The nonprofit organization, Opportunity at Work, says as many as 30 million workers are held back by degree requirements.

Financial, family, health, or social reasons can prevent some from pursuing and finishing higher education. Given this, it’s time that we change the way we define talent with a move to a “paperless ceiling” where employers consider valid work experience, in jobs where it makes sense.

The US job market often caters to college grads, but about a quarter of those who enroll for college dropout freshman year and make a third less than graduates. Getting rid of degree screenings and focusing more on skill-based experiences can open the talent pool and help overcome a tight labor market. In efforts in Maryland and Colorado, governors have stripped college requirements for thousands of jobs and positions are being filled more quickly.

Having a workforce where resumes are not required, and experience is the primary factor, can have several potential benefits:

  1. Streamlined hiring process: Eliminating the need for resumes simplifies the hiring process. Employers can focus on evaluating candidates based on their relevant experience and skills, rather than spending time reviewing, and comparing resumes.
  2. Skills-based assessment: Relying on experience allows employers to focus on the specific skills and expertise a candidate brings to the table. This approach emphasizes practical abilities and achievements rather than relying solely on educational
    qualifications or credentials.
  3. Diverse talent pool: A resume-free approach can help mitigate bias or discrimination that may be present in the traditional hiring process. By focusing on experience, employers could evaluate a broader range of candidates from various backgrounds and experiences, promoting diversity and inclusivity in the workforce.
  4. Demonstrated competence: By assessing candidates based on their experience, employers can gain a clearer understanding of the candidate’s demonstrated competence in real-world scenarios. This can provide more confidence in the candidate’s ability to perform specific job tasks or responsibilities.
  5. Reduced hiring bias: Resumes often contain information that can introduce unconscious biases into the hiring process, such as a candidate’s name, educational institution, or even hobbies. By removing resumes from the equation, employers can reduce the potential for bias and make more objective hiring decisions.
  6. Time and cost savings: Streamlining the hiring process by eliminating the need for resumes can save time and resources for both employers and candidates. Candidates can focus on showcasing their skills and experiences directly relevant to the job, while employers can expedite the evaluation and selection process.

While a “paperless ceiling” approach has potential benefits, it’s important to consider the context and requirements of specific job positions or industries. In some cases, resumes or other forms of documentation may still be necessary to assess certain qualifications or credentials that are crucial for certain roles.

Jan Iverson is the Creative Director at FS Studio and an award-winning product leader with over 20-years of extensive experience in digital media and marketing, with a specialization in the design and development of AR, VR and 3D activations: mobile apps, games, LBE, sales tools, digital twins; with XR cross-platform content development, and a track record of success in leading award-winning digital creative teams. Virtually Human is her bi-weekly series.