More companies are scrapping their degree requirements, creating new opportunities for people who skip college to land competitive, high-paying jobs.
The number of jobs requiring any degree beyond a high school diploma has been steadily declining since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to recent research from ZipRecruiter.
By 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that about 60% of all new jobs in the economy will be in occupations that don’t require an associate, bachelor’s or graduate degree.
To find the industries where opportunities are growing most for candidates without bachelor’s degrees, data scientists at LinkedIn analyzed millions of member profiles and descriptions of job postings shared on the platform between 2021 and 2023. For this report, a “non-bachelor’s graduate” was defined as someone who graduated from high school, has an associate’s degree or completed an apprenticeship to train for a job.
Here are the fastest-growing jobs for people without a bachelor’s degree, according to LinkedIn:
Top jobs: Client advisor, business consultant, solutions consultant
Top jobs: Social media manager, marketing specialist, marketing coordinator
Top jobs: Laboratory technician, business analyst, medical laboratory technician
4. Human resources
Top jobs: Human resources specialist, human resources assistant
5. Media and communications
Top jobs: Writer, production assistant, editor, production manager
Some of these jobs offer six-figure salaries: Skilled production managers can expect to make at least $106,000 per year, while the top-earning solutions consultants typically earn between $113,000 and $167,000, according to ZipRecruiter.
Hiring for consulting roles has seen significant hiring growth for candidates without a bachelor’s degree in recent years, up 34% between 2021 and 2022.
“People will hear ‘consulting’ and immediately picture a job at a big consulting firm, but there are a lot of freelance and contract opportunities where you can use your skills or expertise in a certain area, like sales, for example, to advise a company or client on a specific project,” says Andrew Seaman, senior managing editor for jobs and career development at LinkedIn News. “You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to do that.”
Similarly, more companies are rethinking how they hire for HR roles, prioritizing soft skills like communication and leadership over a candidate’s educational background, Seaman adds.
“There is so much valuable life experience a person can bring to an HR job, and more companies are offering training and certification programs to fill in any skills gaps,” he says.
“For example, at the start of the pandemic, we saw a lot of people on LinkedIn who suddenly couldn’t do their jobs anymore, like bartenders and people who worked in hospitality, pivot to roles in HR, because they already had the people skills you need to thrive in such jobs.”