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Breaking Barriers: Why Entry Level Shouldn't Demand Extensive Experience or a Master's Degree

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I was helping my daughter with job searches the other day and I was appauled at what was expected from today's employees from certain employers. My daughter is twenty, but has high-functioning Autism and is currently working on her GED since COVID prevented access to her educational special needs assistance and we were more concerned with her life skills and mental health. As an employer myself, I have trained and hired several interns, special needs, gifted and extremely skilled individuals and I have never asked for more than my team could give, but apparently you must not have a family or a life and you must be willing to work for peanuts in order to get a job these days. I'm not focusing on youth employment either, but for any age.

So today, let's unravel this stigma.

This is the employer's job ad that I found. My first red flag was ENTRY LEVEL Brand Manager that would require working closely with the Brand Manager. If they were hiring for a Brand Manager, why are they working with a Brand Manager? My next red flag was Bachelor's Degree in marketing, business, communications. MBA preferred. For an Entry Level? And then the third red flag was the pay and benefits. Full time work, fluctuating pay, and no benefits listed with a note stating it is ENTRY LEVEL with room for growth. There are some things here that would drive me away from applying, but there are many others like this.

Entry Level is not meant for Masters

Entry-Level Expectations & Experience

An entry-level job, as the name suggests, is one's entry into the professional arena. It is typically intended as a launch pad, a starting point, a key to unlock the door to one's career. This is where it gets interesting. These positions, more often than not, call for a set of prerequisites, taking the form of extensive experience or even a Master's degree with little pay and no benefits, casting a veil of paradox around the term 'entry level'.

The job market can be a tough place, demanding yet enticing. The expectations for entry-level positions have escalated over time, with a strong emphasis laid on experience and education. These hefty demands have a significant impact on job seekers, especially those fresh out of higher education or those with special needs and disabilities. It's like expecting someone to run before they've even learned to crawl.

Let's talk about experience, a term that holds paramount significance in the job market. The importance of experience cannot be overstated. It equips individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in their fields. But, what happens when opportunities to gain such experience are scarcely available? It results in a Catch-22 situation for job seekers, where they cannot get a job due to lack of experience, and they cannot gain experience because they don't have a job.

College Graduate

The Rising Costs of Higher Education

The tale of acquiring a Master's degree is not a cheap one. The cost of higher education has seen a steady rise, putting an enormous financial burden on job seekers. With the increasing costs, the return on investment has been seen to diminish. It's like investing in an asset whose value is depreciating.

The Changing Job Market

Our job market is a dynamic entity. It evolves, it adapts, it transforms. Job requirements have seen a shift over the years. The market is gradually moving towards valuing skills and qualifications over degrees. There are plenty of successful professionals out there who have carved a niche for themselves without the stamp of a degree.

The Value of Transferable Skills

It’s important to understand transferable skills. These are skills that you can acquire outside of traditional education and can be applied in various professional settings. The relevance of these skills in entry-level jobs is remarkable. These skills can range from communication skills, problem-solving skills, to time management skills.

The Potential for On-The-Job Training

On-the-job training is a game-changer. It comes with plentiful benefits, right from practical learning to increased retention. There are companies out there that offer this kind of training for their entry-level positions. This kind of training can effectively level the playing field for job seekers, providing them with the necessary skills and experience.

The Importance of Diversity in the Workplace

Embracing diversity is pivotal in today's world. Diversity brings in an array of backgrounds and perspectives, enriching the work environment. The stringent entry-level requirements can limit this diversity. A diverse workforce is a successful one, leveraging individual strengths and perspectives for shared goals.

The Need for a More Inclusive Job Market

The entry-level job market as we know it, needs a makeover. The consequences of strict entry-level requirements are far-reaching, creating a skewed playing field. We need to create equal opportunities for all job seekers, irrespective of their backgrounds. This will not only benefit companies but society as a whole.

Child and Robot

Breaking the Barrier

It is high time we reassess the entry-level job requirements. We need to break down the barriers, making the job market a more inclusive place. Let's remember, the idea of an entry-level job is to provide an entry, not to build a wall or let AI take its place. As an employer myself, it is essential that I make certain jobs an equal opportunity for all and I find skills and talents in my team that best works for them so they shine better and love working with me.

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