GM has dropped the four-year college degree requirement for many jobs and will instead transition to skills-based hiring practices for certain roles, Tammy Golden, GM’s executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion, told Automotive News in a recent interview.
Golden, who is also the Detroit-based automaker’s head of workforce strategy, explained to AN how the automaker has implemented a new three-pronged approach to its hiring practices. The first step involves a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, which is part of GM’s vision to become the most inclusive company in the world, while the second focuses on workplace innovation and removing biases that may impact an employee’s experience on the job. The third step is workforce design, which focuses on creating clear pathways for employees to join the company that may not have four-year degrees, but have relevant real-world experience.
“From a soft skills perspective, we really needed people who can connect with people,” Golden told AN. “When you focus on what’s required of the job versus, say, a four-year degree, as your ticket in, it allows you the opportunity to open the aperture to another pool of talent.”
Golden also said that GM that nearly half of the 500 team leaders it has hired in recent months are from “underrepresented categories,” in the auto industry, including women and people of color. By dropping the four-year degree requirement, the automaker now has a larger talent pool of potential candidates to select from when hiring, which will help it achieve its diversity, equity and inclusion goals and also expand its workforce in a meaningful way.GM CEO Mary Barra said in 2020 that she wants the automaker to be “the most inclusive company in the world,” through way of hiring practices, representation and partnering with diverse media. The automaker also donated $4 million to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in 2020 and set up a dedicated Inclusion Advisory Board to promote inclusion and racial justice within its ranks.
New Talent Pool
GM believes the end of the four-year degree requirement will open up a whole new pool of talent for the company to pull from. GM’s executive director of diversity, Tammy Golden, told Automotive News, “When you focus on what’s required of the job versus, say, a four-year degree, as your ticket in, it allows you the opportunity to open the aperture to another pool of talent.”
The automaker also emphasizes that people skills are more important than having a degree. Golden pointed out that one of her best leaders at the company had a physical education degree but worked in manufacturing, but “he knew how to bring people along.”
GM is looking to broaden, and yet sharpen its talent pool by moving to skills-based hiring from more diverse and inclusive backgrounds, Automotive News reports.
This pivot in hiring by the General can be traced back to 2020, when CEO Mary Barra announced GM wanted to be “the most inclusive company in the world.” To do that, the global automaker was going to need to attract more talent. So, it created a diversity team to drive these efforts. One of the first results of the work of the diversity team is the move to skill-based hiring instead of requiring a four-year degree.
The company is following a three-tiered strategy to attract this talent. Per Automotive News:
- DE&I consulting integration, which helps the company develop inclusive leaders.
- Work force innovation, which examines work streams that affect the employee experience and aims to eliminate biases that could impact that experience.
- Work force design, which focuses on creating pathways into the company beyond four-year degrees.
GM says it has already hired 500 “group leaders” in the last several months from diverse and inclusive backgrounds (minorities, women, etc.). From what Jalopnik can gather from the Automotive News article, it appears those hires have been in the manufacturing and tech branches of GM careers.
The automaker hopes to attract more diverse talent by loosening its education requirements for manufacturing and tech jobs.
GM has dropped four-year college degree requirement