The Paper Ceiling - Opportunity@Work

The Paper Ceiling:

(noun) the invisible barrier that comes at every turn for workers without a bachelor’s degree.

See also: no alumni network, biased algorithms, degree screens, stereotypes, and misperceptions.

There’s a flaw in the labor market – a weakness that holds back skilled applicants...

Like when nearly 70% of new jobs insist on a bachelor’s degree, but fewer than 50% of workers have one — BAM.

70+ million STARs, workers Skilled Through Alternative Routes, just hit the paper ceiling.

They’re the 50% of the workforce that has developed valuable skills through community college, certificate programs, military service, or on-the-job learning, rather than through a bachelor’s degree.

Workers with experience, skills, and diverse perspectives who are held back by a silent barrier.

Now the enemy has a name – the paper ceiling - and a movement has begun.

Workers and companies are uniting to challenge the status quo and create a new and more equitable future of work.

This fall a new national campaign will give voice to this rising movement - shattering the myth that no degree means no skill and inspiring companies to champion skills-based hiring.

*Analysis of BLS EP and 2012/2019 CPS ASEC, IPUMS

Launching Fall 2022


Sign up to be the first to see the campaign when it launches and learn how you can join the movement.

"*" indicates required fields

Information provided will be used in compliance with Opportunity@Work’s Privacy Policy.