A place for everyone at the table: Kellogg UK reduces barriers to job entry by ditching the need for a degree

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Kellogg UK is tossing the need for a university degree for many of its entry-level vacancies. Pic: GettyImages
Kellogg UK is tossing the need for a university degree for many of its entry-level vacancies. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags Kellogg's UK labour Jobs university degree diversity, equity and inclusion

The move is part of the Special K, Coco Pops and Corn Flakes maker’s drive to become a more inclusive employer: recognising that a university degree doesn’t always have a correlation to the contribution that someone can make within a role.

Following a successful trial with Kellogg’s field sales team last year, the change is now being rolled out across the wider business.

By removing the degree requirement, the UK arm of the global breakfast cereal giant hopes to access a much broader and more diverse group of potential employees.

Earlier this year, Kellogg announced it had reached its goal of having 50% male and female representation at manager level and above​ in the UK - three years ahead of schedule.

The business also offers industry leading employee policies, including those focused on the menopause, pregnancy loss and fertility treatment (introduced in 2021)

“We believe everyone should have a place at the table,”​ said Chris Silcock, Kellogg’s UK MD.

“By ditching the need to have a degree, we hope more people from different backgrounds will consider Kellogg as somewhere for their career, not just those who went to university.” 

Talent is everywhere by opportunity is not

Kelloggs UK - place at the table for everyone

Research from the Office for Students found people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are less likely to progress to higher education. This means that companies with a degree requirement for entry-level roles often miss talent​ based on the belief that being degree-educated predicts in-role success.

“It is encouraging to see top employers such as Kellogg recognise this and remove degree requirements for roles where they are not needed,” ​said Rosalind Goates, head of Advocacy and Campaigns at the Social Mobility Foundation.

“Doing so allows organisations to assess candidates based on their potential and skills and ensures employers attract from the widest talent pool.

‘’We welcome Kellogg’s decision and hope more employers will follow suit to create a society where talent from all backgrounds is nurtured, harnessed, and rewarded.”

Requirement: hard work and dedication

Sam Thornton Kellogg UK
Sam Thornton

When Sam Thornton, Kellogg’s sales director, decided to forgo university, his peers were surprised but it was a decision he saw paying back in buckets.

“I spent a while deliberating on whether university was right for me. When you’re surrounded by friends who are accepting places, it can be tough not to follow suit, but I knew it wasn’t the path I wanted to go down,”​ he said.

“I chose to pursue a career in FMCG and started out by working in my local supermarket on the shop floor, I was then fortunate enough to take part in a management training programme.

“Knowing I was interested in commercial roles, I began to look for opportunities in head office. This took a while as there wasn’t a formal pathway without a degree, however, I eventually secured an entry level role in buying and my career has gone from there.

“I was once approached directly for a role at a retailer where I had all the right experience but was unfortunately turned down due to not having a degree.

Added Thornton, “On the whole though, I like to think deciding not to go to university gave me a head start and I have been very lucky that all of my previous employers have recognised it as such. Still now people are surprised to hear I haven’t got a degree and assume I must have gone to university.

‘’It’s always stood out to me how many companies still ask for a degree as part of job requirements, so it’s amazing to see Kellogg remove that barrier.’’

Kellogg UK currently has numerous job opportunities at its Manchester head office, some of which do have a degree requirement, such as legal counsel or engineer.

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