We've started taking a lot more people on without degrees. It appears we aren't unique in that. Some of the big firms are formally taking on new staff as apprentices. This might well be the way things are going for the future. Lots of people who could get degrees have decided that the costs involved aren't worth it, and their careers aren't especially blighted without one.
Apprentices to be mandarins of the future ... The second largest recruiter is PwC, with 295 higher and degree apprentices last year. KPMG hired 214, Deloitte 210 and EY 195. GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 recruited 77 people on higher and degree apprenticeships, while the Royal Navy has hired 50 undergraduate apprentices on starting salaries of £31,100.