This is true, but unlike a lot of things, you can bootstrap perl experience. Write up some semi-useful program, put it on the web, and it's resume fodder. I'd certainly consider that a plus in a potential junior hire.
The degree thing helps to get you into interviews, but the amount it is valued varies greatly from company to company. Our lead architect doesn't have a college degree at all, and a fairly small percentage of our development team (less than a third) has a CS or similar degree. Some companies really are fond of them, though.