Skills Based Hiring – An Effective Approach To Finding The Best Talent

The pandemic led to many changes, including people’s attitudes about work and expectations for a strong employee voice. Still, it’s not just the labor force perspectives that changed. So did employer perspectives, and the trend took root pre-pandemic. Instead of focusing mainly on qualifications like college degrees, they seek employees with skills proven through experience.

The 2023 talent acquisition trend is partially driven by the success of tech workers who have proven they don’t need a degree to manage job responsibilities successfully. Some of the change is also driven by the labor shortage and a competitive labor market, leading employers to re-evaluate recruitment and hiring policies.

Skills-Based Hiring Creates New Opportunities

The Burning Glass Institute is a labor market data company that analyzed more than 51 million posted jobs between 2017-2020. Sixty-three percent (63%) of employers initiated changing degree requirements before the pandemic, indicating a long-term structural shift. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of employers surveyed had changed job requirements due to the pandemic, making these cyclical resets. The conclusion was that when employers eliminate degree requirements, they are more specific about skills requirements, leading to skills-based hiring.

This HR trend can significantly impact how employers find and attract talent. For example, skills-based hiring can strengthen diverse hiring because employers will not automatically use the same employee recruitment channels that lead to the exclusion of talent in underrepresented groups or areas. A skills-based hiring approach can also lead to hiring more nontraditional employees who can bring creative thinking and innovation to improve competitiveness.

Hiring the High Potential

Skills-based hiring is helping employers find qualified job candidates who lost their jobs during the pandemic and can transition into new careers based on their experience. People with upskilling potential but are or were in jobs where upskilling was limited could move into higher-paying positions where their high potential is realized.

A career analysis found that a U.S. food server has 71 percent of the skills a customer service specialist possesses. It also found that 26 million people globally would only need to learn two more skills to be qualified as customer service specialists. This presents enormous potential to recruit people who can fill available positions after minimal employee training.

Hard and Soft Skills Developed Through Experience

Another aspect of the skills-based hiring trend is that the focus is also shifting toward people with proven soft and hard skills. New hires must work well in the organization’s culture. If you developed a culture of inclusion and belonging, collaboration, and transparent communication, the people joining the workforce would work well in the culture if they have soft skills like social skills, emotional intelligence, listening and feedback skills, the ability to work in groups, and interpersonal skills.

PwC’s Global Hopes and Fears Survey 2022 found that “meaning” matters to younger workers. You want to hire and retain people with the right hard and soft skills developed through experience. Sixty-nine percent (69%) consider the most important factor in whether they work for an employer or quit is if the job is fulfilling, 66% said they must be able to “truly be myself,” and 60% said the team must care about their well-being. Job candidates are attracted to a positive culture in which leaders and employees have developed good relationships.

Attracting, Hiring, and Retaining with Skills-Based Hiring

Developing a positive organizational culture takes time, and new hires should be good matches for the available positions and workplace culture. Skills-based hiring can improve employee recruiting success and retention. An added advantage is that you also are more likely to avoid unionization. Degrees, employers have discovered, don’t necessarily inform about potential long-term success.

IRI Consultants can provide customized assistance in various critical areas, including employee internal communications and training, culture development, labor relations, and leadership development. Check out our Digital Engagement Workbook as a sample of how we can help your organization engage employees. You can also contact us using the chat on the right to discuss the next steps, call (313) 965-0350, or send us a message via the online form.

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