Is Skill-Based Hiring the Way Forward?

When you look at the majority of job descriptions or when you speak to a hiring manager, there’s likely to be a request for [X] years of experience in a specific sector. Hiring managers want to bring people in who understand the industry and can hit the ground running. But if they’re willing to spend time training, skill-based hiring blows the waters wide open when it comes to the candidate pool 🌊.

What is skill-based hiring?

Skills-based hiring scraps the need for formal qualifications like degrees or certain years of experience in a desired sector. Instead, a candidate needs to meet certain soft-skills to be shortlisted. They’ve gained these skills through anything from life experience to previous unrelated roles, but those skills are still transferable to the sector you’re hiring for. 

Why are more employers doing it?

Employers have relied on education and years of experience for years and it has almost become a tick-box exercise leaving many suitable candidates rejected. Skills-based hiring is gaining popularity because it helps employers find candidates who could really thrive in the job but don’t necessarily have the exact experience “on paper”. God, I really need to stop watching Love Island.

This approach is being used more with entry-level and mid-level positions that don’t require specialised training. So no, we’re not suggesting you hire a previous marketing executive to become a structural engineer…

What are the benefits?

  • Increased quality-of-hire: LinkedIn research showed that employers who hire based on skill set instead of formal qualifications or experience are 60% more likely to make a successful hire. By assessing skills, potential employers can better predict how well candidates can perform on the job, minimising the risk of hiring people with impressive degrees but lack practical abilities.
  • Diversity and inclusion: Companies can tap into a broader talent pool, giving equal opportunities to candidates from diverse backgrounds who possess the necessary competencies. This leads to a more inclusive workforce and a range of perspectives that can drive innovation and creativity.
  • Easily adaptable to change: The best employers want candidates who will continually learn and adapt, and skill-based hiring encourages that. Instead of focusing solely on qualifications, companies can prioritise candidates who demonstrate a strong foundation of skills that can be applied to various situations, enabling greater agility and flexibility within the workforce.
  • Fill the skill gap: A Manpower Group report found 77% of employers reported difficulty in filling roles - a 17 year high - but by focusing on skills over experience, employers now have an opportunity to bridge the gap by hiring candidates with transferable skills and investing in training and development programmes to up-skill them.
  • Increased employee engagement and retention: A LinkedIn study found skill-based hiring can ensure that employees are well-suited to their positions, which leads to higher job satisfaction, engagement, and productivity. Consequently, companies experience lower turnover rates and higher retention of skilled employees. This is great in a world where employers are often finding employee retention more difficult than hiring itself!

 According to data from LinkedIn, 40% of companies now use skills as a primary factor for finding and selecting potential job candidates, which is a 20% increase compared to the previous year. Additionally, the proportion of job listings on LinkedIn that do not necessitate a four-year degree has grown from 15% to 20% annually, reflecting a 33% rise.

The adoption of skills-based hiring is becoming increasingly popular as employers recognise the benefits of adjusting their talent acquisition approaches to align with the modern working world. 

It’s worth exploring this approach to discover the potential advantages it can bring to your own hiring managers, and to your candidate pool. 

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