Heard the buzz about skills-based hiring and want to know how it could benefit your organization? We’ve rounded up the top reasons employers are switching to skills-first recruitment practices.

Credentialism is on the wane as the trend toward skill-based hiring gathers momentum. Looking at over 51 million job posts between 2017 and 2020, Harvard Business School found significant numbers of employers are dropping or reducing degree requirements. Google, Apple and IBM are among the big names prioritizing skills-based selection over education and industry experience.

Could skills-based hiring be a game changer for your organization? The skills-based approach can:

1. turn your talent pool into an ocean

With credentials-based hiring practices, candidates who don’t meet the job specifications are walled out, even though they may have all the skills you’re looking for. Removing barriers to entry — whether it’s industry experience, an established network or the need for a bachelor’s degree — expands your talent pool quickly. According to the United States Census Bureau, 37.9 percent of over-25s in the US have a bachelor’s degree or higher, so removing this requirement opens the door to the other 62.1 percent.

2. diversify your workforce

If you send out the same job spec year after year, over time you are likely to attract candidates from similar backgrounds. Reducing or eliminating must-have requirements can help organizations step away from homogeneity — and the attendant “echo chamber” effect. With skills-first hiring, you can build a more diverse workforce, bringing in fresh perspectives and optimizing your company for innovation.

3. take you to the STARs

Some employers who bemoan the talent shortage simply aren’t casting their nets wide enough. The nonprofit Opportunity@Work estimates there are more than 70 million American adults who are Skilled Through Alternative Routes. These STARs, as they’re known, have acquired essential skills through community colleges, workforce training programs, bootcamps, military service and other pathways that don’t run through university. Consider investing in outreach programs to tap these unexplored talent pools.

4. future-proof your company

Ever-accelerating technological advances mean that old hierarchies and traditional talent pipelines can quickly exceed their use-by date. Identify the skills most likely to be needed in the future using companywide processes like skill mapping. Then feed the resulting data into your recruitment strategies to make them more flexible and forward thinking.

5. help you find the best talent match

Employers want candidates who can succeed at the job and thrive within their organizational culture, not just ones who look good on paper. Skills-first hiring helps you target skills you can’t get a degree for — collaboration, empathy and problem-solving, for example — reducing the risk of a bad hire.

6. optimize the talent you already have

Dismantling traditional frameworks for progression within your organization helps you make the most of your existing staff. A skills-based focus — combined with a culture of continuous learning — aims to close skills gaps and build a more agile workforce.

7. improve your retention rates

If you recruit someone whose skills are precision matched to the job, chances are they will be good at it, feel good about it and take more satisfaction from it. With employee turnover at an all-time high in the U.S., this benefit seems more relevant than ever.

next steps

Ready to navigate the skills-based economy? Randstad USA is ideally placed to deliver reskilling and upskilling opportunities via our extensive ecosystem of strategic partnerships.