The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently released a new report, “Hiring in the Modern Talent Marketplace,” which reveals that employers and hiring managers are now looking for competencies – not degrees – as the most important factors when filling a position. The survey of 500 hiring managers showed that 74% of respondents agreed that there has been a lack of skilled talent in the workforce in recent years.
More than three-quarters of respondents agree that they will need to reassess the way they hire, and nearly half report that changing hiring processes is a priority in their organization. As hiring managers look to solve the skills gap, competencies, defined as knowledge and skills that can be observed, measured, or otherwise assessed, are becoming important to organizations than formal education credentials. In fact, only one-quarter of those surveyed claim the education credential is used in assessing the candidate’s viability.
In addition to hiring based on competencies, the study found the top three potential solutions to fix the skills gap are:
- Increasing upskilling initiatives for current employees
- Working with educational programs (i.e. partner programs with local schools, postsecondary partnerships, etc.) to strengthen talent pipelines
- Improving alignment between educational program curricula and the skills needed in the workforce
The skills gap is stunting business growth
Another new survey of HR decision-makers from K12 Inc.’s Destinations Career Academy reveals that the skills gap is costing businesses mightily in pursuit of the right talent. According to this survey, 94% of HR decision-makers say an inability to find qualified candidates is impacting business growth, despite high training and recruitment investment.
The survey reports that 68% of HR professionals predict that in the next 5-10 years, a scarcity of qualified IT talent will negatively impact their business. Beyond IT-related technical skills, the skill 51% of HR decision-makers are primarily after is work ethic – which 42% of candidates lack. Other soft skills such as communication (49%) and teamwork (43%) also rank high on the wish list of hiring teams, but more than 40% of respondents say today’s candidates come up short in both areas.
HR leaders from this survey do agree that the education system has a role in filling in this skills gap. One-third of those surveyed say high schools aren’t doing enough to prepare students for careers after graduation and nearly all agree businesses should offer opportunities to students to prepare for careers.
How to hire with skills-based, not experience-based, practices
One way to help ensure you’re getting new hires with the right qualifications is to transition from traditional hiring practices, which rely heavily on proxies for skills, like a candidate’s degrees, to skills-based hiring practices, which focus on the skills needed to do a job well. At last year’s Arvada Works Q2 Summit “Hiring Your Best Employees Yet,” Alex Conway Peterson shared the free Skillful Job Posting Generator, which helps employers write skills-based job postings. By identifying and utilizing occupational competencies, you can better attract candidates with the right qualifications and improve retention.
Are you ready to help improve our local talent pipeline? The Arvada Works program relies on the varied contributions of our community employers, educators and partners. If you’re interested in helping us close the skills gap in Arvada, there are many ways for you to get involved today! Click here to learn more about the program, sign up to receive updates, and discover how you can help make an impact.