How skills-based hiring makes global sense to replace unconscious hiring

The tech space faces a significant gap between available jobs and individuals with the necessary skills to fill them.

A critical look at this indicates that traditional hiring methods of prioritizing degrees and experience do at times overlook diverse, skilled candidates without formal credentials.

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Skills-based hiring directly addresses the issue by focusing primarily on the actual skill required to perform the job, while ensuring that a wider talent pool with the right know-how gets space at the table.

Tech is constantly evolving and this requires the workforce to remain adaptable in learning new skills and finding the right tools to get the job done.

The days of biased hiring may just be over. The days of hiring based on unconscious bias considering factors such as background, education, name, and gender may be a thing of the past as a level playing field in the form of skills-based hiring takes center stage.

Skills-based hiring should not only be an HR initiative but should become every organization’s approach as it directly impacts a company’s ability to innovate, compete, and thrive in an evolving tech landscape.

By prioritizing skills adaptability and diversity, the tech industry could build a workforce equipped to address future challenges.

It was Jessica Hawkey’s piece that prompted the thought of probing the benefits of skills-based hiring.

Jessica Hawkey, MD at redAcademy elaborated on how skills-based hiring in the tech sector brought South Africa in line with international hiring trends.

Hawkey explains that “Globally, large multinationals such as Accenture, General Motors, IBM and LinkedIn among others are placing importance on skills when hiring employees rather than focusing on traditional educational qualifications.”

These organizations are looking for problem solvers with proven experience and a multi-disciplinary skill set rather than someone with just theoretical knowledge. This approach is especially useful for filling modern, technology-based entry-level roles in specific industries, such as in software development as an example.

She notes how companies continue to evolve at an unprecedented pace, while recruitment and talent acquisition move at a less desired pace.

“Promotions within an organization are usually as a result of skills and experience rather than academic qualifications, so why not use these as the criteria right from the start?”

“By removing the requirement for mandatory higher degree qualifications from job advertisements, recruiters can tap into a wider range of candidates who possess relevant skills and experience. This not only increases the number of candidates available but also ensures that the best candidate is selected for the position. In a country like South Africa, skills-based hiring can be an effective means of providing opportunities for young people without a university education.”

The proposal will be met with some resistance as some organizations continue to rely on academic qualifications as a vetting measure.

“To be clear, we are not disregarding traditional degrees as they still have a vital role to play in certain professions. However, when looking at areas such as technology, traditional educational institutions have simply not been able to keep up with the rate of change – or produce the number of skilled graduates needed,” Hawkey noted.

Skills-based hiring could also aid in building a developer resource pipeline as well as ensuring a succession plan within an organization

The point is simple, to remain competitive in the market, companies need to adopt new approaches to developing scarce talent while investing in upskilling their current workforce and integrating learning into their corporate cultures.

Slow-moving companies that continue to operate on outdated paradigms will fall behind and risk losing their valuable resource, which is talent.

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