Expanding Talent Pools And Boosting Opportunities – How A Skills-First Outlook Is Breeding Inclusion In The Workforce
India, 23 Dec 2022 9:28 AM GMT | Updated 23 Dec 2022 4:05 PM GMTcheck update history
Established HR leaders from India Inc. discuss why skills are at the intersection of employers looking for the right talent and professionals looking for the right opportunities in today's tight labor market.
Careers are no longer a monogamous sign-up. People are now exploring a wider bouquet of professional opportunities based on their ambitions, strengths, and passions. With the definition of 'career' becoming less rigid and more lucid, transferable skills are emerging as crucial determinants of success. Simply put, your current set of skills is more likely to create opportunities for you; not your past experience.
Recruiters are taking note of this dynamic shift in how professionals approach opportunities. When hiring for skills, they take into account what a person can do today; not what they have done in the past. This helps them tap into wider, more diverse talent pools that bring them closer to candidates who come with myriad perspectives and abilities that can bring fresher and greater value to their businesses.
"If you want to hire the right person, you need to look at the candidate keeping in mind the skills each job profile requires," shares Arun Kumar, Director of People, India at Measured. "Gone are the days when companies only used to look for just one type of candidate. Now, we need different types of candidates depending on the kind of role or level in which we are hiring. Diverse perspectives are very important and are linked to innovation. For innovation or a diverse work culture, it is important that we hire people from different backgrounds."
Recruiters In India See No Bigger Boon Than Hiring For Skills
LinkedIn's data recently found that in India, hiring for skills widens the talent pool by 12x – higher than the global average of 9.4x. This means that by putting skills first when hiring, recruiters can add twelve times more candidates to their consideration set. This allows them with significantly greater chances to find the right candidate for their open roles.
Discussing how hiring for skills has helped them build a successful organization, Roma Bindroo, CHRO at Zepto says, "Our focus has been to hire for skills and specialization across all levels so that we can build and scale faster and are far more prepared to pivot quickly in new areas of growth. The key ask of our employees has consistently been 'High Learning, High Growth' and we are committed to that. The nature of work at a fast-growing startup allows scope to explore new possibilities within and take on bigger roles – that helps widen the skill set further and work on critical skill gaps in particular. Our charters are a lot more unconventional and lofty, translating into a lot more opportunity for all of us to leverage what we know effectively, experiment more, fail forward quickly and continue to build greater value for every talent we have."
Leading With Skills Levels The Playing Field For Women And Youth
A skills-first approach towards applying for new roles allows applicants to have greater control over their professional aspirations and career trajectories. Because doing a good job at showcasing your skills spares you from letting 'fate' convert your desired opportunities. And when both recruiters and applicants lead with skills, unconscious biases related to age, gender, academic background or other traditional stereotypes are greatly diminished and the playing field is truly leveled.
LinkedIn's data suggests that when companies hire for skills, the talent pool for workers without a bachelor's degree increases by 15% more than that for those with a bachelor's degree. Aspirants must take cues and showcase their skills effectively when applying for their dream jobs because chances are that their skills will help them bag the role even if they don't have the right degree.
When looking at age cohorts, the younger generation benefits the most from a skills-first approach to hiring. The talent pool for Gen-Z increases by 14.1x if companies hire for skills. If you're fresh out of college and looking for a job, you might want to hone those skills before diving head-first into the world of work.
Women in the workforce stand at an advantage too. In India, the talent pool for women increases by 29% more than it does for men when companies hire for skills, especially in jobs traditionally dominated by men. What this translates to is greater representation for women in the workforce alongside wider access to opportunities.
"Skills-first hiring is a gateway to equal opportunity, especially for those sections of the workforce who are often underrepresented due to stereotypical conventions or unconscious biases," adds Ruchee Anand, Senior Director, LinkedIn Talent Solutions. "Professionals who have the right skills today will be the ones that recruiters see more value in, especially in certain jobs and industries where the utility and potential for transferable skills are greater. At LinkedIn, we are committed to furthering the skills-first outlook and are constantly making strides to help professionals upskill and prepare for the ever-changing world of work."
The writing is on the wall – whether or not you're looking for a job right now, upgrading your skills and weaving them into your professional identity will be vital to future-proofing your career.