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  • Writer's pictureL3 Global Ventures

Skills: How They Can Drive the Post-Pandemic Workplace

Picture this: A world where your skills surpass your academic credits.

For many years, a Bachelor's degree has been viewed as the passport stamp to the professional world, paving the way for what will happen for the rest of our professional lives. This suggests that the nature of our work and the abilities and knowledge needed to carry it out remain constant for a lifetime, which is no longer the case.

Analysts have pointed out that in light of the Great Resignation, some companies and firms began to loosen up their hiring criteria as the labor market started to shift, which may eventually lead to other businesses following suit.

According to Matt Sigelman, President of the Burning Glass Institute, today's executives are acutely aware of and affected by the talent shortage. Therefore, when a firm cannot find the workers, it needs to operate, it has to start becoming more thoughtful about essential elements, like a college degree, and think: "Perhaps we don't need it."

Inclusivity with a Reset in Degree

According to Sigelman, the need for degrees has frequently resulted in bias in the recruiting process, with qualified applicants without a college degree, also known as hidden employees or STARs (skilled through alternative routes), being immediately disqualified.

Formerly, businesses and corporations hired employees on an exclusion basis. So, despite having a large stack of resumes, they start filtering them "to whittle down the stack." However, with the economy falling short in terms of talent, this traditional equation has to be flipped as employers need to develop a process based on inclusion.

Developing the Talent

Besides changing the hiring basis, the focus also has to shift from finding talent to nurturing it by reallocating resources and creating training programs to help develop employees.

In contrast to the widespread belief that a college degree will make someone better at their job, former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty discussed the impact of hiring for skills rather than education during the Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit in 2019. She noted that contrary to popular belief, she and other leaders on her team discovered that a skill-based hire's ability to perform and curiosity matched everyone else in the company.

Making an Effective Switch

According to Sigelman, it's crucial for business executives to clearly understand the nature of the work by pinpointing the hard and soft talents needed to design a hiring process that prioritizes skills over degrees. The reason businesses and corporations depend on degree requirements is because their recruitment staff does not necessarily possess a clear view of what the work involves. Suppose a company wants to substitute talent for college degrees. In that case, they need to remove filters that could hold people back from applying, eventually giving them a clearer vision of what is required.

Additionally, Sigelman says that when evaluating required skills and professional experiences, company leaders need to perform dedicated research on correlated elements that contribute to the success of their company. Understanding the data can help leaders successfully identify their winning points, as well as their pain points. The data can also help leaders and recruitment staff identify which parts of the hiring process need to be added, enhanced, or removed to give applicants a less tedious experience.

In the end, emphasizing employees' skill sets will increase a business' talent pool and compel executives and leaders to eradicate the false belief that education is equal to qualification. This shift can prove to be a testament that there is truly more to learn beyond the classroom.

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