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Competency-Led Hiring on the Rise

group making hiring decisions

Employers are increasingly considering competencies — rather than degrees — as the most important factor in hiring, according to a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The organization surveyed 500 hiring managers across the United States to better understand the talent marketplace and the needs and challenges of making hiring decisions.

Seventy-four percent of respondents agreed that a skills gap persists in today's workforce, and 59 percent said that finding qualified candidates has been more difficult than it was over the last three years. As a result, the report said, "Skill-based hiring is becoming more prevalent in order to find candidates with the right competencies, and educational initiatives are shifting to equip individuals with skills aligned to those most in demand by employers."

Hiring managers recognize that change is needed: Seventy-eight percent said they will need to reassess they way they hire in order to find suitable candidates, and 45 percent said that changing hiring processes is a priority in their organization. Sixty-seven percent expected the use of skills assessments as part of the interview process to increase over the next year.

The survey also asked hiring managers how the skills gap should be fixed. Their top three potential solutions were:

  • Implementing more upskilling initiatives within companies for existing employees;
  • Partnering with education programs to build talent pipelines; and
  • Better aligning education curricula with the skills and competencies needed in the workforce.

In fact, many respondents said they are already partnering with the education community as a way to source talent. The most common partnership was with community education institutions (such as community colleges), cited by 49 percent of respondents, followed by technical/trade institutions (40 percent), higher education institutions (37 percent) and high schools (22 percent). Among those participating in such partnerships, 65 percent said those relationships are extremely or very effective at providing talent to their organization, and 61 percent said maintaining or improving those relationships is a priority for their companies.

The full report, "Hiring in the Modern Talent Marketplace," is available on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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