Taking a Skills-based Approach to Building the Future Workforce | McKinsey

Talent Acquisition

Employers are increasingly integrating skills into their talent practices—from workforce planning to hiring. Regarding hiring, a segment of firms is removing academic degree requirements and other criteria (e.g., specific experiences, credentials) from certain job postings in favor of a more skills-based approach. While these efforts are a step in the right direction, shifting to skills-based talent practices is difficult and takes time. This article describes a few challenges organizations have faced in transitioning to skills-based hiring. It also highlights a few tactics for overcoming these challenges. As shown in Exhibit 2, a few common challenges include: 1) sourcing (e.g., developing talent pipelines for job seekers without 4-year college degrees, 2) validating skills (screening resumes of non-degree holders and identifying relevant skills indicators; developing and implementing skills-focused interview assessments). Another foundational barrier that I see to implementing skills-based practices is that many organizations still lack a common language or taxonomy for describing and discussing skills. Establishing a common skills language can help organizations overcome barriers to skill-based talent practices while accelerating the transition.