Skills-Based Hiring: Closing the UK’s Skills Gap

In the face of a glaring skills gap that sees 80% of UK organisations struggling to find skilled talent, it’s clear that the traditional hiring models are losing their efficacy. At the same time, an air of caution hangs over hiring plans, leaving businesses and employees at a critical junction. The solution, as experts are beginning to advocate, lies in a transformative shift towards skills-based hiring. This approach not only helps close the skills gap but also opens up new opportunities for employee growth and organisational development.

The Urgency for Change: Adapting to the Skills Gap

The UK job market’s cry for evolution is loud and clear. With most companies unable to source the talent they need to drive growth and innovation, sticking to the status quo is no longer an option. Traditional hiring practices, heavily reliant on qualifications and past job titles, often overlook the vast reservoir of untapped potential residing in candidates who may lack conventional credentials but possess the requisite skills and the adaptability to excel.

Skills-based hiring represents a bold step forward, focusing on what truly matters: the abilities and potential of candidates. It’s a model that not only broadens the talent pool but also aligns more closely with the dynamic nature of today’s job market, where new technologies and business needs can rapidly change the skills landscape.

Defining Skills-Based Hiring

At its core, skills-based hiring urges employers to move beyond the resume and assess and value candidates based on their actual skills and their potential to grow. This means prioritising what candidates can do over where they’ve been, using tools and assessments that gauge real-world capabilities and problem-solving skills, rather than screening based on degrees and past job titles.

By focusing on skills, employers are able to tap into a larger and more diverse talent pool, as candidates from non-traditional backgrounds are given the opportunity to showcase their abilities. Furthermore, skills-based hiring allows companies to adapt more easily to the ever-evolving demands of the job market. With new technologies and business needs emerging at a rapid pace, employers need employees who can quickly learn and adapt to these changes. By prioritising skills over credentials, companies can ensure that they have a workforce that is agile and capable of meeting these challenges head-on.

Practical Steps to Implementing Skills-Based Hiring

The journey to adopting a skills-based hiring approach begins with a reevaluation of recruitment processes:

  • Develop a Skills Framework: Identify the core skills and competencies that drive success in your organisation, with an emphasis on both technical and soft skills.
  • Revamp Job Descriptions: Focus on the essential skills needed for each role rather than listing specific qualifications or years of experience as prerequisites.
  • Leverage Skills Assessments: Integrate skill assessments into the hiring process to objectively evaluate candidates’ abilities in a practical context. Tools such as Adaface, HighMatch, McQuaig and Pymetrics can be useful.
  • Train Hiring Teams: Equip your HR and hiring managers with the methods and tools to assess skills effectively and fairly, ensuring a bias-free selection process.

The shift to skills-based hiring doesn’t end with recruitment. It extends to nurturing a culture of continuous learning and development, encouraging employees to upskill and reskill as the market evolves. Open dialogues between employees and line managers about career development plans are crucial to this adaptive approach.

Organisational Benefits of Embracing Skills-Based Hiring

Adopting a skills-based hiring model sets the stage for numerous organisational benefits. It leads to increased productivity by ensuring employees have the right skills to excel in their roles from the outset. Innovation thrives in environments where diverse perspectives and skills are valued over traditional credentials, driving forward thinking and problem solving.

Additionally, this model promotes diversity by levelling the playing field for all candidates, ensuring opportunities are accessible based on ability, not background. Employee engagement also sees a significant boost, as staff feel valued for their contributions and empowered to develop their careers within the organisation.

Final Thoughts

The momentum towards skills-based hiring is growing. Organisations willing to embrace this change stand to gain a competitive edge, unlocking new levels of talent, innovation, and productivity. For employees, it heralds a more inclusive, fair, and dynamic job market where the focus on skills and potential paves the way for unprecedented career development opportunities.

The shift towards skills-based hiring is not just a trend; it’s a necessary evolution in response to the escalating skills gap and the changing nature of work in the digital age. Embracing skills-based hiring is not just a step into the future but a strategic move to ensure that businesses are equipped with the right talent to lead and succeed in the ever-evolving world of work.

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