.
T

his year’s Global Talent Summit convened over 70 distinguished luminaries to discuss challenges and solutions related to reimagining the future of education and work in the post-pandemic era. Day one was dedicated to skills; qualifying and verifying skills, changing hiring practices to focus on skills, and the proxy of a degree or certification. Although these challenges are not new, they are especially prevalent given the millions of individuals in the U.S. and globally that are unemployed and looking for work.

My journey into the world of skills began at a subsidiary of Randstad based in New York City. I placed IT consultants for three major financial institutions (Bank of America, BNP Paribas, and Citigroup). My days consisted of meeting with hiring managers to understand their needs and working with my team of recruiters to find people that matched those needs. More often than not, hiring managers would not know what they needed and after getting them to finally communicate a list of hard or technical skills, they would always ask for an advanced degree as well. I learned very quickly that the person with the right mix of technical and human skills—even if they did not have the degree requested or lived in the preferred location—would almost always be hired, and it was my job to convince the hiring manager to interview them and continue the process.

The problem was that after a hiring manager would agree to hire the consultant, the human resources department got involved to finalize the process. That included posting the job to their applicant tracking system and the candidate submitting their resume online. In almost all cases their resume would be rejected because it did not meet the requirements of the job posting. If I had not been involved to interject, that candidate would have never made it past the robot.

Fifteen years later and although a few organizations, like IBM and their New Collar program, have made concerted efforts to focus on skills and not degrees, the majority have not innovated. Most employers are still concerned that they cannot find the qualified talent needed for their open jobs and that candidates with degrees no longer have the foundational skills they expect. Most people are unsure how to communicate the skills they have gained through a multitude of experiences. And most educators are struggling to communicate what skills they are teaching. What is causing the continued miscommunication between employers, employees, and educators when we all agree that skills-based hiring and learning is the key?

Many believe the skills miscommunication is due to the high cost of time and technology to adopt skills-based hiring and learning practices. A coalition of employers, education organizations, and technology providers has recently formed to tackle this challenge. Building off of the work of Concentric Sky, Credential Engine, Emsi, and others, the Open Skills Network was formed to accelerate the shift to skills-based hiring and learning by establishing a set of open, machine-actionable skills libraries. With coordination from BrightHive, support from Walmart, Western Governors University, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, this coalition also hopes to develop shared technology and toolsets to eliminate further barriers of implementation of skills-based hiring and learning at scale.

The Learner Employment Records (LER) movement is eliminating the risk of hiring candidates by creating trusted and verified records that can be shared digitally. The Velocity Network Foundation is one such player that has created a nonprofit consortium of global industry leaders that govern an open source platform. Once again, the focus on open source technology to reduce barriers of implementation and enabling large scale adoption across the hiring and learning ecosystem.      

Skills-based hiring and learning is not only more efficient and effective, but also removes bias in the hiring process. The Open Skills initiative coupled with the continued development of Learner Employment Records (LER) gives us hope that we are just on the horizon of a true shift to an equitable hiring and learning environment.

About
Kelly R. Bailey
:
Kelly R. Bailey is the Global Skills Evangelist at Emsi, the Founder & Host of the 'Let's Talk About Skills, Baby' Podcast.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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Shift from Degrees to Skills

October 15, 2020

T

his year’s Global Talent Summit convened over 70 distinguished luminaries to discuss challenges and solutions related to reimagining the future of education and work in the post-pandemic era. Day one was dedicated to skills; qualifying and verifying skills, changing hiring practices to focus on skills, and the proxy of a degree or certification. Although these challenges are not new, they are especially prevalent given the millions of individuals in the U.S. and globally that are unemployed and looking for work.

My journey into the world of skills began at a subsidiary of Randstad based in New York City. I placed IT consultants for three major financial institutions (Bank of America, BNP Paribas, and Citigroup). My days consisted of meeting with hiring managers to understand their needs and working with my team of recruiters to find people that matched those needs. More often than not, hiring managers would not know what they needed and after getting them to finally communicate a list of hard or technical skills, they would always ask for an advanced degree as well. I learned very quickly that the person with the right mix of technical and human skills—even if they did not have the degree requested or lived in the preferred location—would almost always be hired, and it was my job to convince the hiring manager to interview them and continue the process.

The problem was that after a hiring manager would agree to hire the consultant, the human resources department got involved to finalize the process. That included posting the job to their applicant tracking system and the candidate submitting their resume online. In almost all cases their resume would be rejected because it did not meet the requirements of the job posting. If I had not been involved to interject, that candidate would have never made it past the robot.

Fifteen years later and although a few organizations, like IBM and their New Collar program, have made concerted efforts to focus on skills and not degrees, the majority have not innovated. Most employers are still concerned that they cannot find the qualified talent needed for their open jobs and that candidates with degrees no longer have the foundational skills they expect. Most people are unsure how to communicate the skills they have gained through a multitude of experiences. And most educators are struggling to communicate what skills they are teaching. What is causing the continued miscommunication between employers, employees, and educators when we all agree that skills-based hiring and learning is the key?

Many believe the skills miscommunication is due to the high cost of time and technology to adopt skills-based hiring and learning practices. A coalition of employers, education organizations, and technology providers has recently formed to tackle this challenge. Building off of the work of Concentric Sky, Credential Engine, Emsi, and others, the Open Skills Network was formed to accelerate the shift to skills-based hiring and learning by establishing a set of open, machine-actionable skills libraries. With coordination from BrightHive, support from Walmart, Western Governors University, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, this coalition also hopes to develop shared technology and toolsets to eliminate further barriers of implementation of skills-based hiring and learning at scale.

The Learner Employment Records (LER) movement is eliminating the risk of hiring candidates by creating trusted and verified records that can be shared digitally. The Velocity Network Foundation is one such player that has created a nonprofit consortium of global industry leaders that govern an open source platform. Once again, the focus on open source technology to reduce barriers of implementation and enabling large scale adoption across the hiring and learning ecosystem.      

Skills-based hiring and learning is not only more efficient and effective, but also removes bias in the hiring process. The Open Skills initiative coupled with the continued development of Learner Employment Records (LER) gives us hope that we are just on the horizon of a true shift to an equitable hiring and learning environment.

About
Kelly R. Bailey
:
Kelly R. Bailey is the Global Skills Evangelist at Emsi, the Founder & Host of the 'Let's Talk About Skills, Baby' Podcast.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.