• Andrea Glispie

Using Skills to Match Open Positions to the Best Candidates

With support provided by JPMorgan Chase and National Fund for Workforce Solutions, Pathways to Work recently launched the Technology Skills-Based Hiring Innovation Lab to diversity & inclusion, human resources or talent development professionals of local companies in need of middle-skill IT workers l explore how to use skill-based hiring methodologies to recruit, assess, and on board talent. Alkami Technologies, Cognizant, Dallas County Community College District, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and JPMorgan Chase are participating.

Skills-based hiring practices enable employers to set specific skill or competency requirements for new hires. Skills may be “hard” or technical (i.e. industry recognized certifications) or “soft” (i.e. customer service). Skills-based hiring allows job applicants to demonstrate that he or she has the skills required to be successful on the job independent of a four-year college degree. This results in employers being better able to match open positions to the best candidates.

The impetus for the lab is labor market research that Pathways recently commissioned on the number of local job postings for entry-level IT positions that list a BA or BS college degree as a requirement and compared this to the number of current entry-level IT workers that hold these degrees to determine the extent of degree inflation in the local labor market. Degree inflation refers to the practice of requiring a college diploma for jobs that do not typically need it. The analysis found that while the need for entry-level IT workers like Computer User Support Specialists is expected to increase more in the Dallas area (16.1 percent) as compared to national growth (8.1 percent) between 2017-2021, over half of local job postings for this position specify an education requirement of at least a Bachelor’s degree and three to five years of experience. Requiring more education and experience than what is needed to be successful on the job can exacerbate skill shortages already plaguing employers because this practice keeps them accessing wider pool of qualified workers.

Innovation lab participants will look at skills-based hiring job postings, hiring platforms, and emerging assessments of jobseekers’ workplace competencies and soft skills over a series of learning modules that run through May. Each learning module takes place over a 2.5 to 3-hour period. It features peer learning, one on one expert consulting, and guest speakers like Skillful. Participants also have the chance to apply what they learn in existing business operations.

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