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Why Skills, Why Now? Understanding The Current Talent Landscape

Economic uncertainty and changing requirements means that organizations need to be ready to pivot quickly to adapt to changing conditions. The ongoing talent shortages and tight budgets mean that businesses cannot rely on hiring alone to cover their skills gaps: they need to adopt more agile strategies that tap into the skills of their current workforce.

According to 54% of business leaders in our report, Navigating The Changing Talent Landscape, increasing skills shortages (i.e. it’s harder to find the skills they need) will be one of the top talent challenges they face in the next 12 months. Being able to adapt talent approaches quickly to changing market conditions was cited by 51% of the business leaders in our survey.

Businesses know that, without an agile approach to filling skills gaps, they face numerous problems: higher costs to recruit and time to fill roles, a lower chance of reaching DE&I goals and creating diverse teams, lower productivity and engagement amongst their teams, and – ultimately – risks to revenue.

To address talent challenges, businesses need to think differently about hiring for skills and potential rather than experience. But the old methods persist: 88% of hirers are still filtering out highly skilled candidates because they don’t fit the exact criteria of the job description, according to a report by Harvard Business School and Accenture.

Embracing a skills-first approach

A skills-first approach to talent management – looking at your talent through the lens of skills, and matching those people to opportunities based on a shared understanding of the skills needed to do the work – gives organizations a more holistic picture of what they have and need, and helps them make smarter talent decisions quickly and at scale.

When you structure your talent strategy around skills (instead of previous experience or job titles) you give recruiters a much larger talent pool to work with.

With the knowledge of the skills gaps your organization has, it becomes much easier to know the specific skills you need to look for to fill the gaps – and whether these could be plugged by internal candidates.

With the right technology applied to your skills data, you can assess if there are people in your organization or wider talent pool with ‘adjacent’ skills, or people ready to be reskilled towards more critical business needs.

Benefits of a skills-first approach

According to Deloitte, skills-based organizations are:

  • 107% more likely to place talent effectively
  • 98% more likely to retain high performers and
  • 57% more likely to anticipate change and respond effectively and efficiently.

Over two thirds of business leaders we spoke to (68%) think a skills-first approach to hiring, which focuses on a person’s capabilities and competences more than their formal education and time spent in a previous job, can better support business growth in their organization. And 49% agreed that a skills-centric approach “Supports transformation initiatives by better mobilizing skills of existing employees.”

81% of our respondents in Navigating The Changing Talent Landscape agreed that skills-first hiring can better align the needs of employers and employees, making work work better for everyone.

Understanding the skills you have and the skills you need – and having a consistent skills language across the entire organization – can help support more strategic approaches to hiring, workforce planning, reskilling and redeployment, and employee development. Ultimately, a skills-based approach to talent can have a positive impact on your day-to-day activities and your organization’s bottom line... and help you close those looming skills gaps.

Learn more about becoming a skills-based organization