Why Skills-Based Hiring Is The Future Of Recruitment
May 24, 2022
Jade Smith

“You must have 5 years’ experience in a public sector environment.”

Sound familiar?

Experience quotas and degrees are all too common essential criteria in job descriptions (JD) for mid-level roles. Yet, with the current high ratio of vacancies to active jobseekers, candidates who fit these criteria are gold dust. The solution to filling these vacancy gaps with excellent employees is skills-based hiring.

What Is Skills-Based Hiring?

In essence, skills-based hiring does away with formal qualifications such as degrees or years of experience. Instead, a candidate must meet certain competencies (ie. soft skills) for you to shortlist them. A candidate learns these skills through experience, but may also pick them up as transferable competencies through other roles or areas of their life.

Taking this approach prioritises a candidate’s potential over their background. Thus, you can remove barriers for hard-working candidates that you wouldn’t otherwise consider.

Why Should You Switch To Skills-Based Hiring?

Experience-based hiring has led to the phenomenon of “degree inflation”. This is where roles that didn’t previously require a formal qualification now specifiy one as essential in their JD. For example, a Harvard Business School study identified that two thirds of Production Supervisor JDs asked for a degree. Yet, only a tenth of currently employed Production Supervisors actually held a degree.

If you’re currently recruiting in the public sector, you are likely well aware that the demand for candidates vastly outstrips active jobseekers. With vacancies outnumbering candidates, jobseekers have the pick of the litter when it comes to choosing which organisations to apply for.

It is common practice to ask for qualifications in roles that don’t require them. Can your organisation afford to lose out on candidates who have excellent potential because they don’t have a specific background?

Skills-Based Benefits

Hiring candidates more easily in a competitive market isn’t the only benefit to taking this approach. Here are some of the improvements your organisation will experience when hiring mid-level candidates with a skills-based approach:

Diversity and Inclusion

If your team is focusing on removing recruitment bias, you should use a skills-based hiring process. Candidates from minority backgrounds may not have had the opportunities they need to develop their career due to past bias and institutional discrimination. This gives an unfair advantage to candidates from privileged backgrounds.

Focusing on a candidate’s competencies will reduce bias in your hiring process and give more opportunities to candidates who have great potential to succeed in your organisation without a formal qualification or background.

Employee Retention

Did you know candidates with a degree or sector-specific experience are twice as likely to leave jobs for vacancies that pay more money than their non-graduate colleagues? This is typically due to the fact that graduates expect to earn more, and will likely consider competing organisations if there is a better offer on the table.

Hiring candidates who feel that their skills are being put to good use in their position will help to reduce turnover. Ultimately, this will save your organisation money too, as you will accrue less cost in attempting to fill vacancies.


If you’ve been reading our blogs, you’ll know that employer value proposition (EVP) is currently a major topic in recruitment. Skills-based hiring offers you an opportunity to upskill candidates from within, using peer mentoring and coaching to help employees excel at their role. This creates an environment where your employees feel that they are supported to develop their careers.

A JGP study of jobsgopublic candidates demonstrated that around a third of candidates see upskilling as a key career benefit. This means that nurturing candidates with potential through skills-based hiring is a key way to promote your workplace culture when competing with other organisations.

Are you ready to reap the benefits of a skills-based hiring approach? Get in touch to see how JGP can help you to reach prospective candidates.

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