IBM shifts focus from degrees to skills-based hiring
- With over half a million open tech-related jobs in the U.S. today, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, IBM is shifting its focus from credential-based hiring to skills-based. Their CEO says the company plans to hire 6,000 employees by year's end, many with unconventional backgrounds.
- About 15% of the company's hires in the U.S. don’t hold a 4-year degree. IBM's new hiring initiative is part of a larger trend industry-wide to bring on candidates with necessary skills from a wider applicant pool, including high school partnerships, boot-camp style programs and the self-taught.
- Last year, IBM promised to invest $1 billion in training and development of their employees over the next four years, promising to hire 25,000. Many openings do not require a Bachelor’s degree. At some of their locations, up to 1/3 of employees do not hold a degree.
As with so many other companies competing for tech talent in a shrinking labor market, IBM is looking for hands-on skill rather than credentials. As more workers continue to pursue self-guided learning, the skills-based model will grow. Bootcamp-style immersion programs are gaining momentum across the country.
One of these private coding academies, The Flatiron School in New York, was recently purchased by WeWork. While they specialize in micro-credentialing for coders, other schools are focusing more narrowly, providing immersion training in AI and VR.
Vivek Ravisankar, co-founder & CEO of HackerRank, was frustrated with the lack of truly qualified candidates that came through conventional, even top-tier channels. "The skills gap is really a pipeline problem. Hiring should be based on skill, not pedigree," he told HR Dive. With tech skills so in demand and so easily acquired from alternate sourcing, the skills-based model will likely continue to grow.
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