- Skill assessments may become a mainstay, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. More than half (56%) of employers surveyed by SHRM said they use pre-hire skill assessments to ascertain applicants’ abilities, with 1 in 4 planning to expand that use in the next five years, the association announced Aug. 15.
- Additionally, 79% of HR pros surveyed said skill assessment scores are “just as or more important than traditional criteria,” such as minimum years of experience and degrees.
- However, 36% of respondents said a job candidate that scores well on an assessment but doesn’t meet the experience requirements would be “very likely” to make it on a list of final candidates; 28% said the same for applicants that didn’t meet education requirements.
Various groups — including the White House — have pushed for a skills-based approach to hiring to widen talent pools, especially as training alternatives to four-year degrees proliferate. Tech bootcamp certifications, online courses and professional certifications are all types of “alternative credentials” becoming more common in the market. SHRM has previously voiced support of such credentials as one way for employers to meet their diversity and equity goals and boost career development.
But employers may not be ready for that change just yet. While some employers, including the state of Maryland, have dropped degree requirements all together, they remain a mainstay for many job postings. A majority of employers surveyed by Cengage said they require degrees for entry-level jobs despite agreeing that real-world experience may be “more important” than degrees. Some admitted they relied on such requirements because “that’s the way it’s always been done,” according to Cengage.
Notably, employers have said in other surveys that they recognize degree programs may not be a reliable way to determine an applicant’s skills, but many said they continued to rely on degrees because it felt like the less risky choice.
For employers considering skills-based hiring, experts have said the effort could require a complete overhaul of job descriptions and job functions. It also may require recruiters to consider their own biases when it comes to hiring, experts said during a June 28 webinar presented by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.