Organizations that use skills-based practices — such as career mapping for skill sets and hiring that focuses on ability instead of degrees — outperform their peers that don’t do so, according to a Deloitte report published Sept. 21. But many organizations are struggling to make significant changes amid calls for workplace agility, Deloitte noted.
Some of the changes Deloitte mentions in its report extend to the function of the job itself; 60% of executives surveyed said “fractionalized work,” or work that allows workers to flow between tasks based on their skills or interests, would create better value for an organization. And a plurality of workers said that “broadened work,” or work that is structured around broad problems to be solved, would be the best way to organize work.
While almost 90% of executives surveyed said skills are becoming the way their organizations are “defining work, deploying talent, managing careers and valuing employees” — and 90% of organizations said they are “actively experimenting” with skills-based programming — 59% of workers surveyed said their organizations still value degrees and job experience over “demonstrated skills and potential.”
That disconnect has been noted by various organizations, even as President Joe Biden made public calls for workers to consider “skills not degrees.”
According to a Cengage report from July, a majority of employers surveyed still require degrees for entry-level jobs, due in part to questions over the value of credentials and other nondegree signals of skill. But many recognized that removing that requirement would help them find workers.
Similarly, 72% of employers in Morning Consult survey data released in August said that they didn’t see degrees as reliable signals for candidates possessing the right skills, but just over half admitted they still hired from degree programs because it felt less risky. Young workers are also wary of the risk; only 31% surveyed said nondegree programs were a better long-term investment than a degree, and 65% were worried about choosing the wrong path altogether.
Employers who have pushed for skills-first programming noted that it required a complete rebuild of their job descriptions and positions. But doing so helped them remove barriers to significant sources of talent, one organization said during a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs virtual event in July.
As agility once again comes into focus with employers entering the post-pandemic era, skills will likely remain a top priority for organizations, Deloitte’s report noted.