Skilled talents are rare, hard to find and difficult to hire. But we need professional employees capable of resolving problems and completing required tasks.
When you talk to people, every other person seems to look for a job or is not satisfied with the actual one, especially when it comes to certain groups like women or the +50-age group.
46,1 million people resident in Germany were in employment in October 2023, the unemployment rate is at 3,1%, we life a “War for Talents”, a war for skilled employees.
A skill is a learned ability to perform a task competently, developed through training and experience. It involves technical knowledge and proficiency in a particular area. Skills include job-related hard skills and soft skills such as communication or problem-solving. Skills, especially hard skills can be learnt and as every job has its characteristics we learn and grow continuously.
What are the skills we have to know for a new job or our job in the future and how do we acquire them once accomplished university or education?
Learn about your industry, developments, the future to understand which may be the topics you have to address. Read industry publications and news, job descriptions to understand what employers are looking for. Investigate in your professional network by attending events, online forums and webinars or talks on LinkedIn.
The gaps however remain due to fast development, rapid technological changes and automation or simply non-information and little transparency or communication.
Skills gap refers to the discrepancy between the skills that employees currently have, and the skills required for their job roles, may it be hard – (technical or specialized) or soft (communication and leadership for example) skills.
Companies and organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of closing these gaps not only through hiring new employees or interim managers with the needed skills but also through investing in the training and development of the existing workforce.
Conducting a skills gap analysis organizations identify necessary skills and implement programs to prepare their teams for future changes.
The skills gap analysis involves several steps. First you identify clearly your business goals to determine key skills needed. You then assess the current skills of your employees (find out more) and compare with the ones your business goals require. Uncovering the gaps, you can set up an action plan to upskill employees through training and workshops. Information is crucial here.
These steps should become best practice to avoid a skills gap and implement continuous, lifelong learning.
Economy moves fast with new technologies, automation, digitalization, AI, a new generation with the claim for purpose and work-life balance and a planet that urgently needs protection. Sustainability and AI are new business strings, and they are worth a lot, starting from e-cars to sustainable investments and climate neutral companies. The Covid virus gave a boost in another direction. We have to accept a lot of fast changes and challenges, maybe more than ever.
These have to be faced with the respective skills.
Can we afford in this fast-paced economy to hire university graduates or employees with skills that may not correspond the skills we need to cover in order to reach our goals?
A University education provides rather profound theoretical knowledge, it teaches to address a problem in a certain systematic way, and this is useful. However, soft skills are not taught and hard skills in a rather general way, not on the job. For talents to have an edge they have to be aware of the skills they bring along and the skills required.
Skill-based hiring focuses on specific skills and competencies relevant to the job, rather than traditional markers like educational background or previous job titles. In contrast, other forms of hiring often emphasize credentials, degrees, and experience in similar roles. Skill-based hiring assesses candidates based on their ability to perform tasks required for the position, using methods like practical assessments or skill tests. This approach can be more inclusive and provide more accurate measure of a candidate's potential job performance.
Decisions are based on how well the candidate demonstrates the required skills in different situations regardless of formal educational background and career path.
The hiring process usually involves the job analysis, the skill-focused job description, the assessment of skills, structured interviews and the evaluation based on the demonstrated skills.
Skill-based hiring faces different challenges:
- The identifying of relevant skills: accurately identifying all necessary skills for a job can be a complex task.
- Skill assessment: to develop effective methods can be difficult and time consuming. Virtual reality could be a valuable approach, being part of the assessment.
- Bias in skill evaluation: there is always a risk of bias in evaluating skills, especially if the assessment criteria are not clearly defined. Skill based evaluation is qualitative and leaves more space of interpretation. Does this make it less reliable?
- Time and resources: the skill-based approach can require more time and resources for the hiring process.
- Integration with traditional HR systems: aligning skill-based hiring with existing HR systems and processes can be challenging. Some companies may prefer the classis methods.
- Balancing skills and cultural fit: focussing too much on skills may oversee the importance of cultural fit.
Skill based hiring means thinking “out of the box”. It takes courage to renounce conventional methods of evaluation and hiring, but it also provides chances and can benefit companies and talents in several ways.
- Opportunities for diverse candidates: doors for individuals who might lack traditional qualifications but possess the necessary skills can be opened. This is an opportunity for both, talents and companies, especially during a War for Talents. Talent pool and job options increase.
- Meritocracy: Talents are evaluated and rewarded based on their actual abilities, promoting a fairer hiring process.
- Focus on development: this hiring approach encourages people to learn, to develop further and acquire new skills to stay competitive.
- Career flexibility: skill-based hiring opens up different career paths, allowing talents to leverage their skills in various roles or industries. This leads to more interconnection and interlacing. Talents benefit from more options, more knowledge and acquire more skills.
- Fairer evaluation: biases related to educational, or work history are reduced.
The economy is changing with the world, companies are changing, the hiring and handling of workforce is changing. Employees and generation Z are looking for a different world of work and life. The hiring process needs humans, but will more and more be accompanied by AI and its endless possibilities:
- Virtual reality will be used for candidate assessment, allowing them to showcase their skills in simulated environments.
- AI powered chatbots will assist in initial candidate screening and answering queries. They will become more sophisticated, more popular and more widely accepted. They help HR professionals safe time before more in-depth evaluation and will eventually be able to evaluate also human qualities like work ethic and cultural fit.
- In a ´War for Talents´ candidate experience is an important focus. The experience has to be positive which is crucial to be attractive as an employer. Candidate experience is a multiplier.
- Targeted recruiting ads, focusing on skills, help reach appropriate candidates by leveraging the right keywords and job descriptions.
- AI helps to assess talents quickly and accurately.
The hiring process becomes more technology driven on one hand side. On the other side there is a development towards skill-based hiring. Through e-learning platforms (see and Virtual Reality required job skills can be trained in a less formal, immediate, fast and cost-effective way. Some traditional, rather conservative companies as in the pharma industry may not acknowledge this form of hiring. They will have to adapt. The “New world of Work” (read more) is here.
Companies like Boeing, Walmart and IBM do hire skill-based.
“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways”.
Robert Greene, US author
Or as Warren Buffet states in a very simple way: “The more you learn, the more you earn”.
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