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Four out of five new hires don’t have the skills for the job, says Gartner

By Dawn Gibson 

A mere 16% of new employees possess the skills they need for their current and future roles, a clear sign that companies need to dramatically rethink their recruiting strategies, according to global research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc.

Lauren Smith, vice president in the Gartner HR practice, advocates that organisations pivot from ‘replacing the workforce’ to ‘shaping the workforce’ – that is, placing less stock on traditional talent pools and instead sourcing more broadly, defining needs based on skills rather than hiring profiles, and creating responsive employment value propositions (EVPs). “Traditional recruiting methods are unable to compete with the large-scale shifts to the workplace and the labour market,” she points out. “The best recruiting functions that excel in these workforce-shaping behaviours see a 24% increase in quality of hire. High-quality talent can have a significant impact on business outcomes, including individuals who successfully perform in their roles 20% faster and teams that get a 19% boost in their ability to meet future challenges.”

Skills Come First

Gartner data shows that existing roles may require up to 10 new skills by 2021, at a time when economic instability has made traditional talent pools less viable as high-quality candidates with traditional qualifications are unlikely to leave their current positions.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced employers to rethink how to best get work done and what skills their employees will need to adapt in this new context.

However, hiring managers typically focus on candidate profiles, recycling the last job description and adding new desired skills to the list, which creates an impossible task for recruiters to find ‘unicorn’ candidates.

According to Gartner, leading companies are shifting their focus towards defining the essential skills needed to get the job done. To be effective in this new approach, recruiters need to understand skill needs in the larger context of the organisation-wide strategy, which may be done by leveraging HR partnerships.

HR leaders should also consider where their search criteria can be broadened. For instance, can the organisation look at candidate potential over credentials, or hire based on where the talent is located, not where the business is located?

Drive EVP Responsiveness

Another key research finding is that 65% of candidates have cut short the hiring process because they found certain aspects of the job, such as work-life balance, development opportunities, or company culture, unattractive.

“To deliver on changing candidate expectations, the best organisations are leveraging labour market insights – direct candidate feedback, competitor EVP offerings, employee needs – to inform and adapt their EVP to today’s environment,” Smith says. “Progressive organisations use these insights to inform job design and new employee experience initiatives.”

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