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HigherJanuary 2023

This is how skill-based recruitment can lead to better diversity in a workplace 

Diversity in the workplace – a trend or here to stay? 

In the US, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer was the role that grew the most in leadership positions. Today, companies have realized the value of diversity among employees. Many candidates also highlight it as an important factor when choosing a workplace. Diversity also means opportunities in a broader sense for businesses. 

Diversity is rarely something that arises out of the blue. It takes purposeful work to achieve results, work that must permeate all plans in the organization. Many companies today have adopted strategies to address this issue. In 2021, the major banks in Europe introduced a bonus system for their managers linked to diversity goals in the workplace. 

It is absolutely crucial during the recruitment process to ensure that there is a range of candidates that reflects the diversity that exists within the desired area of ​​skills. 


Skill-based recruitment instead of focus on previous experience 

One way to broaden your candidate pool, and by extension, increase the likelihood of greater diversity, is to use skill-based recruitment. 

A pitfall for a recruiter, in general and especially if diversity is sought, is to equate a candidate’s skills and competences too lightly with his professional history. An example is to, in the first place, look for a candidate who previously held exactly the professional title you are looking for at another company. 

Keep in mind that tasks and requirements profile for a position can be significantly different in companies, even though the job title is the same. Several factors come into play. For example, that companies are at different stages in their development, the businesses differ on an organizational level, the composition, chemistry, and division of labor between the employees varies and so on. A candidate’s professional experience, or CV in general, does not have to say much about competence and suitability for your business. 

A similar pitfall is using only a certain education, or perhaps even a specific school, the candidate attended, as a decisive selection criterion. This means that candidates who in fact have exactly the skills you are looking for, but have usurped them in the “wrong” way, are excluded. 

Looking exclusively for employees from the same circle of people who have traditionally held a specific position or attended a certain type of training also risks leading to a homogenization of candidates. Something that hardly increases the diversity among the employees, or, for that matter, contributes new, valuable perspectives in the business. 


Successful recruitment and job posting 

In a report from March 2022, LinkedIn writes, among other things, that: hirers leveraging skills data to find the right match are 60% more likely to find a successful hire than those not relying on skills. That is, recruiters who create their requirements profile by successfully identifying what actual skills are required for the position, rather than focusing on a perceived “suitable background and experience”, significantly increase their chances of success with their recruitment. It further describes that a consequence of more people using skill-based recruitment (“finding talent by skills”) and “by removing unnecessary credentials” has led to underrepresented groups having greater opportunities to enter the labor market and advance in their careers. 

LinkedIn themselves have introduced skills-based recruitment for a number of positions. Other key examples are IBM and Merck. On its platform, LinkedIn noted a 21% increase in just one year of ads that focused on required skills and the job’s responsibilities rather than requirements for specific professional background, education or other documentation. 

A culture of diversity and open-minded recruitment at the company should also be signaled in the job advertisement. Tone, choice of words and a clear angle towards concrete skills “here and now” and not a certain history (which, by the way, by definition is just history) means that you attract a larger selection and increase the diversity among candidates. 


The recruitment process – the first step 

It is possible to work with diversity on several levels in an organization, but the foundation is made in the recruitment process. With skill-based recruitment, it is concretely mapped which skills are required for various roles within the company. In this way, the focus is shifted from background and CV, something that risks excluding candidates on irrelevant grounds. Instead, it is solely about the candidate’s ability to take on the responsibility and perform the tasks that are actually required for the role. 


Read more about skill-based recruitment here.

What will recruitment look like going forward? What can we expect to see more of in the future? Read more about this topic here Recruitment guide for the future

Book a demo with us and we’ll show you how to use skill-based recruitment in our tool.