Skill or Degree: Rethinking the Future of Work

Whether the job market is cooling – or it isn’t –those with tech skills still will be greatly in ...

Whether the job market is cooling – or it isn’t –those with tech skills still will be greatly in demand.

As in: Skills will be at a premium and interest in folks with these skills could well be stratospheric.

Some facts:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in early April that employment in the tech sector (which, it should be noted, includes all people on a tech company’s payroll, not just those who have IT skills), fell in March by about 839 jobs.

Yet – oh, and yet! – employer job postings for tech positions increased by 75,546 month-over-month in March. The numbers totaled 316,000 openings, with a tech unemployment rate of just 2.2 percent.

But the major point here is this: there “are far more openings than people to fill them.”

If you’re a tech hiring manager, that’s a problem

If you don’t have the talent, you:

    • Can’t move your company into the future – you’ll always be playing catch up. Or worse: you’ll be working extremely hard just to not fall behind.
    • Your current team members may need to work longer hours, potentially incurring burnout.
    • The quality of your service/product could decline, potentially causing you to lose customers/not gain new ones.
    • If this continues, you could lose revenue/profit, potentially affecting not just profitability, but possibly your very ability to remain in business.


What’s a CEO, HR officer, CFO and, of course, a CIO to do?

Hire for capabilities, not credentials

 This is what we mean by that: hire for skills, not a degree.

Many highly talented tech pros may not have a college degree, but instead possess the skills, certifications, and experience needed for a particular IT job.

A skills-based hire is one in which a company/hiring manager focuses on a candidate’s skills – and possibly past performance in a previous position – rather than the “traditional” qualifications of a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

    • Hiring for capabilities focuses on job-based skills as well as performance rather than degrees or even certain IT certifications.
    • Focusing on a candidate’s skills widens your talent pool while also increasing your chances of finding the right person for the job. (This can be especially pertinent in fields such as cybersecurity and data analytics, in which demand for these professionals far outstrips the available talent pool.)
    • A larger talent pool also means a speedier time-to-hire as well as access to a more diverse group of candidates.
    • In addition, you’ll also spend less time onboarding/training skilled workers, saving you additional time and funds.
    • Hiring for skills can also streamline your recruitment process because a company can focus on the most important factors: the actual skills and experience needed to do the job.
    • Companies could also find they hire a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Valuing skills/experience over academic credentials can reduce bias and create opportunities for team members from a wider range of experiences and backgrounds.

An accelerating trend

 Hiring for skills rather than degrees already is well underway and is expected to grow in coming years due to the rapid pace of technological change.

New tech continually emerges and existing ones continue to evolve; therefore, the demand for uber-specialized skills will only increase and those companies that quickly identify and hire these candidates will have a leg up on their competitors.

Hiring for skills also helps companies meet the changing nature or work itself. The IT industry is moving from the traditional employment model to a more flexible, project-based approach.

As such, those organizations that can quickly assemble teams of skilled IT pros to take on specific projects or initiatives will have a great chance of moving ahead of companies that rely on the more traditional “needs” of hiring only credentialed pros.

Dexian can help IT companies, as well as those in the energy, telecom, retail, manufacturing/automotive, and the government/public sector find the people with the skills they need extremely quickly.

Need to put together a project-based team in a month for 18 months (or more or even less)?


Contact us!