Learning pathways for skills-first hires

Learning Pathways for Skills-First Hires

Building a society of skilled workers and adapting those skills over time isn’t anything new. It’s the story of innovation. It’s how America has evolved over time to meet technological and economic challenges.

by Katie Breault

Momentum for skills-first hiring is rapidly growing across organizations. Spurred by movements such as Tear the Paper Ceiling and non-profit advocates like Opportunity@Work, employers large and small recognize the value of building a more equitable workforce based on skills and abilities instead of degrees and pedigree.

From Accenture and Merck to LinkedIn and Cisco, companies are finding that skills-first hiring practices give them access to a broader talent pool to fill open positions and can lead to a more diverse and inclusive workforce. 

But hiring skilled talent is only the first step. In order for skills-first hires to excel, there must be a culture of upskilling and developing talent over time. This is where learning and development teams come into the picture. Skills-first hires are most successful when L&D teams build learning pathways to support talent with upskilling throughout their career.

Impact of the skills shortage

Building a society of skilled workers and adapting those skills over time isn’t anything new. It’s the story of innovation. It’s how America has evolved over time to meet technological and economic challenges. 

However, skills development concerns have resurfaced due to the tight labor market. Unemployment is low, and employers struggle to find and keep talent who have the skills and experience needed to do the work.  

PwC’s 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey found three-quarters of respondents said finding the right skills was a threat to their business. And the World Economic Forum estimates that by 2024 about 40 percent of workers will require reskilling of up to six months. 

The best way to meet hiring demands and address future needs for skills is to adopt skills-first hiring practices and combine them with pathways for L&D.

How to build learning pathways for early-career talent

L&D teams have always been tasked with training, filling in gaps with learning and creating career development solutions for employees. It’s what they do best. But it becomes even more critical if your organization implements a skills-based hiring strategy. 

This is why it’s vital that chief learning officers and their teams partner with HR, talent acquisition and hiring teams. Success happens when there is collaboration in building career pathways together.

Reskilling and upskilling of the current global workforce have the potential to boost GDP by $6.5 trillion and create 5.3 million new jobs by 2030. With potential like that, it’s time to get started. Here’s how.

Outline current and future hiring needs

First, identify where your greatest hiring needs are. This includes positions that are currently posted and those you anticipate needing in the near future. 

Think about roles that have remained unfilled for a long time. Consider where you see your workforce five to 10 years from now and what you may need then. 

Once you have a picture of where your needs are, it’s time to consider a different approach to getting them met. 

Create career maps to develop talent over time

Let’s imagine, for example, one of your greatest hiring needs is a senior cybersecurity specialist. Talent with the degree, experience and certifications you want may be hard to find. So instead of posting that role, try a different approach.

Hire early-career talent who have the potential to grow into a senior role over a period of time. Establish a career map that details the upskilling and training needed to help an entry-level cybersecurity specialist develop and advance. 

Maybe you anticipate that a year or two from now, you’ll need a manager to oversee your internal accounting department. Don’t wait until the need is there to post a manager position. Identify entry or mid-level skills needed to perform the basic functions of the role now, and map out what is needed to train them to step into a management role when the time comes.

Find the right partners with access to skilled talent

If finding skilled entry-level talent was easy, this discussion wouldn’t be necessary. But it’s challenging, and solutions are complex. Find a partner to help you navigate those challenges and connect you with the talent you need to support your business goals.

Partners can be non-profit talent developers, workforce development boards, or talent placement organizations. Look for partners that offer a work-based learning approach to filling open positions. For example, apprenticeships are a proven way to ensure productivity in the short term while talent learns and grows over the course of six to 12 months. It’s a low-risk, high-reward option where both talent and employer benefit. 

The right partner should also provide talent support and resources throughout their career journey. They can work hand-in-hand with L&D teams to develop detailed learning pathways and provide access to additional upskilling and certification programs. 

Hiring and L&D teams must come together

It’s estimated that by 2030, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people. In the technology sector alone, the labor-skills shortage will reach 4.3 million within the same time period. 

One reason for that is baby boomers and Gen Xers are retiring. In their place are millennials and Gen Zers who strongly value L&D opportunities. It’s one of the top reasons employees choose to work for an organization — just behind a good work/life balance. 

Additionally, 94 percent of entry-level employees would stay longer at a company if it invested in their career, and 63 percent of workers who quit jobs in 2021 cited lack of advancement opportunities as a reason. 

We know a skills-based hiring strategy is critical to meet the hiring needs of today and tomorrow. And it’s a successful collaboration between hiring and L&D teams that ensures the talent you bring into your organization stay, thrive, and advance.

Katie Breault

Katie Breault is the Senior Vice President of Growth & Impact at YUPRO Placement, the industry-leading skills-first placement firm. She has nearly a decade of experience in workforce development and connecting employers with talent skilled through alternative routes. In 2023, Katie was included on Pride Global’s list of Trailblazing Women, and she was named on the Staffing Industry Analyst (SIA) 40 Under 40 list in 2021. She is frequently asked to speak about how organizations can adopt skills-first hiring practices, and she serves as the Vice Chair for the ASA’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Council.

Source: Chief Learning Officer – https://www.chieflearningofficer.com/2023/06/28/the-importance-of-learning-pathways-for-skills-first-hires/

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. YUPRO Placement is not a law firm and does not provide legal services. The information in this blog post is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney. If you have any legal questions, you should consult with an attorney.

The views expressed in this post are the opinions of YUPRO Placement and are not necessarily the opinions of any other person or entity. YUPRO Placement does not make any representations or warranties about the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information in this post. YUPRO Placement reserves the right to change or update the information in this post at any time without notice. For detailed advice or guidance on specific matters, please consult with a qualified attorney.

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