Despite rhetoric around skills-based hiring, 61% of employers added work or education screening requirements for entry-level hires over the past three years
Companies that removed degree or work requirements see a significant increase in number of applicants and comparable on-the-job performance
New data from Generation, the global employment non-profit, reveals that organizations must radically rethink hiring practices for entry-level tech talent – and lays out first steps to take.
A number of companies have already broken the mold and removed degree or work requirements over the past three years, and they are reaping the benefits.
Nearly 60% of organizations that eliminated these requirements saw an increase in the number of applicants, allowing them to hire more people more quickly, and tapping into new candidate pools that can fuel talent diversity. Better still, they saw little trade-off in terms of performance once candidates were in the job—with 84% of companies saying that people they hired without degree or education requirements performed the same or better than people hired using traditional methods.
These findings come from Launching a Tech Hiring Revolution, a study of thousands of employers, entry-level tech employees, and jobseekers, spanning eight countries: Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the UK, and the US. The research was supported by The Hg Foundation as well as Bank of America, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, and MetLife Foundation.
Globally, 86% of surveyed employers say they are hiring for entry-level tech roles. Organizations across various sectors, including banking, manufacturing, and retail, all have tech needs, forcing them to compete for talent. And they are struggling, with 62% of employers saying that entry-level tech recruitment processes need to change.
True entry-level tech jobs have disappeared, with 94% of employers saying their hiring requirements for “entry-level” tech roles include prior work experience in a related field.
But despite the continued rhetoric around skills-based hiring, nearly two-thirds of employers globally (61%) added education or work requirements over the past three years for entry-level tech roles. And not just technical skills, as 40% increased behavioral skill requirements as well.
As those employers that defied that trend have shown, shifting hiring to focus on skills rather than degrees is a way to access new talent pools. Focusing on skills-based techniques was a key part of employer success for the group that removed requirements, with tech industry certifications playing an important role. However, while certifications served as a hiring process equalizer across ethnicities, gender bias persisted. Men without certifications received more job offers per interview than women with certifications.
Even though employers are strongly motivated to expand entry-level tech pipelines, those that are struggling to change cite tight budgets and a lack of executive support as tough obstacles. The report concludes there are four ingredients to unlocking the needed shift, including:
- Expand applicant pools by removing work experience and degree requirements, and instead prioritizing certifications and other skills indicators.
- During the hiring process, use technical assessments to ensure that applicants have the necessary skills for the job.
- Throughout, pay attention to both behavioral and technical skills.
- Rethink hiring teams to reduce tacit bias and increase talent diversity.
To continue to explore the possibilities of a skills-based approach, Generation will assemble a coalition of global employers that want to make the kinds of changes the research calls for and share results publicly to create durable solutions that can be applied across sectors and around the globe.
You can read the whole report here.
Mona Mourshed, founding global CEO of Generation said:
“The first rung of the tech job ladder is broken. Every day, at Generation, we sit at the intersection of thousands of employers and learners, and we see the friction in the hiring process that makes it hard for talented people, who come from backgrounds that have been historically overlooked, to get in the door. That’s why we undertook this research to help employers and society unclog that vital entry-level tech pipeline. The next step is to go deeper in exploring what works, and I’m excited to partner with a coalition of global employers that are committed to opening up opportunity in tech to more people.”
Martina Sanow, Trustee of The Hg Foundation, a grant-giving charity with a focus on removing barriers to education and skills in technology, and Partner at Hg said:
“Those from diverse backgrounds and who haven’t followed traditional pathways represent a huge pool of potential talent for the tech sector. This landmark research represents a step change in our understanding of the global entry-level talent market and where the challenges and opportunities lie. The next crucial step is to build on the report’s recommendations and to trial with employers innovative recruitment approaches that harness the abilities of under-served groups.”
Notes to Editors
The findings in this report are drawn from a survey commissioned by Generation that was in the field from November 4, 2022, to January 9, 2023. The study included employed people (aged 18 and over), unemployed people (aged 18 and over), and hiring and technical managers at employers.
The survey drew 4,023 responses from employed and unemployed people, and 1,325 responses from employers, across Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Generation is a global employment nonprofit network that supports people to achieve economic mobility so they can change their lives. We train and place adults into careers that would otherwise be inaccessible and seek to improve how education to employment systems function. Generation launched in 2015 and consists of a global hub and a network of in-country affiliates that spans 17 countries. To date, Generation has more than 80,000 graduates who have earned more than $630 million in wages, and works with more than 11,000 employers, implementation partners, and funders. For more, visit generation.org.
About The Hg Foundation
The Hg Foundation’s vision is that the tech workforce of the future harnesses the talents of all, regardless of background. It does this by supporting education and employment-based programmes across the UK, USA, and Europe where it can demonstrate measurable, long-term and scalable impact and make a difference to those that need it most. To date it has committed $14m to programmes that will reach 10,000 young people and adults from under-represented backgrounds. The Hg Foundation is registered Charity no. 1189216. Find out more at https://www.thehgfoundation.com/