Trends & Insights
5 min read

You need skills-based talent acquisition to shape your future workforce

Overcoming the skills shortage: A talent acquisition trend that makes the switch from tightly-constrained job roles to a more flexible skills-based approach.

Embedded Talent Acquisition

2023 is the year that candidates will explore career changes. With a rapidly changing work landscape and mass layoffs across the tech industry, candidates are looking for job roles that align with their strongest skills.Β 

The talent acquisition industry needs to come to terms with the fact that career paths are no longer linear. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of new technologies and work arrangements such as hybrid and remote-work setups. This has enabled companies to redefine job roles and offer more flexible career options to their employees.

Thanks to technological advancements and the emergence of new job roles, candidates now have more opportunities to pursue careers that complement their skill sets. Plus, the shift towards remote work has made location less of a hiring criterion, allowing employers to tap into a larger pool of talent who may not have direct experience but possess the necessary skills to excel in a particular role.

On the other side, companies are struggling to find quality talent. According to Gartner, only 29% of new hires are highly prepared with the skills needed for their role, and only 23% are prepared with the skills needed for the future. Traditionally hiring has focused on replacing the workforce, finding candidates based on their previous experience, job titles and education. But in the midst of a skills shortage in the workforce, it’s time for talent acquisition to take a new approach: skills-based talent acquisition.

"Only 29% of new hires are highly prepared with the skills needed for their role, and only 23% are prepared with the skills needed for the future"

What is skills-based talent acquisition?

Skills-based hiring takes into account both soft and hard skills to evaluate candidates and doesn't eliminate qualified applicants just because they don't have the right educational background on paper.

One of the easiest ways to implement skills-based hiring is through job skills testing or an employee skills assessment. Some companies even integrate this early in the screening process to make sure they're only focusing on the most qualified candidates.

Others use it later in the talent acquisition process, especially when trying to choose the best candidate from a shortlist of two or three applicants. It's a great approach to make sure you're getting the most qualified people for the job!

Why embracing skills-based talent acquisition is a good idea

Skills-based talent acquisition allows companies to find the best talent for the job based on their abilities and potential rather than just their work experience or academic qualifications. This can lead to a more diverse workforce and bring in fresh perspectives and ideas that can help the company grow and innovate.

It can help to reduce bias in the hiring process. Traditional hiring methods often rely on factors such as education and previous job titles, which can disadvantage certain groups of people who may not have had the same opportunities or access to education. By focusing on skills, companies can level the playing field and give everyone an equal chance to showcase their abilities.

It also helps companies stay agile and adapt to changing business needs. In a rapidly evolving business landscape, it's important for companies to be able to quickly pivot and adjust their operations to stay competitive. By recruiting employees based on their skills, rather than a specific job title or role, companies can be more flexible and responsive to changing needs and requirements.

A step-by-step guide to creating a skills matrix for skills-based talent acquisition

Identify the job roles

‍Start by listing all the job roles you have in your organisation. These could be entry-level positions, managerial positions, or any other position that requires a specific skill set.

Identify the required skills

‍For each job role, identify the required skills. These could be technical skills, soft skills, or any other skills that are essential for that particular role.

Assign proficiency levels

‍Once you have identified the required skills, assign proficiency levels for each skill. You can use a scale of 1-5 or any other scale that works for you. For example, a proficiency level of 1 could indicate a basic understanding of the skill, while a proficiency level of 5 could indicate mastery of the skill.

Assess current employees

‍Assess the skills of your current employees and assign proficiency levels to each employee for each skill. This will help you identify any skills gaps that need to be addressed.

Use the matrix for talent acquisition

‍When recruiting new employees, use the skills matrix to evaluate their skills and determine their proficiency levels. This will help you identify the most qualified candidates for the job.

Continuously update the skills matrix

‍Keep the skills matrix up to date by regularly assessing the skills of your employees and updating the proficiency levels as necessary. This will help you ensure that your employees have the skills they need to succeed in their roles.


Any talent management strategy needs to be thinking about how to understand, measure and act on skills. It is no longer a nice to have, but an essential component to any organisation. This wave is happening around the world, across all industries, and functions of business. Now is the time to get serious.Β 

Ready to start thinking about upgrading your hiring process? Speak to us today to see how we can help you.


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