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After ‘AI,’ ‘skills’ is the hottest HR tech word of 2023

Steve Boese, HR Tech Conference chair
Steve Boese
Steve Boese is HRE's Inside HR Tech columnist and chair of HRE’s HR Technology Conference®. He also writes a blog and hosts the HR Happy Hour Show, a radio program and podcast.

In a relatively recent but growing trend, more organizations and recruiters are shifting their focus from requiring traditional college degrees to a more skills-based hiring approach. For example, the share of job advertisements in the U.K. that did not include formal degree qualifications as a requirement increased by 90% on LinkedIn between 2021 and 2022, according to LinkedIn findings that were recently published.

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Additionally, some global organizations are increasingly searching for and screening candidates based on their skills rather than their formal degrees, according to LinkedIn’s Future of Recruiting Report 2023, which found that 20% of jobs listed in the U.S. do not require a four-year degree, up from around 15% in 2021.

With this shift likely to gain momentum, more organizations will be forced to adapt, as competitive markets for talent still dominate in many locations and industries. Maintaining sometimes artificial degree and credential requirements is likely to place an organization at a competitive disadvantage relative to more flexible, forward-thinking businesses.

And plenty of companies are reacting to this new approach. Traditional companies that have had rigorous and strict criteria for hiring, such as specific degree requirements, are stepping back from these demands in job ads. Companies including IBM, Accenture, Dell, Bank of America, Google and Tesla are among those that are increasingly hiring based on skills.

Given the increasing organizational emphasis on skills—from hiring to the many functions in talent management (learning and development, succession planning, career planning, etc.)—the HR technology industry has responded in a significant way.

On the market are scores of new and enhanced technology-based solutions to help organizations manage this fairly complex, technical and significant cultural shift in thinking about and assessing talent. “Skills” has become second to only “AI” as the hot HR technology word this year (and, in fact, “skills” and “AI” are often in the same sentence).

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For HR leaders who are ready to jump in, or already have embarked on this shift to skills-based talent management and talent acquisition, the upcoming HR Technology Conference offers fantastic opportunities to learn about the marketplace, as well as get hands-on with demos and conversations with product leaders.

From customer case studies to formal product demonstrations, impromptu meetings and demos in the Expo Hall, attendees will be able to see a wide range of technologies designed to help the organization better understand, align, develop and plan for the skills of their workforces.

Which HRE Top HR Tech Products address skills and skills-based hiring?

While there are easily more than 50 HR Tech exhibitors that have developed solutions in this area, I’ll just point out a short list of companies to consider meeting with at the conference—pulled from the recent release of Human Resource Executive‘s 2023 Top HR Tech Products of the Year:

Phenom: Phenom X+ demonstrates one of the most comprehensive and ambitious expressions of AI’s ability to solve organizational and talent challenges.

Reejig: Reejig’s Work Ontology is one of the only solutions that helps leaders truly understand both employee skills as well as the organization’s job roles and tasks that need to be done.

Beamery: A combination of company, market, candidate and employee insights, along with creative and powerful generative AI, set Beamery TalentGPT among the best-developed AI technologies of 2023.

Oracle: With Oracle Grow, Oracle has delivered an employee experience that supports learning, skills growth and career mobility, with deep knowledge of how HCM technology can positively impact employee skills development.

So, while formal degrees and traditional qualifications may not be required for the next wave of workers, additional technology, process adaptation and even cultural change will be necessary for organizations to embrace the shift to skills-based talent management in a meaningful way.

Fortunately, you’ll be able to do months of planning and research on the latest and most innovative skills forward technologies all at HR Tech next month. Hope to see you there!