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Job skills preferred over years of experience among recruiters: Survey

Recruiters are 50 per cent more likely to search for candidates by skills rather than indicators such as alma matter or previous employment.

Young Asian businesswoman carrying smartphone and laptop, against contemporary corporate buildings in the city.
Job recruiters are increasingly looking toward skills rather than years of experience when looking for job candidates. (PHOTO: Getty) (d3sign via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Job recruiters in Southeast Asia are 50 per cent more likely to search by skills than by years of experience when looking for candidates on LinkedIn, according to LinkedIn's The Future of Recruiting 2023 report.

The report — which surveyed 1,611 recruiting professionals in management seniority roles or higher on LinkedIn and conducted in six languages across 20 countries between October and November 2022 — made 17 future trend predictions based on the survey and data points generated by 900 million LinkedIn members in over 200 countries.

Skills-first hiring

Among the report's notable predictions is that skills-first hiring will become the gold standard for employers, with as many as 80 per cent of recruiting professionals surveyed in Southeast Asia believing that skills-first hiring will be a priority for their company in the next 18 months.

Skills-first hiring is the approach of valuing a candidate's skills over more "superficial signals" such as an impressive alma mater or previous employer. The survey also revealed that recruiters were 25 per cent more likely to search for a candidate by skills than they were three years ago.

However, results of the survey showed that only 70 per cent of recruiters feel they can accurately assess candidates' skills today.

The report went on to predict that skills-first strategies will help shine a light on overlooked talent. It noted that there was a global talent pool increase of 24 per cent for workers without a bachelor's degree compared to those who have a university education and that a skills-first approach for jobs with the fewest women grows the talent pool for women 24 per cent more than it does for men.

"If you're not convinced yet that skills-based hiring is the future, consider this: By being open to hiring candidates who don't have college degrees, you'll be taking a big step forward in diversifying your workforce," said the report.

What candidates want

In a monthly survey with over 20,000 LinkedIn members worldwide about the most important factors they weigh when considering a new job, job seekers in Southeast Asia ranked compensation and benefits as their number one priority (65 per cent said so).

This is followed by career growth within the company (58 per cent), work-life balance (47 per cent) and flexible working arrangements (44 per cent). Flexibility and compensation are also the two fastest-growing priorities year-on-year.

Based on this, the report predicted that companies would keep a closer eye on what candidates want most in order to navigate a tight labour market where talent is expected to retain the upper hand over the next five years. To stay competitive, the report said that employers will have to re-examine their employer branding and make sure it aligns with what candidates are looking for today.

The report also predicted that Gen Z workers — professionals born after 1996 — would reward employers who value development and diversity. Results of the survey showed that Gen Z workers were more likely than Gen X to prioritise opportunities to advance within a company and to develop new skills. They were also 17 per cent more likely than Gen X to prioritise an inclusive workplace for diverse backgrounds.

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