LinkedIn CEO says skills are replacing a college degree in this job market

In the job market, skills are the new diplomas.

Just ask the expert on how to get hired: LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky. Employers should focus on skills when making hiring decisions and not emphasize credentials and connections, he told Harvard Business Review in a recent interview. He calls it a “skills-driven mindset,” and it’s the adaptive leadership he thinks bosses need right now.

In such a fragile economy and at a time of growing mistrust between employees and bosses, the best adaptive leaders are constantly pivoting, Roslansky explained. In the past, hiring managers had no better way to assess talent than by where someone worked or who they knew, he continued. “But when the job market is changing much faster, we really have to find something to focus on. [and] this alternative, flexible and accessible route is really going to be skills-based.

Companies that prioritize skills over “outdated cues” like a degree or pedigree “will help ensure the right people can fill the right roles, with the right skills, and do the best job,” he said. Roslansky. “It will create a much more efficient and fair labor market, which will then create better opportunities for everyone.”

Enter: New collar jobs

While a college degree has long been the first rung on the corporate ladder, hiring skills rather than degrees has swept some of America’s biggest companies in recent years, including Google, EY, Microsoft and Apple. . Remote work has made hiring for skill-based jobs even easier. When workers can log in from any country and no longer need to be in the office or wear a suit and tie, the whole process is democratized.

Proponents say the change helps break down unnecessary barriers to diversity in the workplace. [hotlink]General Motors[/hotlink]for its part, has removed degree requirements from job listings when not entirely necessary, said Telva McGruder, its diversity, equity and inclusion manager. The wealth Phil Wahba. “It’s not necessarily the ultimate indicator of someone’s potential.”

She is not alone. Under the old [hotlink]IBM[/hotlink] Under CEO Ginni Rometty, IBM coined the term “new collar jobs” for roles that require specific skills rather than specific training. The percentage of job openings at IBM requiring a four-year degree fell from 95% in 2011 to less than half in January 2021. Rometty said Fortune CEO Alan Murray, who hires without a college degree, has done as well as a Ph.D. graduates of the best universities.

And [hotlink]Accenture[/hotlink] launched an apprenticeship program aimed at funneling non-graduate workers into its talent pool in 2016. CEO Jimmy Etheredge told CNBC that the company “advanced” its focus on skills because a degree is not not the only measure of success.

Focusing on skills could be a solution to the labor shortage

By opening up more opportunities to a wider audience, a shift towards skills can also be a saving grace in a time of labor shortages. LinkedIn’s Roslansky cited the thousands of food service workers who were laid off at the start of the pandemic: The average food service worker had 70% of the skills needed to be an entry-level customer service agent, the most in-demand role. at the time. But most of them remained unemployed, he said, and most customer service jobs went unfilled.

“If we had just defined the skills needed, who has those skills, how can we help them get a few skills to help them find a job, we would have ended up in a much more efficient job market,” he said. .

If a skills-based hiring approach eventually becomes mainstream, other longstanding job requirements could disappear, said Sean Martin, a professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Fortune. Anything that couldn’t be learned in a few weeks on the job, or in a learning program like Accenture’s, can be deemed useless.

“Companies themselves are missing out on people who research suggests might be less authoritative, more culturally savvy, more eager to be there,” Martin said. Rather than pedigree, he added, motivation and a desire to learn and adapt should be key attributes of a top candidate.

This is something Roslansky can accept.

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