In today's fast-changing job market, the traditional criteria for hiring are being challenged more than ever before. The rise of "new collar" workers — talented individuals who may not have a higher education or come from typical professional backgrounds — is changing the way we think about professional settings. These individuals bring unique skills and a fresh perspective, often finding their place in tech, digital, and various hybrid sectors.
In this piece, we will explore why it's time for companies to look beyond the resume, prioritizing skills and potential over traditional credentials, especially with the growing presence of new-collar workers.
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The Rise of New Collar Workers
New collar workers are individuals who lack traditional higher education credentials but possess specific, practical skill sets valuable to employers. They are changing the game, showing that these practical skill sets and adaptability are invaluable assets.
New collar workers often occupy roles in fast-growing sectors like cybersecurity, cloud computing, and digital marketing — fields that value the ability to keep pace with change over formal qualifications. The rise of this new workforce is propelled by various factors, including digital changes in industries, an ever-evolving job landscape, and the high costs of formal education.
The Limitations of Credential-Based Hiring
Credential-based hiring can miss out on talent and potential, especially among individuals who follow non-traditional education paths or self-taught experts. These experts can be as skilled, if not more so, than their traditionally educated counterparts. This mismatch can result in a significant skills gap, with roles going unfilled and companies struggling to keep up with innovation and change. New collar workers often find themselves overlooked due to the lack of a degree or specific certification, even though they have the exact skills needed for these roles.
AI-Powered Skill-Based Assessments as the Solution
How can we bridge this divide? The answer lies in skill-based assessments, a method both Bryq and iMocha support. Assessments like these evaluate candidates based on their ability to perform job-related tasks or demonstrate essential competencies, instead of merely looking at their qualifications on paper. It's a way to see a candidate's potential in a more comprehensive manner, beyond what's listed on their CV.
For roles in fast-growing sectors, these evaluations are crucial. They can pinpoint individuals with the technical skills and problem-solving capabilities necessary to excel from the start. Additionally, they can assess soft skills such as adaptability, communication, and critical thinking, which are paramount in modern, agile workplaces.
Success Stories and Case Studies
Several forward-thinking companies have already reaped the benefits of shifting their focus from credentials to skills. They've utilized platforms like Bryq and iMocha to identify and nurture potential, fostering innovation within their ranks often with remarkable success. These businesses report improved performance metrics and a heightened level of innovation within their teams.
For example, Bryq’s soft skills assessment has helped a top-5 international Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company increase its quality of hire by 81% and decrease its attrition rate by 46%. Moreover, by using iMocha’s automated skills assessments, a global leader in real estate services managed to reduce its time-to-hire by 55% and shortlisted high-quality Front-end Engineers and Data Engineers.
Practical Steps for Employers
Transitioning to skill-based hiring doesn't have to be daunting. Here's how you can get started:
- Redefine job descriptions: Focus on the skills and competencies necessary for success in the role, rather than specific degrees or job titles previously held.
- Utilize skill-based assessments: Implement platforms like Bryq for cognitive and personality assessments, and iMocha for technical & domain evaluations, to gain comprehensive insights into candidates' abilities.
- Offer skill development opportunities: Provide apprenticeships, reskilling, or upskilling programs to help your people bridge any gaps and grow within their roles.
- Create an inclusive culture: Build a workplace that recognizes and values the contributions of employees with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, fostering a sense of belonging and opportunity.
As we navigate the complexities of the modern job market, it's clear that our hiring practices need to evolve. New-collar workers are ready and eager to contribute. They bring a wealth of skills, fresh perspectives, and the drive to learn. It’s time for companies to harness the tools at their disposal and shift the focus from traditional credentials to proven skills and potential. By doing so, they open the door to a more diverse, innovative, and adaptable workforce ready to face the challenges of tomorrow.