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| 3 minutes read

The Rise of Skills-Based Hiring

This LinkedIn Get Hired piece covers an important hiring trend that is on the rise. Many employers are now shifting their focus towards skills-based hiring and less so purely on qualifications or years of experience alone. I am all for this!

Although I focus on senior and executive-level hiring in Energy Storage, many of my clients face real battles with clear skills gaps across their wider areas of their organisations. This seems to be the consensus across the wider cleantech / climate tech sector too, so perhaps a new hiring approach is the way forward?!

For a long time, university degrees have been held on a pedestal compared to an apprenticeship career path for example (in the millennial generation, we were told nothing but a First or a 2:1 would do, if you wanted a “good job”). In fact I've worked with a few clients over the years (mainly corporates but even some start-ups) who were obsessive over the specific university a candidate studied at or if they graduated Magna cum Laude. Of course, I'm not disputing the value a Degree can bring and in some cases a Masters of PhD is vital, for example roles across Engineering / R&D where deep theoretical knowledge and research expertise is needed. However, there are plenty of wider areas where skills can be acquired without going down the academic route!

I'm also pleased to see a more open minded approach becoming the norm. There are many benefits…

Better candidate fit and retention rate

When a company hires the wrong person, it can be costly, from both a dismissal and re-hire perspective but also the wider impact that wrong hire might have made on your wider business. Sometimes, hiring on qualifications alone, can be risky as they may lack the real-life skills acquired from working in similar environments where they faced similar challenges previously.

Research from TestGorilla has shown that a skills-based hiring approach saw a decrease (up to 25%) in mis-hire rate and an increase in employee retention (89% of organisations sampled!)

Widens the talent pool 

We're already facing a skills shortage in climate tech / cleantech. We need more talented people in the sectors, simple as that. If we constantly advertise roles with certain education requirements, it doesn't do anything to encourage a greater uptake of green jobs. 

I've got friends and family working in construction and engineering project management, who have progressed from apprenticeship and I'd argue they would bring valuable practical skills to a company to complement those coming straight out of university. 

Drives inclusivity 

Whether we like it or not, education is still heavily skewed by social-economic factors. Those living in low income families or even poverty, are not always afforded the same opportunities to go to the better schools, colleges, and universities. I grew up in Wigan, a working class town in the North of England, and was fortunate to have great opportunities to thrive in education, but I know many bright and talented people who didn't get that opportunity. 

The LinkedIn report has shown that a skills-based approach has had a 27% greater impact on women than men. I guess this comes from increasing employers' visibility of female candidates, rather than just going through usual qualification based methods (it might be that more men have taken the conventional STEM education route due to historic gender norms and subsequently women may have had a less conventional but equally successful career path).

By widening the candidate pool, companies are more likely to find the best person for the job and this might have real positive knock-on benefits for social mobility by looking at people's talent first and foremost.

More diverse thinking 

A more inclusive workforce will bring new perspectives and ideas to your organisation. This helps to challenge conventional thinking and consider new “out the box” concepts. This kind of thinking is what drives wonderful innovation - particularly relevant for our clients in cleantech / climate tech!

Encourages entrepreneurship

Often the best entrepreneurs don't conform to societal norms and will create their own path. So the old adage of “study hard so you can go to a good university and get a great job” just doesn't apply to them. Its just not how they're wired up. By placing more emphasis on relevant skills and experience, this can encourage more entrepreneurial individuals to come and join your mission! 

It is clear to see the benefits of hiring on skills and not purely qualifications. If you're finalising your 2024 headcount plans, make sure you're considering a holistic approach and make sure your hiring process is designed to evaluate applicable skills to the role! You'll soon find that there's a wealth of talent out there that may have previously been missed!

We support hundreds of clients on their recruitment planning and hiring processes, to ultimately find the best possible individuals for their teams. If you're looking for support in you 2024 hiring, then get in touch with me and the Hyperion team today ( /

a broader shift towards skills-first hiring has the potential to open up the workforce, both widening the pool of talent in areas experiencing labour shortages, and creating greater inclusion by enabling more people to be considered for roles they might not otherwise have been.


hiring, candidates, careers, retention, talent, cleantech, climate tech, energy storage