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How skills-first hiring could benefit ED&I in Wales

The practice of hiring based on skills over qualifications, can help Wales in its quest for ED&I.

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What is skills-first hiring ?

Skills-first hiring is the practice of hiring talent based on their skill set rather than official qualifications – a relatively new trend in the world of work. Amid the backdrop of the 2008/2009 financial crash, the trend gained popularity as more and more companies began to look towards an alternative to the phenomenon of ‘degree inflation’ – a practice where job applicants were required to hold degrees.

This recruitment model continues to grow in favour, with 75% of recruitment specialists reporting that skills-first hiring is on the rise. This is unsurprising, as skills-first hiring comes with several key benefits.

Benefits of skills-first hiring

The first benefit is filling skills gaps. Forbes notes that 87% of companies have or expect to have skills gaps in the coming years. The survey also highlights how moving away from compulsory qualifications and towards solid skill sets is one way to broaden and diversify the talent pool available to hiring managers. Moreover, hiring based on skills allows companies to ensure that the people they hire are well-equipped to take on their roles.

The second benefit of skills-first hiring is in the area of equity, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I). Skills-first hiring is often seen as a more inclusive hiring method, as it creates space for applicants from differing backgrounds by hiring based on skills rather than on whether or not the applicant has had the privilege of attending third-level education or being able to acquire qualifications; to which they may have had limited or no access due to disability or illness.

Where is skills-first hiring thriving?

Wales in one location where skills-first hiring is set to make waves. As Wales continues to trailblaze in the field of equity, diversity, and inclusion, skills-first hiring fits the current move towards greater ED&I.

In 2021, the Welsh government continued to lead by example by introducing a new Workforce Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy. The initiative follows the introduction of their 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, which has led to the appointment of an Equality Champion for the Board and senior diversity champions. The Welsh government has reached its inclusion targets for minority and differently-abled staff, while taking steps to “embed the social model of disability.”

In her foreword introducing  the strategy, the-then permanent secretary Shan Morgan, stated: “Becoming a more diverse organisation, with both diversity of lived experience and thought, will quite simply give us a wider perspective and a richer skill set with which we can deliver ministerial priorities and make a difference for the diverse citizens of Wales.”

Learn more about skills-first hiring and ED&I in Wales

The burgeoning ED&I movement in Wales will be explored at an event held later this month by Mauve Group, together with Welsh Athletics and Commonwealth Games Team Wales, as part of the eighth annual Wales Week London showcase.

Game Changers: An Evening of Welsh Sport and Business, which will celebrate ED&I in Welsh sport, business, and culture, will feature renowned Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson; retired Welsh sprinter, athletics coach, and inclusivity and diversity advocate, Christian Malcolm; and Paralympian and world record-holding shot put champion, Aled Siôn Davies OBE.

The panel will discuss the importance of ED&I and then take part in an audience Q&A session.

Also present on the night will be Welsh leaders, Team Wales CEO Rebecca Edwards-Symmons; Welsh Athletics CEO James Williams; and Mauve Group CEO Ann Ellis, discussing how Welsh sport and business are leading the way towards a more inclusive future for everyone.

Limited tickets for this event are available to the public. If interested, please register for your free ticket.

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