Launching a Tech Hiring Revolution

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With support from The Hg Foundation
and Bank of America | Clayton, Dubilier & Rice | MetLife Foundation

In every country, across every industry, employers struggle to find and recruit entry-level tech talent.

To help address this critical challenge, we launched what we believe is the most comprehensive global survey to date of entry-level tech talent. Participants included more than 2,600 jobseekers, another 1,275 jobholders already in tech roles and 1,325 tech and non-tech companies, spanning eight countries: Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The key takeaway: to repair tech’s broken job ladder, employers should radically rethink how they approach the very first rung.

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Most companies struggle to fill entry-level tech roles.

Employers across industries—86% of those we surveyed—are hiring for entry-level tech roles. But they are struggling to find talent.

Nearly two-thirds of employers we surveyed are investing in entry-level tech talent pipelines—through methods like onboarding, mentorship, and internship programs—to increase the size and diversity of their talent pools and to enhance profitability.

These investments are not working: 52% of these employers still struggle to hire and even more say recruitment processes need to change.

of employers said that recruitment processes for entry-level roles need to change.

Over the past three years, employers around the world have added education and work experience requirements for entry-level tech roles.

You might assume that a starting position, by definition, would require minimal work experience. In fact, the vast majority of employers across all industries require prior experience.

of employers have added education- or experience-related hiring requirements, citing the need for greater efficiency in the hiring process.

True entry-level jobs are becoming a thing of the past:

of employers across more than 16 industries said their hiring requirements for entry-level tech roles now include prior work experience in a related field.

of employers surveyed have also added behavioral skill requirements (e.g., communication and teamwork).

But a pioneering minority of employers that rely on skills-based hiring techniques fare better in two key ways.

About a quarter of the employers we surveyed (24%) have removed education or work experience requirements for entry-level tech roles, replacing them with demonstration-based competencies.

The result has been a more inclusive recruitment process that attracts more candidates, with comparable candidate quality and performance on the job.

58%of the companies that removed at least one education or work experience requirement saw an increase in the number of applicants, allowing them to tap into more diverse talent pools.

84%of these companies said that candidates they hired after redefining requirements performed just as well on the job, if not better, than those hired under more stringent requirements.

Skills-based hiring techniques also foster greater ethnic diversity, though gender bias persists.

Skills-based assessments—and tech industry certifications in particular—can equalize hiring opportunities for individuals without university degrees.

When employers reviewed blind resumes, they were equally likely to offer an interview to candidates with degrees or with certifications.

Certifications serve as a hiring process equalizer across ethnicities.

But there is still a gap to close when it comes to gender.

The following four ingredients can reshape hiring requirements and deepen talent pools.

Even though employers are strongly motivated to expand their entry-level tech pipelines, they are struggling to shift restrictive hiring processes—they said the top two obstacles are tight budgets and a lack of executive support. We believe four bold actions can unlock the necessary change:

1.Bring back the entry-level job

At the start of hiring, remove work experience and degree requirements and use certifications and other skills indicators to increase applicant pools.

2.Take a skills-based approach

During the hiring process, use technical assessments to ensure applicants have the necessary skills for the job.

3.Embrace hard skills and behavioral skills

Throughout the process, pay attention to behavioral skills as well as technical capabilities.

4.Rethink hiring teams

Broaden your recruiting team to reduce tacit bias and bring in a wider range of diverse talent.

Interested in helping?

We are mobilizing a coalition of employers from across the world that want to make these kinds of changes to their entry-level tech hiring, with the goals of increasing qualified applicant volume and new hire diversity, job performance, and retention. Join us and peer companies to learn together!
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