In the world of job recruitment, a prevalent trend known as qualification inflation developed, turning hiring processes into a difficult landscape. Qualification inflation, also known as degree inflation, is the increasing demand for degrees and significant experience, to the point that job requirements exceed the qualifications of existing employees.
A Harvard study from 2017 shed light on this issue, finding a shift in job postings that now require degrees and experiences that were previously considered irrelevant. Surprisingly, some job requirements exceed the qualifications of current employees.
The effects are enormous, with the majority of the 11.6 million jobs added between 2010 and 2016 requiring a bachelor’s degree or above. According to another Harvard study, this inflationary trend not only lengthens recruitment processes and increases employer wage premiums, but also reduces workplace diversity. Marginalized groups, women, and younger people generally lack the needed degrees and expertise, aggravating inequity.
Furthermore, needless employment requirements discourage women, who are already less likely to apply for jobs they don’t meet all the requirements for, from applying. This presents an unintentional obstacle to their professional advancement. The roots of qualification inflation extend back to the boom of online application platforms and the aftermath of the 2008-09 financial crisis, leading to larger applicant pools and a subsequent rush of qualifications on job advertisements.
Managing qualification inflation
In the face of these hurdles, organizations can use skill-based recruitment strategies to find skilled and diverse candidates. To combat qualification inflation, firms must do thorough job studies to determine the fundamental skills and traits required for a position. Open-source tools such as the Occupational Information Network and the National Occupational Classification are useful beginning points, but incorporating managers and employees is critical for alignment with organizational needs.
Strategic job advertising: developing psychological connections and transferable skills
Creating appealing job adverts is critical for countering qualification inflation. Drawing on study findings, employment advertisements should describe how the position meets applicants’ psychological demands for autonomy, variety, and purpose. Furthermore, job advertising should make it clear that applicants with transferable abilities from various job families or industries would be considered. Giving examples of job titles with potentially transferable skills improves understanding.
Skill-based screening emerged as a strategic tool for businesses. Employers can choose the best candidate for a position by assessing their skills. Employers can use self-reported proficiency levels during the application process but should exercise caution due to potential exaggeration. Focusing on technical abilities over behavioral skills helps to reduce inflation because behavioral skills are more difficult to verify.
Beyond initial checks, companies can conduct more thorough inspections. Job knowledge or technical exams, work sample assessments, personality assessments, and structured interviews all contribute to a comprehensive evaluation process.
Job knowledge or skill examinations: Off-the-shelf examinations assess a variety of technical skills, ensuring a candidate’s competence.
Work sample assessments: Providing applicants with examples of actual job duties is quite useful and is one of the most legitimate selection procedures. However, employers should be mindful of the time it takes to complete the sample assignments. The tasks should be fairly quick to do so that the applicant doesn’t get the feeling that they are working for free.
Personality evaluations: Validated, forced-choice personality evaluations provide comprehensive knowledge while minimizing the danger of exaggeration.
Structured interviews: A structured set of questions allows for uniform examination of candidate responses, which is particularly useful for assessing behavioral skills.
Skill-based hiring as the solution
Skill-based recruiting is a beacon of hope in the turbulent sea of qualification inflation. Employers who take this strategy not only reduce the issues of qualification inflation but also uncover hidden skills across varied applicant pools. Skill-based recruiting is a transformative force, allowing people who were previously denied desirable jobs due to superfluous prerequisites to get access to them.