Employers hiring for abilities not expertise, titles


As companies adapt to a post-pandemic future, an individual’s ability to demonstrate key competencies could become more important than previous experience or job titles.

This is emerging from new insights from thought leaders at Microsoft and LinkedIn that the rapid transformation of businesses in the pandemic has changed the way companies hire and develop their employees.

Skills will be the new currency in the post-pandemic world.

Ahmed Mazhari

President and Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Asia

“Skills will be the new currency in the post-pandemic world,” Ahmed Mazhari, president and corporate vice president of Microsoft Asia, told CNBC Make It.

Coronavirus-induced lockdowns forced employers to move quickly and implement new technology and flexible working methods by 2020. As a result, “five years of acceleration happened in one year,” said Olivier Legrand, LinkedIn executive and vice president for Asia Pacific and China.

Now jobs want proof that employees can keep up with the pace of change.

Skills-based attitudes are increasing

In fact, it’s already happening.

More than three-quarters (77%) of the jobs posted on its Asia-Pacific platform this year were focused on skills that preceded industry experience and certain job titles, according to LinkedIn. Meanwhile, individuals have doubled in terms of their own development, spending 43 million hours on LinkedIn Learning in 2020 alone.

“The lifelong learning narrative has been around for a while,” Legrand said. “But I think the impact of the pandemic on jobs has moved them from a ‘nice’ to a ‘must-have’ “

This is due to the need for new skills – also known as the skills gap – and the now interdisciplinary nature of jobs and industries.

“Every company has to think about its own version of digitization, and that requires brand new skills,” said Legrand.

Above all, this includes technology-related skills such as machine learning, software development, digital marketing and data analysis. Non-technical skills like leadership, project management and communication are also becoming increasingly important, he added.

Fast tracking of the Asian economy

This shift could accelerate innovation and thus economic growth – especially in Asia, said Mazhari of Microsoft.

“The share of tech spending in GDP (gross domestic product) will double in the next ten years from 5% to 10% worldwide,” said Mazhari. “We’re going to see more of the acceleration (in Asia) … because our growth rates are higher.”

There is enough knowledge between Bing and Google. What you can’t get are skills.

Ahmed Mazhari

President and Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Asia

The International Data Corporation has predicted that global information and communication technology Spending will grow at least 5% annually from 2021 to 2023 as businesses and countries catch up after the pandemic.

Over the next five to ten years, new technologies – like robotics, artificial intelligence, and artificial and virtual reality – will account for 25% of that spending, the research firm added.

“Many countries will skip many series of industrialization and technological advancement, “Mazhari said, describing Asia as a mosaic of technological maturity, with China on one end and Cambodia on the other.

“In this leap, the need for more skills will be even greater than it is today.”

Preparing the next generation

The sprawling continent of 4.3 billion people also has youth on its side, Mazhari said, noting that the young workforce can adapt quickly to new technology.

Asia is home to some of the world’s youngest people. In 2020, the median age of the Indian population was 28.7 years old, while Malaysia was 29.2 years old and Indonesia’s 31.1 years old, according to the Central Intelligence Agency. This equates to 38.5 in the US and 40.6 in the UK

Therefore, educational institutions should start equipping students for a competency-driven future, he said.

Drazen_ | E + | Getty Images

“There’s enough knowledge between Bing and Google,” he said, referring to the Internet search engines. “What you can’t get are skills.”

“The infusion of skills would be the most critical shift that education systems have to make, and that governments have to implement in a very substantial way.”

To support this transition, Microsoft and LinkedIn last year committed to equipping 25 million people with new digital skills through free online courses from Microsoft Learn, LinkedIn Learning, and GitHub Learning Lab.

So far, it has helped 30 million people in 249 countries – nearly six million of them in Asia, according to Microsoft.

The companies now plan to help 250,000 companies adopt skills-based hiring in 2021 through new tools like LinkedIn Skills Path, which employers can use to screen candidates based on their skills.

According to LinkedIn’s Legrand, such applied assessments could reduce subjectivity among HR managers and improve diversity and inclusion.

Do not miss: These are the fastest growing jobs in Southeast Asia, according to LinkedIn

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