Introducing Skills Path, a New Way to Help Companies Hire

March 30, 2021

Introducing Skills Path: A new way to help companies hire for skills.

Every week, I sit alongside many of my colleagues and look at trends in what’s happening on  LinkedIn, as the data members share with us creates a digital representation of the global economy. From profile updates to jobs changes and skills learned, this meeting provides unique insight into real-time trends in our global workforce.  

Roughly a year ago, we hit uncharted territory. With an estimated 250M job now displaced by COVID-19, the changes are staggering. Some professionals, such as waiters and flight attendants, faced widespread layoffs. The stories of those losing work were heartbreaking. But, unlike other economic events, the story didn’t end there; some employers like logistics companies couldn’t hire fast enough, struggling to pinpoint talent with the right skills for their open roles.  

We could see there were opportunities available, but the motivated and talented workers that had lost their jobs weren’t finding them. Workers don't often realize that the skills they have for one job can be easily transitioned to another job. But the fact is, even if they do realize that, they can't get hired until employers realize that too. The truth is, how we hire can be limiting. Many recruiting processes depend on relevant experience or degrees to find candidates, but sometimes the person that’s the best fit for the role is from a community an employer has never considered before.

We believe that by taking a skills-based approach to opportunity we can remove barriers for candidates that might not have the degree or network, while also increasing the size of employer talent pools, often letting them pinpoint quality applicants for hard-to-fill roles. 

Building on our commitment with Microsoft where we’ve already helped 30M people get reskilled for in-demand jobs, today we are taking our commitment a step further with a new goal to help 250,000 companies make a skills-based hire in 2021 through our new and existing hiring products. As part of this commitment, we’re piloting a new way to use LinkedIn Recruiter for skills-based hiring called Skills Path. More than a dozen companies are already committed to piloting Skills Path today, including BlackRock, Gap Inc., TaskRabbit, and more.

Helping Recruiters Identify New Talent Pools of Pre-Qualified Candidates

Skills Path brings together LinkedIn Learning courses with Skill Assessments to help recruiters evaluate candidates in a more equitable way — based on their proven skills. Hiring practices have long depended on traditional candidate qualifications like degrees, title, and their network to discover candidates. With Skills Path, that changes. 

How it works is simple. First, hiring managers at participating companies identify the core skills for a role. Then, candidates get a fairer shot at a new role by:

  • Closing any skills gaps with free LinkedIn Learning Courses, curated to help learn the skills required for the role
  • Demonstrating their skills by passing a multiple choice LinkedIn Skill Assessment and a video (or text) assessment 
  • Securing a recruiter conversation if they pass the assessments

For example, we know that food servers have 71% of the skills required for a customer service role, or that store managers have 56% of the skills required for a sales role. With Skills Path, a food server can find a customer service role, learn the skills he or she may be lacking, and get a call back. 

  • Gif of Skills Path being used on mobile device

Global Brands At the Forefront of Piloting Skills Path

At LinkedIn, we like to test our own products. We created our first iteration of Skills Path for our customer service teams. We removed traditional requirements such as degree or 1-2 years prior experience in our job descriptions, and evaluated people based on their proven skills needed for the job by incorporating a validated skill assessment into the application process. Not only were we able to broaden our talent pool to hire talent from companies we typically don’t hire from — ranging from grocers to big-box retailers — we improved our hiring efficiency.

These promising results inspired us to work with our customers to create Skills Path. Over the past several months we’ve been collaborating with participating customers in our Skills Path pilot, including BlackRock, Citrix, Gap Inc., GitHub, Gusto, Microsoft, Prologis, Ralph Lauren, TaskRabbit, and Wayfair. They’ll be hiring for a breadth of roles, including customer service, sales development, data analyst, business analyst, product manager, project manager, recruiting coordinator, and supply chain coordinator.

"As a company that strives to be inclusive, by design, we look to invest in talent practices that enable us to reach the broadest candidate base possible," said Meghan Kelly, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Gap Inc. “Participating in LinkedIn’s Skills Path pilot will help us connect with candidates faster based on core skills and potential rather than traditional experience or credentials, which creates access to an even more diverse talent pool. We believe that an inclusive workforce, which reflects our customer base, drives creativity and innovation and enhances business results."

Danielle Brown, Chief People Officer of Gusto agrees. “Hiring is about so much more than just what’s on paper. People with unique and even challenging backgrounds can be standout candidates. At Gusto, we care about a candidate’s skills, values, and motivations — like grit, passion, and perseverance — from the very start. Skills Path helps us identify and nurture hidden talent because we’re able to reverse the order of the hiring process — so that we get to know the whole person from the get-go. The video intros in particular help us understand if a candidate is aligned with our values and inspired by our mission.” 

“We recognize that to bring the most diverse perspectives and skilled talent into our firm we must evaluate candidates by their skills and competencies, and less on a set of traditional credentials,” said BlackRock’s Head of Talent Acquisition, Toretha McGuire, “We are excited to see how Skills Path helps us continue evolving our strategies towards a broader and more diverse workforce.”

Looking Ahead to a Skills Focused Workforce 

Today's announcement builds on LinkedIn’s ongoing investment in products that help job seekers build and demonstrate their skills, and employers identify the skill qualifications of a candidate. This isn’t a path we plan to walk alone. It will require schools, employers, non-profit groups, and government workforce agencies to connect and collaborate to create more equal access to opportunity through skills, and this is just the beginning. If you’re a company that would like to participate in our pilot of Skills Path, please fill out this interest form here