Employers urged to look for potential

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is calling on employers to focus more on prospective candidates’ skills, experience and potential rather than their qualifications when hiring new recruits.

Research recently undertaken by the CIPD suggests a majority of employers base their hiring decisions on whether someone has a degree or not, regardless of its relevance to the role. According to the survey of over 2,000 senior decision-makers, 57% of employers look for degrees or post-graduate qualifications from jobseekers, with many using this to ‘sift’ large volumes of applications.

However, while acknowledging the importance of a degree for certain roles and occupations, the CIPD argues that using generic degree qualifications to screen candidates so frequently can result in employers overlooking key talent. In addition, this approach is believed to be exacerbating ongoing skills gaps as well as reducing employment opportunities for some groups of people.

The CIPD is therefore encouraging employers to think more strategically about their workforce requirements and whether a degree is necessary when considering job applications. Employers are also being urged to invest in a range of vocational training options in order to upskill existing staff.