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Skills v's experience - what matters most in todays job market?

Successfully hiring for todays world...

A skills-first approach focuses on whether a person has the right skills and competencies for a particular role rather than having the right degree, job history or previous job titles.

New LinkedIn data from their global report reveals how a skills-first approach to recruitment, in which people are hired based on skills rather than degrees or certification, can help strengthen the workforce, with business' benefitting from more diverse talent pools and efficient hiring processes.

Skills first approach - the benefits :

  • Skills-first hiring allows companies to keep pace with the changing nature of work. As the necessary skills for jobs evolve, companies can continue to target candidates based on new and dynamic skills requirements rather than static job titles.

  • Skills are about potential - for your employees and your business

  • Skills and labour shortages are two of the most pressing concerns facing economies today. A “skills-first” approach vastly increases the potential pool of talent from which they can draw

  • For employers, a skills-first approach can create more robust talent pipelines

The relative importance of skills versus experience for employers today can vary based on several factors including the industry, the specific job role and the organisation's future priorities. However, there are some general trends that can provide insight.


  • Leadership roles: In senior or leadership positions, experience tends to be highly valued. Employers often seek candidates with a proven track record of success, strategic thinking and the ability to navigate complex challenges.

  • Industry-specific roles: Certain industries such as finance, healthcare or legal professions may prioritise experience due to the specialist knowledge and regulatory complexities involved.

  • Stability and reliability: Experience can be an indicator of a candidate's stability and reliability. Employers may prefer candidates with a history of successful performance in similar roles.

Hybrid Approach:

  • Balancing skills and experience: Many employers seek a balance between skills and experience. A candidate with both a strong skill set and a track record of applying those skills successfully in previous roles is often considered an ideal candidate.

  • Soft skills: The importance of soft skills such as communication, teamwork and adaptability is increasingly recognised. Employers may value a combination of technical proficiency and interpersonal skills.

Adaptability and Continuous Learning:

  • Emphasis on adaptability: The ability to adapt to change and a commitment to continuous learning are becoming increasingly important. Employers value candidates who can quickly acquire new skills as needed.

Cultural Fit and Team Dynamics:

  • Soft skills and cultural fit: Employers often take into consideration a candidate's soft skills and the ability to collaborate effectively with team members. These factors contribute to the cultural fit of an organisation.


  • Technology-driven industries: In industries where technology evolves rapidly such as IT, data science and digital marketing, skills often take precedence. Employers may prioritize candidates with specific technical proficiencies and the ability to adapt to new tools and technologies.

  • Specialised roles: For roles that require highly specialised skills, employers are likely to prioritise candidates who possess the exact skill set needed for the job.

  • Entry-level positions: Employers hiring for entry-level positions may place a greater emphasis on foundational skills and the potential for candidates to learn and grow within the organization.

Discuss in confidence your hiring strategy with a member of the Riada recruitment team - we can ensure we introduce you to talent with the skills or experience you require to align with your unique business goals.


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