Private sector engagement with skills-based hiring is increasing in response to employment gaps and escalating economic precarity. Between 2017 and 2019, 46% of middle-skill and 31% of high-skill occupations experienced material degree resets. And in 2022, 79% of HR professionals reported that scores on skills assessments are just as or more important than traditional criteria in hiring decisions.

These are positive trends from an economic and a social perspective. Skills-based hiring is critical to increasing equity and diversity in the workplace, as traditional credential-based hiring tends to screen out, disqualify, or exclude applicants without a four year degree.

While increased commitment to skills-based hiring is an important step toward a more prepared and more inclusive workforce, many companies are learning that in-demand skills do not exist in adequate supply. Some of those businesses are taking it upon themselves to develop the skill-based talent pipeline that will be necessary to power their organizations, industries, and broader market into the future.

To better understand how companies are investing in the skills-based training ecosystem, before hiring even comes into frame, we dug deep with nine organizations on the cutting edge of workforce development.

Through our conversations with leaders and practitioners, we uncovered a depth of contributions to changing and scaling the learning systems that are preparing workers for quality jobs. Our report compiles eight recommendations to provide guidance for private sector employers who are committed to skilling the future workforce and ultimately contributing meaningfully to a more just and equitable workplace. 

The eight recommendations:


  • Decide if you aim to be influential at a systems, sector, or company level
  • Position your strategy correctly within your company’s infrastructure
  • Lean into (and use) your company’s strengths
  • Build a well-balanced partner portfolio
  • Design for replicability and scalability
  • Mind the non-skills gap between learner and earner
  • Engage in pre-competitive transparency and collaboration
  • Bring rigor and patience to impact measurement

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