Skills-Model Switch for IBM Recruiting

by admin on January 28, 2022 in Ask a Recruiter, Business Intelligence, Business Trends, Dallas IT Recruiting


Corporate and IT heavyweight IBM has created a novel solution to recruiting and retention that’s beginning to pay dividends. Switching to a skills-based model, IBM is pioneering the birth of the “new collar” worker. Mastufa Ahmed with People Matter Global shares his discussion with Obed Louissaint, Senior Vice President, Transformation and Culture at IBM, here. Article highlights follow.

Skills-Based Model

Global scarcity of tech talent has caused a re-evaluation of advanced degree barriers for applicants. Shares Obed Louissaint, “The shift to the unconventional method of sourcing talent has been really intense lately. This is a win-win for both the company or hiring manager and the individual. We have to radically rethink the way we have been hiring; how we source talent and how we evaluate them. There are people, for instance, in their mid-twenties who have close to 10 years of coding experience. Is our system agile enough to have these people in our talent pipeline? The way we think about the experience is changing. We found that people from under-represented communities don’t apply for jobs until they have six to seven of the 10 requirements. At IBM, 50% of jobs are open to anyone with the right skills. This skills-first approach to hiring was a response to the global scarcity of skilled tech workers. We are constantly re-evaluating what skills are necessary to appropriately fill open positions.”

“New Collar” Worker

Focusing on what the company needs from an output versus a traditional degree model is reshaping the industry. Obed continues, “We started on this journey a few years ago with a question – what do we need to do differently in order to drive a culture of agility? At IBM, we coined a new term called “new collar.” It’s a new type of job where having the right skills matters more than having a traditional degree. Key takeaways from our journey include:

  • Change starts at the top. As leaders, it’s on us to change the tone we use and create more open and equitable pathways to employment for all.
  • Review job requirements to ensure they focus on skills, and do not disqualify candidates based on unnecessary requirements.
  • Build belief by showcasing talent to the organisation, sharing their amazing stories, and showing off their results.
  • Success is tied to building wrap-around support. It takes focused onboarding activities for talent and your management team, but results pay off in innovation and inclusion.”

IBM Agility Mindset

Obed Louissaint also hopes to reshape the entire industry’s approach to recruiting new global talent. He concludes, “It’s important to create a thriving culture of co-creation today. For workers to unleash their ingenuity, they need to have the right environment. Organisations should also be transparent with their employees and sharing data and the process of decision-making is super critical. This helps in increased employee engagement, stronger company culture, and more importantly, it helps build a sense of belonging for all employees.”

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