New LinkedIn Research Explores the Shift Toward Skills-Based Hiring

Data shows 69% of professionals think verified skills are more important than a college degree

As the modern workplace evolves, finding the talent your company truly needs to thrive can be difficult. First off, the skills we need to succeed in the modern workforce are not static. In fact, the most in-demand occupations and specialties did not exist ten years ago, and the pace of change is only accelerating.  

But what’s more, old school hiring practices might be getting in our own way. While higher education and past experience are solid indicators of a good match for a role, there’s an increasing need for employers to verify applicant skills. 

At LinkedIn, we recognize that reducing friction between highlighting, discovering and validating valuable job skills is an important step in facilitating economic opportunity. That’s why we launched LinkedIn Skill Assessments today-- standardized, short-form assessments to help our members showcase select skills and stand out. 

We surveyed 2,000 respondents in Employment in the US and 500 respondents who are involved in the Hiring Process in the U.S. to understand the importance both groups place on  assessing, validating, showcasing, and learning new skills. Here are the highlights of what we found:

Skills-based hiring is on the rise

There’s never been a higher demand for quality technical talent than there is now.  In fact, 69% of professionals think verified skills are more important than college education when job-seeking and 77% of hirers agree they are investing more towards hiring based on applicants skills or competencies


  • 87% of hirers agree the skills a candidate lists are crucial for them as they vet them

  • 89% of hirers said they think skill assessments are an essential part of evaluating candidates for a job that requires knowledge of hard skills, and 83% agree they expect skill assessments to have an impact on the future of hiring

  • 79% of professionals think credentials, and other ways to validate your skills, are becoming more important when job-seeking, and  85% agree skills will be increasingly more important in the future world of work

Professionals are hungry for a way to show off their skills

Applying to a job is emotional. It can be demoralizing to research and apply to jobs for months, just to never hear back. In fact, over half (52%) of professionals feel their skills have been overlooked in the hiring process in the past, and 24% said they occasionally struggle to get an interview for a job even though they possessed 100% of the skills required. Our new research highlights the top five key benefits for professionals to validate their skills:

  • To understand areas for learning: 88% of professionals would be likely to take a learning course to help improve their skills

  • To prove they have the right skills for the job: 69% of professionals perceive the advantages of their skills being assessed ahead of a job interview

  • To prove their skills in the same way they can prove their education: 67% of professionals think it can be hard to prove their skills in the same way that they can their education

  • To stand out amongst a sea of candidates: 76% of professionals wish there was a way for employers to verify their skills so they stand out amongst other candidates

  • To keep their skills up to date: More than half of professionals have been inspired to learn a new skill to keep their skills up to date

The ability to verify candidate skills is invaluable for recruiters and hiring managers 

80% of hirers agree they have sometimes found candidates claim to not have skills they said they did during the hiring process, and 77% agree it’s hard to know what skills candidates possess without a skill assessment.

Validating skills empowers hirers to be more impactful. The top four key benefits of verifying candidate skills we identified are:

  • To save time: 87% of hirers agree an easy way to verify candidate skills would save time

  • To help decide who should move forward in the hiring process: 86% of hirers agree

  • To make the hiring process more fair: 85% of hirers agree

  • To help pinpoint quality candidates faster: 58% of hirers agree


Research conducted by Censuswide with 2,000 respondents in Employment in the US and 500 respondents who are involved in the Hiring Process in the US. Fieldwork was carried out in May 2019.

Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society. All survey panellists are double opted in (with an opt-in and validation process) in line with MRS and ESOMAR standards.


For more on the Skill Assesments launch, see the LinkedIn Talent Blog here.