Blog post

How skills-based organisations avoid time-to-hire headaches

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3 minutes

Talent acquisition is taking up increasing amounts of time, with the recruitment process becoming long, costly and painful. But skills-based hiring can reduce cost-per-hire and improve appointment quality.

Skills-based organisations reduce time-to-hire

The time it takes to fill open positions is increasing, according to new data from The Josh Bersin Company

Using data from global recruitment firm AMS covering half a million hires from 2022 and 2023, the study reveals that time-to-hire rates have been growing every year since before the pandemic, with employers now taking an average 44 days to make a hire. 

Of most concern is the speed of these rises. The average time has leapt up a full day in the first quarter of 2023 alone, with estimates suggesting that time-to-hire is now 40% higher than pre-pandemic. And the forecasts expect that hiring time could continue to rise to become an increasing problem for employers as they struggle to fill critical roles. 

What is the impact of increasing time-to-hire?

Industries that are finding recruitment particularly painful include energy and defence, which have the highest average time-to-hire rates. Due to the specialisation of roles and the small talent pools available in those sectors, the average time-to-hire takes an eye-watering 67 days in those industries. 

Elsewhere, hiring for IT and tech roles also continues to be time-consuming and problematic. 

The impact of lengthy time-to-hire can be significant. Businesses will be losing revenue while roles are unfilled, either directly because they are lacking an employee who would be generating income, or indirectly because other employees are having to step up and cover for the empty positions - which in turn can lead to exhaustion, sickness, negative employer brand perception…. and ultimately more vacant roles. 

Why is hiring so time-consuming?

So why is recruitment taking so long? The Josh Bersin Company lists a number of contributing factors:

  • More discerning job seekers. The unemployment rate is currently very low, so individuals can be very discriminating in the jobs they take. 
  • Skills shortages. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 revealed that organisations across all industries are concerned that skills gaps and an inability to attract talent are a key barrier for them.
  • Talent scarcity in some occupations.
  • Large numbers of retirements during the pandemic. Some older professionals that lost their jobs during the pandemic simply decided to never come back to work, with estimates suggesting that as many as 2.1 million US workers decided to take early retirement. 
  • Bureaucratic hiring processes.

What can employers do to reduce time-to-hire?

Fortunately, there are steps that organisations can take to get a grip on rising time-to-hire. 

Speaking with the Society of Human Resource Management, The Josh Bersin Company’s Senior Vice President of Research Janet Mertens has recommended that in order to tackle the problem, organisations should look at talent acquisition more strategically and embrace a skills-based approach

Other solutions she advises include improving internal talent mobility and increasing retention through greater talent development. 

Spotted Zebra’s platform is enabling employers to capitalise on all of these opportunities. 

  • Our skills-based Hiring app allows organisations to access much wider talent pools to address skills shortages and talent scarcity. We enable organisations to recruit based on the behavioural and technical skills that are key to success in specific roles, instead of relying on traditional credentials such as Degrees that automatically exclude large proportions of the skilled available workforce. 
  • Our Mobility app allows organisations to identify individuals within their existing workforce that have the potential to develop new skills aligned with critical vacant roles. 
  • Our Development app provides an understanding of talent pipelines so that businesses can identify and develop individuals with the skills that the organisation requires for future success - thereby ensuring no skills gaps for critical roles and higher talent engagement/loyalty due to their career-boosting development opportunities. 

Crucially, skills-based hiring also naturally accelerates time-to-hire.

Because candidates are assessed according to the quantifiable skills required for success in a role early on, hiring managers are able to very quickly rank applicants based on their fit for the role. And with Spotted Zebra’s proprietary assessment model, we even allow businesses to rank applicants based on their cultural fit with the organisation too. All of this reduces bureaucracy and provides a much faster and more efficient and effective hiring process - Spotted Zebra clients report that they have been able to reduce time-to-hire by as much as 40% by using our Hiring solution. 

If you'd like to review your strategic workforce plan, our experts are available for a Skills Strategy Lunch and Learn. Click here to learn more and reserve a session for you and your team.