Skills-First Talent Management

What Is Skills-First Talent Management?

Skills-first is more than a rallying cry. It is a powerful talent strategy.

At its core, embracing skills-first practices means recognizing and prioritizing skills – rather than degrees, job histories, or job titles – at every stage of the talent journey. 

The benefits of skills-first practices for employers are simple: More and better talent.  

Bigger talent pools. Improved retention. Increased opportunity and productivity. Greater efficiency.    

The Benefits of Skills-First Practices for Society

We know adopting skills-first practices is good business sense.

Our theory of change is that embracing a skills-first approach is also critical to advancing broader diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

By centering talent practices around skills, employers can increase access to economic opportunity and mobility, opening up jobs to skilled workers who would otherwise be pushed to the margins. In this way, skills-first practices serve as a meaningful lever for realizing systems-level change and closing our nation’s Opportunity Divide.

Scaling Skills-First Practices in the Private Sector

We are standing at the precipice of a paradigm shift in talent management. Skills-first practices are just beginning to reach a critical mass among Fortune 500 companies and other category-leading employers.

Making the shift to a skills-first approach requires a deep commitment to learning and iterating, robust change management within your organization, and the resolve to always reach for becoming a more inclusive workplace.

For employers willing to put in the work, the talent and business performance benefits can be substantial — and Grads of Life is poised to help you design a skills-first strategy.