Skills over schools: LinkedIn says abilities now more valuable than academics

Art Fuentes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 03 2023 09:16 AM

LinkedIn’s Head of Growth Markets, Atul Harkisanka. Handout photo
LinkedIn’s Head of Growth Markets, Atul Harkisanka. Handout photo

MANILA - More and more firms are preferring to hire people based on the skills they have instead of simply looking at what university or college they graduated from, according to career development platform LinkedIn. 

In an interview with ABS-CBN, LinkedIn’s Head of Growth Markets, Atul Harkisanka, said companies nowadays look to hire talents based on the skillset they possess. This is in contrast to the more common belief that graduates of some colleges and universities are more likely to get hired based on the prestige of these academic institutions. 

“It does not matter if went to a Tier 1 university or a college or not. If you have the right skills, you should be suitable for a job in a company,” Harkisanka said. 

Many employers are also putting less emphasis on the prestige of a potential hire’s former employer or company, or the referrals done by others. For them, the skills of a talent are the most important deciding factor. 

“Not everyone has the opportunity to go to a top school or a top company but that should not limit your chances of working at any company,” he said.

Harkisanka noted that around 40 percent of 400,000 companies and employers on LinkedIn made a successful hire in 2022 based on a “skills-first” approach. 

“For the companies to really broaden their lenses and look beyond the traditional filters of college and the company you worked at– skills first, it opens more opportunities for professionals.”


Companies are also increasingly turning to upgrading the skills of their talents or employees, not just to make them better at their jobs, but also to retain them longer. Many workers or talents said learning new skills in their jobs was important, according to LinkedIn. 

“Opportunities for continuous learning have also become table stakes for professionals in response to constant change from tech disruption and a volatile job market,” the company said. 

Harkisanka said companies that invest in upskilling their employees are likely to retain them for twice as long. 

“A company that invests in their employees, they [employees] tend to stay about 5.4 years whereas if they do not it’s 2.9 [years] so it’s almost double the length that they stay in the company,” he said. 

It also makes more sense for companies to invest in their employees instead of hiring someone externally where there is more uncertainty. But aside from this, it is also good for employee morale. 

“People don’t just stay longer, they are happier. They tend to grow with the company and business. And that is really what we are seeing in the new world of work.”


LinkedIn said that aside from technical skills and digital skills, some of the most in-demand skills on its platform are “soft skills.” 

Among these soft skills are customer service, management, communications, sales, analytical skills, project, management, leadership and marketing. 

This is reflected in paid job postings as well as standout skills of professionals who received a recruiter’s message or were hired in the past six months, the company said. 

Companies are prioritizing soft skills to help their workforce navigate complex work situations, build relationships, and achieve results, LinkedIn said. 

Meanwhile, professionals and jobseekers have been adopting new soft skills to future-proof their careers. This is seen from the popularity of these online learning courses on the LinkedIn platform, the company said. 

LinkedIn said it currently has 11 million members in the Philippines, which represent around 25 percent of the total professional population in the country. 


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