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New SHRM Research Makes the Case for Skills-Based Hiring

79 percent of employers say skills assessments are just as or more important than other hiring criteria.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) released new research today that shows more than half of employers—56 percent—use pre-employment assessments to gauge job applicants' knowledge, skills and abilities.

The recent survey of 1,688 HR professionals reveals trends in the use of skills assessments in hiring, including a willingness on the part of employers to consider candidates who do not have a college degree or the minimum years of experience. 

SHRM found that 79 percent of HR professionals say that scores on skills assessments are just as or more important than traditional criteria in hiring decisions, and 36 percent say a job candidate who scores high on an assessment but doesn't meet the minimum years of experience is very likely to make it onto the list of final candidates. 

"With employers still struggling to fill vacant positions, HR professionals are leading the way in using skills-based hiring and skilled credentials to acquire top talent," said SHRM Chief of Staff and Head of Government Affairs Emily M. Dickens. "I was honored to speak on this topic during a recent roundtable with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. SHRM will continue to partner with government and business leaders to reach untapped talent pools and grow diversity in the workplace."

Here are other key findings from SHRM's survey:

  • 28 percent of HR professionals said a job candidate who scores high on the assessment but doesn't meet the minimum education requirement would be very likely to make it onto the list of final candidates for consideration. Forty percent said that would be somewhat likely in the same scenario. 
  • 82 percent of organizations that require work samples or work simulation tests do so for applicants identified for further consideration.
  • 78 percent of HR professionals say the quality of their organization's hires has improved due to their use of assessments.
  • 23 percent of HR professionals said the diversity of their hires has improved using these assessments.
  • Of organizations that utilize pre-employment assessments, 1 in 4 plan to expand their use of these assessments in the next five years.
  • Of organizations that don't utilize pre-employment assessments, 1 in 10 plan to start using them in the next five years.

 SHRM recognizes the importance of assessments linked directly to skills the job requires. Learn more at


The survey was fielded electronically to a random sample of HR professionals from the active SHRM membership February 1-17, 2022. In total, 1,688 SHRM members participated in the survey. Respondents represented organizations of all sizes in a wide variety of industries across the United States.

About SHRM

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces. More than 95% of Fortune 500 companies rely on SHRM to be their go-to resource for all things work and their business partner in creating next-generation workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally. Learn more at and on Twitter @SHRM.


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