Executive search

There is too narrow a picture of what skills and competencies look like and where to find them, both in the business world and in the public sector. This leads to a heightened notion that it is difficult to find the right skills, according to "The Recruitment Paradox – The Importance of Diversity for Tomorrow’s Skills Supply" (2023), the most recent Wes Insights report. Rethinking and broadening how competencies and experiences are perceived, looking outside one's own industry, and better harnessing the value of transferable skills are effective ways to rectify the situation.

The report is based on a survey answered by over 800 managers and leaders in the private and public sectors. It concludes that the business world is stuck in a recruitment paradox. Far too many companies do not take advantage of all of the available talent, skills, and potential. Despite having insight into the problems and the opportunities for resolve, companies and organizations choose not to use the available solutions.

The report offers five recommendations to leadership on how to rectify the situation:

1. Drop the industry requirements

We often equate skills with industry experience, but these are not necessarily the same thing. Having the courage to seek skills outside of the industry is one of the most effective ways to secure skills supply in the future. Our study's results point to the risks of letting industry experience dictate what counts as qualifications too much. Not only are we missing out on a large talent pool; we also risk hampering innovation and develop­ ment when new experiences are not allowed to enter and enrich the creative processes. If the selection of candidates is perceived as limited in your industry, seek out similar experiences and contexts.

2. Update how you recruit

Skill supply is crucial for business success. Even so, our study shows that most people consider themselves bad at using the entire pool of skills. There is a goldmine of potential out there that we are not using. It is high time for organizations to look inward. Do we have professional processes in place for recruitment and leadership development? Are we clinging to old ideas about which skills count? Professionalize the recruitment process and make demands of your recruit­ ment partner! Do not accept lists of candi­dates with the exact same backgrounds. Look outside of your own networks, dare to be a difficult client, and ask for a wider pool of candidates.

3. Set a long-term skills strategy – at all levels

In times of uncertainty and transforma­tion, it is more important than ever to equip your organization with the best conditions for finding the right skills in the future. The composition and supply of skills for build­ ing the company going forward should be a matter for the board at a strategic level. To set requirements and prioritize the issue, we rec­ommend that the board formulate expecta­tions and KPIs for the CEO and management.

4. Develop inclusive leadership

Our report shows the enormous advantages of deep-­level diversity in an organization. But getting there requires leadership that lives and breathes diversity, every day. An inclusive leader is genuinely committed to and knowledgeable about diversity issues while being aware of their own privileges and blind spots. This kind of leadership continuously and actively seeks to expand openness and increase responsive­ness and curiosity about new perspectives.

5. Boost learning

To stand a chance of remaining compet­itive and attractive for future talent, we must accelerate learning in our organizations. Psychological safety is essential, but we also need to be challenged to grow. One good idea is to introduce more activities in the organi­zation that promote learning and encourage employees to share knowledge. Diversity and learning are connected – seeking to increase diversity also boosts learning.



More about the report: 


For questions regarding Wes Insights 2023 — The Recruitment Paradox, other Wes reports, or tailored lectures and workshops, please contact us at kontakt@wesgroup.se.

For media inquiries, please contact Rebecka Shirazi, Head of Communications at Wes, on +46 (0)70 959 43 03 or rebecka@wesgroup.se.