The WFC Group Blog

The "New Collar" Workforce Isn't Just for Tech

Posted by Neil Shah on Oct 23, 2018 10:45:00 AM

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"New collar" is a phrase coined for jobs created by the evolving needs of today's businesses. These roles tend to require greater technical proficiency, but because of their recent development, the skills needed to fill them are often not readily available in the present workforce. Many companies are re-examining their traditional talent streams.

Don't Wait For a Degree

Many leading corporations are avoiding college degrees in favor of quicker certifications and trainings. Although this trend is born out of the necessity for businesses to innovate and adapt quickly, it also presents a ripple of opportunity for a new age of professional growth — potentially widening the talent pool with nontraditional sources.

Apple, Google, IBM and more have already dropped their requirements for college degrees, allowing them to tap into a younger, nimble and fast-learning generation of workers. IBM also works to train veterans with a career placement program that benefits the many users of its latest software.

Even Kronos works with Microsoft Software & Systems Academy to aid workforce management clients in sourcing highly capable technical candidates who are returning from military service with 18-month vocational training programs.

Applying the "New Collar" Approach Beyond Tech

Although new collar typically refers to tech jobs, for instance modern roles in manufacturing, there is an important lesson in this trend that businesses with skill gaps in other sectors can learn from.

It boils down to employers championing accountability for their workers — placing emphasis on developing the workforce they would like to see rather than waiting for the market to catch up. This principle relates to a topic we've explored before on maximizing companies' productivity by practicing performance development over performance management. Only now, this applies to the next generation workforce. Chances are, if new roles keep going unfilled due to lack of candidates with skills that match, then the competition is also feeling that pinch

In these cases, it may be best to refocus the talent search on less conventional sources, opting for capabilities, soft skills, and potential to learn over an immediately applicable skillset (one that already comes with a hefty price tag due to scarce talent supply).

It's time for businesses to re-examine how their traditional approach to sourcing talent may be hindering their growth. With so many boot camps, vocational trainings, and internal development opportunities, the best fit for high-demand roles may be found looking for capabilities and potential for growth rather than with years of experience and outdated certifications.

Topics: Workforce Management