INDIANAPOLIS (May 24, 2022) — TechPoint, Indiana’s nonprofit, industry-led, tech ecosystem growth initiative, is encouraging Hoosier tech employers to rethink their job descriptions and to not require bachelor’s degrees for jobs that don’t need them but instead focus on credentials, skills and experience. Not making those changes will mean employers will continue to exclude more than 70 percent of Hoosiers from being considered for tech jobs, studies show.
To help employers make this change, TechPoint has created the Job Description Playbook: Inclusive, Skills-Based Listings and the Tech Career Pathways and Competency Maps, which are both free. It’s part of the organization’s focus on a collaborative, comprehensive effort to inclusively add more than 41,000 Hoosier tech workers by 2030.This will require Indiana to double the current national tech workforce growth rate from 2 to 4 percent.
“Achieving this growth is not as simple as removing that requirement on job descriptions, nor are we diminishing the importance of encouraging people to get a college degree,” said TechPoint’s Executive Vice President for Talent Pathways and Programs Dennis Trinkle. “We simply need to bring more people into the tech community, and we know the current system is excluding many of them, particularly women and people of color.”
Only 23 percent of native Hoosiers currently hold bachelor’s degrees, but more than 75 percent of tech and tech-enabled jobs routinely list a bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement. If prospective employees without college degrees apply, their applications are often rejected without further examination. Requiring a certain number of years of experience typically reduces hiring pools by an additional 15 to 20 percent. Other uses of inadvertently biased language culls even more potential candidates.
“The groups affected most adversely from these traditional hiring practices are those from historically under-represented groups, women and people of color,” Trinkle said. “Updating these practices will help us achieve two things: we’ll have more people in the applicant pool and we will have more diverse candidates. It will have a profoundly positive impact.”
The Indiana Office of Technology (IOT) was the first state government agency in the country to switch to a skills-first hiring approach, which it pairs with an apprenticeship program. Hoosier companies like Cummins, Eli Lilly and Company and OneAmerica have also adopted the new approach, which is expanding nationwide. LinkedIn has seen a 21 percent increase in job postings advertising skills and responsibilities, rather than qualifications and requirements. The number of job postings on LinkedIn that don’t require a college degree increased by nearly 40 percent from 2019 to 2020.
“This program takes individuals excited for a career change into IT, provides them with work-based learning, mentoring, coaching, and industry certifications to launch them on successful career paths across the State of Indiana,” IOT Chief Information Officer Tracy Barnes said. “IOT is eager to bring this talent into state government – and we are very pleased with the results of the program thus far, and I’m equally excited seeing the positive life impacts for the participants.”
In addition to retooling the way employers hire, TechPoint is also asking them to change the way they promote their employees. Many experienced and highly qualified tech workers, who have either taught themselves tech skills or learned on the job, aren’t typically promoted in large part because they don’t hold higher education degrees, which are required for managerial and executive-level jobs.
TechPoint is focusing much of its efforts in 2022 on talent growth related efforts, which include working to attract and retain people with tech skills, as well as to help them gain skills through student and adult apprenticeship programs; raising awareness of the breadth of tech positions available and how Hoosiers can step into them; and promoting open positions on its Job Board. The organization will continue to support efforts to attract and retain college graduates through its Xtern and Pitch programs and will bolster those with adult apprenticeships.
About TechPoint: TechPoint is the nonprofit, industry-led growth initiative for Indiana’s technology companies and overall tech ecosystem. The team is focused on attracting talent, accelerating scale-up companies, activating the community and amplifying stories of success. For more information, please visit www.techpoint.org.