Five reasons why it’s time to scrap the CV

The great skills mismatch

Robert Newry

CEO and Co-Founder

Insight author headshot

The future of work is digital. And, by 2025, the World Economic Forum predicts that:

  • 85m jobs will disappear
  • 97m new digital-first jobs will arise
  • Half of workers will need to reskill

The result? The deepest talent mismatch since the Industrial Revolution. A world with millions of capable workers, but few with the skills you need most.

Soon, this mismatch will cost employers £38bn in lost growth, every year. Faced with these figures, it’s clear that how we hire has to change.

And I see only one place to start...

It’s time to scrap the CV

Tackling this mismatch will take more than comfy hiring defaults. And the comfiest of all? The CV.

Here are five reasons why, with Arctic Shores’ latest research report, I’m calling on all employers to scrap the CV for good.

1. The cost of experience-based hiring

Two in three employers say hiring for experience shrinks talent pools – driving runaway salary inflation. Starting salaries in London are rising faster than any year on record, and Amazon has doubled its pay cap for hard-to-fill tech roles.

These costs will soon be unsustainable – £6.6bn, every year. And, as competition intensifies, that’ll only increase. Between salary costs and agency fees, one thing’s clear: hiring for experience is like termites for talent budgets.


2. Poor predictions

In 2019, researchers Van Iddekinge, Arnold, Frieder & Roth found that CVs tell us almost nothing about how people will perform in future. There are two reasons why:

Firm-specific experience

Experiences in Organisation A rarely translate to Organisation B. In fact, they’re usually baggage, not a benefit. New cultures and processes often mean experienced hires are less effective than you’d expect.

Zero data

CV’s don’t measure anything. Instead, they encourage us to assume that candidates have developed the necessary qualities from their previous experience. But zero data means zero proof means zero prediction.

3. A hiring blocker

As I’ve said, businesses will lose £38bn in unfulfilled growth, every year, because they can’t fill key roles. The CV is fuelling that problem.

Because CVs contain no objective data, there’s no clear benchmark for who should progress. Instead, they promote subjective criteria, increasing rejection rates and shrinking talent pools. That makes CVs total hiring blockers.

Jackie Dane, CPO at LaFosse Associates, calls these criteria “unicorn profiles”. And she’s not wrong: if you’re looking for unicorns with a CV, you’ll struggle to hire anyone at all.


4. A diversity disaster

Only hiring from within your industry will always hamper diversity – especially in industries like tech, where 75% of employees are male. However, in the panic to fill roles, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Will Searle, Capita’s Chief People Officer, explains that hiring for so-called ‘relevant experience’ will shackle opportunity, increasing both gender and ethnicity pay gaps.

5. The candidate experience

According to Virgin Media O2, 78% of job-seekers want to be judged on their potential – not their experience. What’s more, almost a fifth wish employers wouldn’t ask for a CV.

So scrapping the CV is a sure-fire way to improve your employer brand. And, by putting potential at the heart of how you hire, jobseekers are more likely to see you as an inclusive, forward-thinking employer.

Tomorrow’s challenges, yesterday’s solutions

If we keep hiring how we always have, clinging onto skills and experience as the only indicator of true talent, this skills crisis will only deepen. We’ll be stuck in a world where salaries spiral, and poaching is the only option. It just isn’t sustainable.

But there is an alternative: a better world, built on endless potential, and every employer’s courage to see it. At Arctic Shores, that’s the world we’re working towards.

Scrapping the CV won’t be easy – but then the boldest steps never are. For more insight on how to scrap the CV – and how to select for potential instead – download your free copy of the full report here.

Download here

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