Nearly 80 Business Roundtable member companies are participating in the Multiple Pathways Initiative, a multi-year targeted effort to reform companies’ hiring and talent management practices to emphasize the value of skills, rather than just degrees, and to improve equity, diversity and workplace culture. The corporate initiative supports efforts to address inequity in employment practices, including how people are hired and how they advance; and it will work toward eliminating unintentional bias that may prove to be a barrier to hiring and advancement.

Companies participating in this effort are implementing new recruitment and assessment strategies to better recognize and evaluate skills of all job seekers. They are also identifying upward career paths that employees can navigate by acquiring new and/or different skills along their career journey. And companies are developing and updating training programs to help employees gain the skills they need to advance.
Workforce Skills And Equity


Regarding the recruitment, hiring and promotion processes, some of the actions companies can take to address unintentional bias include:

  • Rewriting job descriptions to focus on the skills needed to succeed in the job.
  • Reviewing existing assessment tools and adopting new standard interview processes to screen candidates to determine the level of skills required to perform the job.
  • Developing and publishing transparent job advancement pathways for their current workforce that can be navigated by meeting specific training milestones and skill acquisitions.
  • Creating and using training modules that teach employees new skills needed to meet job advancement milestones. Training can be delivered through on-the-job experience (e.g., mentorships and apprenticeships), online learning platforms and/or partnerships with external education and training providers.
  • Recognizing and rewarding employees who complete credentials or certifications valued by the company.


The following principles guide the initiative, and companies recognize: 

  • Skills are as important as degrees or similar previously fixed requirements in hiring and promotion decisions.
  • Hiring practices should create opportunities for individuals from a wide array of backgrounds.
  • Employers should send clear demand signals regarding the skills needed in their workforce.
  • Upskilling and continuous learning are vital to helping employees obtain the experiences, skills, or certifications needed for professional growth.
  • Partnerships with relevant stakeholders are critical to building a skills-first approach that works for all.


Leaders including chief human resource officers of some of America’s largest employers have been working together with experts to catalogue best practices and develop resources for companies focused on core components of skills-based talent strategies—innovation, talent acquisition, internal mobility and measurement. Explore this work:


Nearly 80 companies are involved in this initiative, including: