SXSW 2023

Driving DEI Through Skills-Based Hiring


It’s time to shatter the myth that no degree means no skills.

50% of all U.S. workers face a “paper ceiling” – the invisible barrier that comes at every turn for workers without a bachelor's degree. Biased algorithms. Automatic degree screening. No alumni network. It adds up.

And it limits diversity and equity in the workplace. More than 60% of Black, 55% of Hispanic, 66% of rural, and 61% of veteran workers are STARs (workers Skilled through Alternative Routes).

By naming the paper ceiling, we can begin to dismantle it—casting a wider net for the talent we welcome into our organizations, and creating more equitable opportunities for everyone.

Whatever your role, you can help change the narrative about STARs, and champion skills-based hiring in your workplace and beyond.

Other Resources / Information


  1. Learn about the paper ceiling and how it holds back the 70 million+ workers in America who are STARs (workers Skilled Through Alternative Routes).
  2. Understand how skill-based hiring can support your organization’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging goals.
  3. Embrace what you can do within your own organization—no matter your role—to remove barriers for STARs and create more opportunities for all.


  • Bridgette Gray, Chief Customer Officer, Opportunity@Work
  • Jill Kramer, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Accenture
  • Jonathan Adashek, Chief Communications Officer and Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, IBM
  • Jim Habig, VP of Marketing, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn


Dzu Bui, Vp, Group Campaign Director, The Advertising Council

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Workplace Revolution
  • Track 2
  • Level: Beginner

Add Comments

comments powered by Disqus

SXSW reserves the right to restrict access to or availability of comments related to PanelPicker proposals that it considers objectionable.