Forget job titles, skills will be labor market drivers

  • 29/10/2019  |
Forget job titles, skills will be labor market drivers

Job titles and degrees are history. According to World Economic Forum, skills are the new currency on the labor market and they need to be updated relentlessly. Due to digital transformation and automation, the demand for workers with a wide-ranging skill set is stronger than ever. In other words, we will soon face “a skills-based, rather than degree-based labor market”, which means workers will need to be more flexible. Linear careers will be a memory, we will go beyond the traditional life model of “learn, do, retire”. For a software engineer, for instance, it would be more important to be proficient in the most recent coding language than having any sort of graduate degree.  

Knowing this can be useful for policymakers, institutions, and organizations to study the skill evolution and to prepare for the future. How? Using new tools based on big data such as the Skills Genome ( developed by LinkedIn. “We can – explains a LinkedIn spokesperson – break down human capital into its most fundamental and critical component unit: skills. We track the supply and demand of 50,000 distinct skills as provided by our members. This allows us to identify geographically where particular skills are in shortage or in surplus. It allows us to identify which skills are emerging, or growing rapidly, or persistent over time, or shrinking in popularity”. The result? It’s possible to identify a “skills genome”, the unique skills profile, of a city, a job function, or an industry. These kinds of analysis emerging from a digital representation of the global economy based on data generated from 630 million members with more than 35,000 skills globally, make it possible to predict which skills are needed. Both education and employment, for example, are in flux with soft and technology-related skills rising in prominence. Big data can be powerful tools in helping policymakers to understand labor market and its changes.

Similar information can be precious also for workers and employees. The last century witnessed the obsolescence of many human skills acquired over thousands of years. Now we need to adapt quickly and accept one fact: the nature of our occupation will change several times during our working lives. In other words, anybody who wants to remain employable must be prepared to keep on learning throughout his or her life. So how we prepare for the future? By having a good map to visualize the landscape of the whole economy.

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