Jobs and the Future of Work

Does your job title matter anymore?

Employees arrive for work at Tech Mahindra office building in Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi

"A job title alone doesn’t tell you what is required for that job" Image: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Allen Blue
Co-Founder and Vice-President, Products, LinkedIn Corporation
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Future of Work

Today, the World Economic Forum published the Future of Jobs Report - a new report that highlights the fact that most businesses face talent shortages, and explains how reskilling and upskilling today’s workers can help to remedy the situation.

Many members of the global workforce can’t keep up with the shift in skills required for jobs, which are seen by some as part of the evolving Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, the increasing availability of data about labor supply and demand and the economy more broadly can help policymakers, employers, educators, and members of the workforce react quickly and effectively to changes in demand for skills and collectively increase economic opportunity worldwide.

LinkedIn’s aim is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. To achieve this, we’re building the world’s first Economic Graph - a digital map of the global economy. More than 400 million workers in more than 200 countries and territories have added their professional information - including their education, skills, and past and present jobs - to LinkedIn to showcase their professional brand, network, and advance their careers. That gives us unique insights into the global economy.

When a job title is not enough

We’ve been analyzing this data for the past two years, and publishing it in aggregate form as part of research projects, partnerships, and other initiatives with academics, governments, and NGOs around the world. Our research projects include a new monthly report - called the LinkedIn Workforce Spotlight - that highlights economic trends in LinkedIn’s data. And we’re partnering with the World Economic Forum to provide data from the Economic Graph detailing global workforce skills.

Specifically, we’re focussing on an analysis of skills - the most atomic unit in the area of workforce analysis. Our data shows that a job title alone doesn’t tell you what is required for that job. That’s because a job title can mean different things in different industries and geographies. Instead, the best way to navigate the rapid change in supply and demand of skills is to describe each job as an agglomeration of skills.

To prove this, we analyzed four different job titles - mechanical engineer, software engineer, accountant, and sales manager. The table below list the top 10 most common skills among LinkedIn members with these job titles.

“Now-casting” the top 10 most common skills among LinkedIn members with specific job titles uncovers skills that are in demand, shows how job requirements are changing, and can help the workforce prepare for future demand. The supply-side analysis can be complemented with a correlative analysis of skills in demand to identify emerging skills gaps.

The table below shows skills that LinkedIn members added to their profiles recently as a percentage of those who already have that skill. A skill listed here shows an increase in supply of this skill in the labor market. For example, India is experiencing a particularly rapid increase in machine learning skills.

Table by LinkedIn: Percentage growth of skills on LinkedIn member profiles from December 1, 2015 to December 15, 2015 for a subset of skill clusters.

These are just some of the insights that are relevant to policymakers, employers, educators, and members of the workforce to increase economic opportunity worldwide. We welcome ideas on how we can partner with governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders to provide transparency and insights into labor markets around the world.

Author: Allen Blue is VP Product Management and Co-Founder at LinkedIn.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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