Big data derived from vacancies and applications on online jobs listings can provide important information about changes in the skills employers require and workers offer, especially in countries where alternative sources are scarce, says a new working paper by the ILO.
Using data from the Uruguayan jobs board BuscoJobs, the authors of Using Online Vacancy and Job Applicants’ Data to Study Skills Dynamics created a skills taxonomy that aggregates three broad categories of skills:
…and fourteen commonly-observed and recognizable sub-categories related to skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork, communication or finger dexterity.
The taxonomy captures the skills needed by workers in their jobs and those related to individuals’ personal attributes. It seeks to cover both the skills employers request in vacancy ads and those that workers put in their online profiles.
A consistent taxonomy is important for the accurate tracking of changes in labour market requirements, so helping employers to fill vacancies, workers to find decent jobs, and policy makers to plan for the future
…said ILO, adding that equally important is developing the methodology that enables the taxonomy to be applied to big data, as done in the study, through natural language processing and machine-learning techniques. The method can now be applied to other countries.
“Our aim was to develop a taxonomy that is comprehensive but succinct, suitable for the labour market realities of developing and emerging economies and adapted to online vacancies and applicants’ data, and a methodology to implement it using this big data,” explained Verónica Escudero, one of the authors of the report.
The advantage of our approach is its reliance on data that is currently available in many countries across the world, thereby allowing for country-specific analysis that does not need to assume that occupational skills bundles are the same across countries
stated Hannah Liepmann, economist and member of the report team.
Data from online job vacancies and applicants’ profiles are a promising source for analyzing skills dynamics, including in countries where job boards and job aggregators do not have a long tradition.
This is a relevant finding, given that these data capture country-specific developments, are available in many countries, and entail granular and longitudinal information, often for both labour demand and supply.
However, such data are not fully representative of countries’ labour forces, which might require weighting techniques and/or an analytical focus on selected labour market segments.
Nonetheless, in contrast to what one might have expected, the data capture in meaningful ways intermediate and even lower educational levels of jobs and jobseekers in addition to highly qualified labour.
Moreover, representativeness biases appear not to fluctuate substantially across time. Most importantly, BuscoJobs and similar sources of data allow studying skills dynamics in countries where this would otherwise not be possible given the current state of alternative data sources available.
This conceptual and methodological effort, the first carried out outside Europe and the United States, opens new doors for future research on skills dynamics
It also added that such future research may address empirical questions related to the role of skills in fostering transitions to better jobs and in increasing the resilience of firms and individuals when facing global transformations that affect labour markets.
Finally, according to the report, one could now study the skills composition of occupations and the within-occupational skills change at the national level, to either understand trends, evaluate the impact of shocks and regulations, or to test for the widespread use of other classifications of skills inspired from high-income countries.
Big data and soft skills for seafarers
Although, shipping seems to have started taking advantage of innovation to solve several issues in various departments, manning seems to be overlooked, according to Nandia Alegra, a Business Development Manager at Seafair.
This lag in crewing’s digital revolution comes as a surprise. Crew managers and operators are struggling to coordinate everyday operations using outdated infrastructure
says Ms. Alegra, adding that manning agents have not been keeping up with the digital reality of today.
Consequently, the whole recruitment process seems to be falling off, affecting millions of seafarers. However, technology and data can help improve crewing in every aspect. In fact, digital sourcing of seafarers is a crucial element of this.
As for the future sea workforce, seafarers should consider the following 3 key issues:
- Automation: a fundamental transformation in the way seafarers work. Automation is expected to replace human tasks and challenge the skills that shipping organizations are looking for in their people.
- CSR: A strong social conscience, a sense of environmental responsibility, a focus on diversity, human rights and a recognition that the shipping industry will have an impact, well beyond the financial.
- Soft Skills: A significant skills-gap is expected in the future, directly linked to the loss of productivity and profitability. Automation of many processes onboard, require a set of skills that goes beyond what machines are capable of; non-technical skills, the so-called “soft skills”.
“So, once again in maritime history, interpersonal skills, self-management skills and ability to cope with unstructured tasks are about to become the main factor that differentiates between the low performing and the high performing crews,“ says Dr. Luiza Shahbazyan, Product Manager CAT, Safebridge Cyprus.
Top 10 mostly asked soft skills for the 2020s
- Complex problem solving
- Critical Thinking
- People management
- Coordinating with others
- Emotional intelligence
- Judgement and decision-making
- Service orientation
- Cognitive flexibility
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