IIC Categories in Focus: Skills and Matching

This is the second part of our IIC Categories in Focus series; for a deeper dive into Humans + Machines and New Models, see our previous post.

Skills

Work today looks much different from work of the 20th Century, and the nature of work will change even more radically in the future.

As technology enables automation of routine tasks, we have seen the development of a “barbell-shaped” job market, with strong demand in high-skill, high-wage jobs, and in low-skill, low-wage jobs, and a hollowing out of the middle. And while we have seen an increase in demand for workers in low-skill jobs, wages for these jobs have dropped because of the large supply of workers.

We are seeking solutions that address the following question:

How do we re-skill members of our workforce to prepare them for opportunities of the future?

Disparities in skills and education contribute to income inequality. Skill-biased technical change — which occurs when a shift in technology leads to the favoring of some skills over others — is multi-dimensional and the solution space is large. In order for workers to succeed in jobs that will be in demand in the future, we need to position people to complement technological advances through training. It is also increasingly evident that strategic re-skilling and lifelong learning will be key.

Organizations serve an important function in enabling workers to achieve upward mobility and higher incomes. We have already seen some solutions in a variety of low-cost, short-duration education and training programs for in-demand digital skills, both online and in-person, across a variety of disciplines. Increased accessibility to relevant job training will enhance workers’ skill sets, increase their hireability, and enable higher incomes, paving the way for a more inclusive, productive and sustainable future for all.

Is your organization working to ensure that workers’ skills complement the march of technology? If so, visit our Competition website to learn more about applying under our Skills category.

Matching

Rapid changes in technology are affecting the types of work that we do and the way in which work is organized. In many cases, labor markets have not kept pace.

For example, nearly 15 million people in the United States want to work but cannot find jobs, while half of employers report job vacancies, but cannot find qualified candidates to fill those vacancies. In the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, the problem is even more pronounced. While some of this can be attributed to a skills gap, labor market matching inefficiencies are also to blame.

These inefficiencies translate into real challenges for people who struggle with unemployment, underemployment and stagnant or declining wages.

Our Competition is looking for organizations that strive to answer these guiding questions:

How do we connect qualified individuals with open opportunities for work? How do we better match labor supply with demand?

Online talent platforms, examined at length in a powerful McKinsey report last year, seek to improve the matching of workers with opportunities, enabling a broader swath of the population to share in the prosperity of the Second Machine Age.

Already, labor-market intermediaries like LinkedIn and Glassdoor have changed the job search and matching process, but we are only at the beginning of a large shift in the way workers gather information about employers (and vice versa), and ultimately, the way we engage in work. Middle- and base-level income earners especially stand to reap major benefits from matching mechanisms that enable faster, higher quality connections to work.

Are you part of an organization that develops innovations to match workers with opportunities for work that improve outcomes for middle- and base-level earners? Apply today!

via flickr (WOCinTech Chat)

Contributors: Susan Young, Lillian Chen, Devin Cook, and Shannon Farrelly