Why It Makes Sense To Build Bridges Between Employers And Workers When The Economy Is Strong
This is a once-in-a-lifetime economy; everything is headed in the right direction. Which means it’s the absolute wrong time to divert our attention from weaknesses that still exist.
40 percent of employers report they can’t fill open positions and only 35% of employers feel college graduates are sufficiently ready for the entry-level jobs in today’s workforce. We still have 6.9 million available jobs and, ironically, the U.S. has 6.2 million workers unemployed.
Fortunately, there are ways to overcome these hurdles that are tested and successful.
Talent Pipeline Management™ (TPM) helps connect workers to the jobs employers are trying to fill. It provides an organized structure—a playbook—for employers to build stronger talent pipelines through partnerships with trusted education providers.
Over two years ago we set a goal of engaging 1,000 employers in the TPM strategy to help them build those partnerships and create sustainable pipelines of skilled talent for their industry. Since TPM’s launch, we have surpassed that goal.
Today, more than 1,500 employers across 26 states are using TPM as their strategy to address their talent needs. And while we are excited about the energy within the TPM movement, exceeding our goal is not permission to slow down.
There is still work to do.
Through the TPM process, we learned that hiring gaps are more than an employer engagement problem—the technology infrastructure is not there to support our increasingly dynamic labor markets. Today’s human resource technology tools struggle to keep pace.
In addition, employers would like to be able to better convey their talent needs and help workers obtain the high-quality, in-demand jobs that are available, but the reality is that the tools to screen applicants effectively and hire employees based on what they know and are able to do aren’t there.
This dual challenge led to the creation of the Job Data Exchange (JDX), a pilot program to design new standards for job descriptions and a digital library of open source “job data” resources that will move our country toward a competency-based hiring labor market.
With JDX, employers move from static job description postings full of out-of-date lists of hiring requirements to providing dynamic, structured hiring requirements (“job data”) that align with the way job seekers and education and training partners talk about skills and competencies.
We need to be in a labor market where employers can hire and advance workers based on specific competencies or credentials, and job seekers can match their skills to open jobs, in real-time.
Building the technology infrastructure
The need to connect the information in the JDX to the rest of the data and systems across the talent marketplace led to the establishment of the T3 Innovation Network.
This network of over 150 organizations has been working together to consider how to leverage the complex technology we have available today, like blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), and build the infrastructure our labor market needs to create seamless connections between disparate systems.
The T3 Innovation Network is made up of just the right mix of critical stakeholders to thoroughly explore the ways in which data are shared and exchanged within and across the talent marketplace in order to make these systems work better for everyone – most critically the worker/learner.
This portfolio of work reflects the type of innovation that has been happening across industries for decades. Imagine if education providers knew in real time when an employer updated the skills required for a certain job position, like they were making the edit in a shared Google Doc.
Or if we could each have our own language and way of speaking about competencies and skills in our own silos, yet have an infrastructure in place that allowed for seamless translation of those skills between stakeholders, like the international currency exchange.
Though they aren’t direct comparisons, and this type of infrastructure cannot be built over night, to solve the hiring challenges we are facing we must be prepared to take bold, collaborative steps forward.
As technology continues to advance, it is imperative that we bring the labor market up to speed so that we can keep pace with change and ensure the future of work is in an economy that competes on talent, nor for it.
These challenges, and some of the solutions that are in progress across the country, will be on the agenda at the end of this month at our annual workforce conference, Talent Forward, when employers, policymakers, and stakeholders gather in the nation’s capital to examine these efforts and discuss what more can be done. Will you join the conversation?