As the job market gets ever more technical, measuring skills is more important than ever.
But it has also become more complex, so many different areas to measure. For governmental bodies, it makes it difficult to monitor and address potential skill gaps and demands. For employers, it means there’s no consistent way to compare potential employees. And for jobseekers, it’s hard to know what skills to gain and how to sell them effectively. Here’s the different ways we can measure skills in today’s labor market:
Level of education
Yes, it might be 2017 but that “education” section of your CV is still important. It lets employers know how many years’ education you have, and often gives in indication of your vocational skills, especially if you went to a technical school or university. Indeed, educational attainment remains the most common approach for measuring skills in official statistical information. UNESCO, OECD and Eurostat also try to measure the orientation of education (general or vocational) as well as specific fields. The problem? There’s a huge variation in the kind of skills and level of knowledge between countries and institutions. For example, a business degree in Germany could offer a very different syllabus to one in Spain.
Direct skill assessments
For employers, skill assessments during the job application process are seen as a handy way to ensure you match the skill requirements well, although some skills are much easier to test than others. Coding tests, for example, are fairly standard practice for programming jobs, while soft skills tests present a challenge. For official statistical purposes, direct skills assessments provide a useful snapshot of skills but are often seen as too expensive or pricey.
Self-reporting and assessment
Measuring and analyzing the skills used in specific jobs is one way for employees to measure the effectiveness of their workforce. Government institutions can also use this approach, measuring it against guidelines such as the Digital Competencies Framework. Similarly, surveys of the workforce can be used to get people to analyze their own skills.
Using OpenSKIMR to measure your skills
OpenSKIMR, an EU-funded pilot project dedicated to matching skills and talents with jobs, features a skill-assessment tool prototype. Using the latest European classification system ESCO (European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations), you can use it to input your ICT skills. A set of algorithms then calculates matching job position, as well as suggests new areas in which to grow your skills with recommended learnings. Try it now at http://openskimr.eu/.