Putting skills on the map

Nesta has created a comprehensive public map of skills in the UK to help tackle forecast shortages ahead of Brexit

In light of the current skills shortage, and in preparation for post-Brexit Britain, Nesta analysed 41 million online job adverts to create a comprehensive public classification of skills in the UK

The innovation foundation says its aim is to engender better informed decisions by policy makers, educators, businesses, workers and students.

As Britain’s businesses predict a post-Brexit skills shortage – and longer-term factors such as automation change the skills we need – it’s hoped that the classification will enable more informed decisions by policymakers, educators, businesses, workers and students.

It is claimed that the detailed classification will allow for better planning of recruitment, training and education, and help workers and students make more informed career choices.

Nesta’s analysis detected the skills needed for different jobs, showing how they have changed over time, as well as estimating the market value they command.

Skill groups with relatively high salaries and high growth include:

 – Data engineering

 – IT security operations

 – Marketing research

 – App development

 – Web development

“We have created the UK’s first publicly available data-driven skills taxonomy because, more than ever, we need to create an informed labour market.”

Skill groups with relatively low salaries and low growth include:

 – Shipping and warehouse operations

 – Medical administration and coding

 – General sales

 – Archiving and libraries

 – Journalism and writing

Eliza Easton, Principal Policy Researcher, Creative Economy and Data Analytics at Nesta says: “The UK’s skill shortage is costly, damaging to growth, and could worsen, because the skills that we need are changing. This isn’t just because of new technologies and automation, but is also impacted by factors including globalisation, climate change and an ageing population. Brexit may also radically change the skills we have access to in the UK.”

Skill shortages are costly and can hamper growth, with the Open University estimating that they cost the UK £2bn a year in higher salaries, recruitment costs and temporary staffing bills. Nesta’s analysis shows how new sources of big data can help to create a more informed labour market, a big step in addressing the issue.

“We have created the UK’s first publicly available data-driven skills taxonomy because, more than ever,” says Eliza, “we need to create an informed labour market. Informed in the sense that education providers, workers, students, employers and policy makers understand how skills are changing and are empowered to react to these changes. New technologies may put jobs at risk, but one of the great benefits of the technological revolution is that we now have the opportunity to create a labour market fuelled by data and evidence. We now need to act on this evidence to protect the most vulnerable to these shifts in the labour market, ensuring they have access to lifelong learning and retraining schemes.”

The skills classification builds on Nesta’s research into which digital skills will be required for the future workforce, and its research with Pearson and The Oxford Martin School about how employment is likely to change in the future.

The skills taxonomy can be viewed here and the analysis seen here.