As the old saying goes: Good people are hard to find.
Nothing could be truer, especially for today’s employers that say they have millions of skilled jobs available but lack workers with the right skills to fill them. Clearly, businesses are grappling with the realities of the skills gap, and this is only being aggravated by the rapid pace of technological change and evolving nature of work. So, what to do?
We are already on a mission—as an innovative company and as global citizens—to help mitigate the effects of the skills gap by connecting job seekers and organizations seeking talent. In recent months, we’ve made great strides on the community front with our Tomorrow’s Talent forum, where Workday, together with Bloomberg, brought together business and education leaders for a lively discussion on ways to collaborate to support the success of emerging and existing workforces. And, as part of our Workday Foundation efforts, we’ve formalized our workforce development function—Opportunity Onramps—to create more opportunities for non-traditional talent, such as candidates that may not have had a linear path through higher education or previous corporate work experience.
These are important, and ongoing, efforts, but we also realize that we need to do more. So, we are tackling this issue in the most natural way we know how—with technology. While there is apprehension about newer technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation for contributing to the skills gap, we see a bigger opportunity here, where AI—particularly machine learning and deep learning—is part of the broader solution.
Bridging the Great Talent Divide
To help global organizations become enterprises of the future, we’re applying AI and advanced analytics to reimagine how they source, train, utilize, develop, reskill, nurture, and retain talent to meet evolving business. Our ultimate vision? A talent marketplace that can effectively connect the right people with the right opportunities.
In the future, we see this delivered to our customers as an on-demand resource that helps them quickly find willing and skilled workers—as soon as the organization has a need. We see this coming to life in three stages:
Stage 1: Establishing a Smarter Skills Foundation
The first step in creating a talent marketplace is to establish a skills foundation. I’m excited to share that we now have this in place with the general availability of skills cloud—a machine learning-powered, universal skills ontology that helps organizations cleanse, understand, and relate job skills data.
This technology will serve as a foundation in Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) for future talent marketplace functionality. We believe the skills cloud will provide immediate value to customers, because it is:
Powered by rich workforce data based on a customer community that represents more than 31 million workers and tracks movement between jobs for all of these users.
More intelligent than any other existing skills catalog or library, with a machine learning algorithm capable of understanding and identifying related skills, consuming new skills, and continuously learning.
Built into Workday HCM and managed and maintained by Workday, eliminating the need for specialized training or expertise by users.
The skills cloud—which marks our first foray into the talent marketplace world—will simplify the skills language for recruiters, managers, and HR professionals, all without requiring any skills administration on their part. This will drive future Workday innovation focused on talent optimization, so we can help organizations clearly see where their skills gaps exist and better understand the untapped potential of their workforce.
Stage 2: Advancing the Internal Talent Marketplace Concept
With a strong foundation in place via our skills cloud, we can begin to foster a true marketplace that helps employers easily find internal talent and create more development opportunities for employees.
Organizations will need to get comfortable with using a marketplace model to mobilize existing employees and promote internal mobility. An internal talent marketplace works best when companies trust that their people:
Are engaged and motivated to do good work.
Deserve to know what opportunities are currently available to them.
Are ready to take on new challenges and career experiences, beyond their day-to-day work.
A talent marketplace should flag open opportunities and provide bi-directional recommendations—between workers and work owners. For workers, this means recommendations on opportunities with requirements that match their skills, and development opportunities that will help them upskill or reskill to meet those requirements. This is important from an employee perspective because there tends to be little insight into what other jobs would be a good fit, and it would enable workers to be more active in steering their own career paths.
Work owners—including project managers and hiring managers—would get a list of people inside the enterprise with applicable skills and capabilities that match their needs. This is useful for filling both full-time positions and staffing project work.
This internal talent marketplace model should provide organizations with the kind of granular, meaningful workforce detail that is very difficult to find today, enabling more visibility into and greater understanding of the skills landscape pertaining to costs, time-to-fill, worker availability, and more. This will help to balance work in the enterprise more effectively.
Stage 3: Extending the Talent Marketplace Model to External Talent
Once we’ve successfully established the internal marketplace, we must extend the model to add in external, non-employee talent—such as freelancers, independent consultants, and contractors. Having the ability to quickly and painlessly source workers from a pool of skilled talent is vital for an organization that wants to stay competitive in a dynamic business environment.
Let’s look at this in a real-world scenario with the way things are today: A stay-at-home mom with 10-plus years of video experience is looking for part-time gig work. She owns her own equipment, editing tools, and software so she can operate independently—the catch is that she can only work 3-4 hours a day while her kids are at school. On the demand side, a marketing team leader needs a new product video created in a short timeframe. Neither the creative team nor the external agency they use have the bandwidth to execute the project.
What happens today? The project is scrapped, the company misses out on an opportunity to showcase a new product for prospects, and the skilled video editor sits at home. Just think of how much talent is underutilized, and how many important projects don’t get completed on time because we don’t have a frictionless talent marketplace—yet.
Ultimately, our goal is to enable talent optimization for our customers, regardless of where the talent is, by delivering a talent marketplace that easily connects employees and candidates with employers in need of skilled workers. Our skills cloud, available today, will serve as the intelligent foundation for that vision as we continue on this path to prepare businesses for the future of work.