The world’s largest and most popular professional social media platform has teamed up with a local authority to create a digital skills map of Manchester. As part of its global Economic Graph initiative, which aims to map the global economy, LinkedIn has produced a digital map that enables the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to understand the city’s labour market by highlighting skills that the majority of workplaces in that area are looking for. Based on the information provided, the GMCA will be able to encourage schools, colleges, universities, training providers and employers to provide courses that equip people with the skills identified as those being the most sought after.
Cabinet Office Minister, Matt Hancock, said: “Getting the right skills, for the right jobs in the right place is mission critical for a strong economy. This is where data maps come into their own – demonstrating for the first time that technology and data can be used in partnership to build a highly skilled local workforce. The potential is huge and this new project must not be underestimated.”
The report has found that some of the skills most desired by companies include social skills, the ability to use Twitter, critical thinking and communications. Funded by Greater Manchester, Manchester University is one of the many educational institutions in the city that will be providing tailored courses based on the research collected by LinkedIn.
“The report is incredibly positive and helps us to highlight the strength of the city-region’s creative, tech and digital sector and our ability to attract talent and roles from across the North and London,” says Councillor Sean Anstee. “We will use the findings to inform a Greater Manchester Digital Skills Action Plan to improve digital training and skills provision within schools, higher education and in workplaces across the region.”
The project is the first of its kind and it affords people the opportunity to study courses that, according to the research, are most likely to offer them the best job prospects after they have completed their studies. In a city where 32% of the population – that is 4% below the national average – hold the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, this initiative has the potential to improve career prospects and earning potential.
LinkedIn is able to offer a weálth of information on the labour market, since almost 60% of the UK workforce is a member of the social media site. If used wisely and correctly, the data and research collected could have a positive impact on education, employment and skills related public policy.
One danger, however, is that labour markets are constantly changing, which could create a situation where the research becomes obsolete every few years (or possibly even sooner). By the time candidates complete the course they chose on the basis of the information provided by the GMCA and LinkedIn collaboration, it could be that their qualifications and skills are no longer deemed necessary given the shifting demand.
Another consideration is that the whole thing is somewhat back to front for the potential employee. Just because a commercial need is there, it doesn’t necessarily follow that each local individual jobseeker will jump at the chance to fulfil it. Primarily (and naturally), most jobseekers look for jobs that are right for them, rather than going out of their way to fulfil a particular need for a local employer. Yes, the knowledge of additional (local) options is potentially a good carrot, but ultimately it is still always going to be up to the individual candidate whether or not they apply, regardless of job availability.
That said, some employers may still find the report useful. For example, this latest report suggests that writing and publishing, drama and theatre, game development, TV and video production, and social media marketing are the top skills flowing into Manchester from sources like London, Liverpool, Birmingham and Leeds. Keeping track of such data could be helpful in influencing companies to create relevant roles that exploit both local and regional talent.
To view the report, see: http://www.slideshare.net/linkedineurope/linkedin-and-gmca-greater-creators-report