Understanding the Emerging Skillstech Landscape

Identifying and analyzing the skills held by employees and job candidates is becoming a top priority in talent management – and in today’s rapidly changing economy, the focus on skills as the key unit of analysis is increasingly a major organizing principle for work itself. The same technological developments that are reshaping the workplace and accelerating the pace of skills change are also creating new opportunities for employers and others to better interpret and manage skills. As a result, a growing wave of startup companies, global enterprise software firms, nonprofit organizations, and others are investing in the development of skills taxonomies and new technologies that are driving innovation in skills management.

The explosion of providers of “skillstech” tools (many leveraging AI and machine learning) and the ongoing dialogue about skills frameworks in the policy world and among employers can be confusing to navigate. This analysis – based on more than a year of secondary research and primary interviews and demonstrations with skilltech providers and other industry leaders – defines this landscape, discusses how it is evolving, and identifies key issues for interested stakeholders to consider.

This report was produced by Northeastern University Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy.