A New Understanding of Pathways

Skills Series: Part Three

Published on Feb 20, 2020

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Drew Repp

In a rapidly changing economy and labor market, context and nuance is vital when making decisions. Whether adjusting a workforce program, presenting your community to a site selector, or updating curriculum, the devil is in the details. And skills provide that detail. The result of experience, education, and knowledge, skills are what people have and employers need. Over the last two weeks we’ve seen how skills provide a deeper understanding of a job and reveal the uniqueness of industries across regions.    

Better understanding roles and industries greatly assist in decision making and problem solving. But skills also provide a very tangible solution to the friction occurring in the labor market. 

Job seekers want to apply for the jobs that best fit their experience and skills, and employers want to find the optimal candidate. Both want to be efficient in the process. Using Lightcast skills data, the needs of employers can be more clearly identified, and the skills of regional talent more accurately characterized. Put another way, skills get employers and job seekers speaking the same language, and this allows them to connect far more efficiently.

Here’s how it works

Incumbent workers and job seekers have profiles and resumes with skills that can be parsed and tagged. Similarly, employers have job postings with skill requirements which can be parsed and tagged. Because skills are the fundamental units that transmit value, clearly matching the skills within resumes and job postings allows employers to better identify talent and job seekers to determine what roles they’re qualified for.    

Instead of employers sifting through resumes for possible matches, skills data can suggest the top candidates, and instead of job seekers browsing for possible jobs, it can suggest those opportunities they should pursue. In many ways, job boards and community talent websites only provide signals, but skills data can go a step further and actually connect people and employers via the most valuable conduit: skills.

Career pathways

Last week we looked at how skill clusters reveal opportunities and gaps in a region’s workforce. It can also reveal gaps and opportunities for the individual job seeker. This in turn provides guidance and actionable next steps on career pathways and the learning experiences needed to compete for better jobs.

Using job history data from online profiles, probability percentages of occupation transitions can be produced. If we know an individual’s job history, skills data makes it possible to determine what roles they are best suited to move into. Below is an example of what this could look like for engineering graduates. This can inform communities and learning providers where upskilling is necessary, or perhaps reskilling is needed to get the individual into their desired job.

Why this is important

Skill clusters can drive out inefficiencies in the hiring process, helping employers and job seekers find the right fit faster. And by mapping the web of relationships of skills in a region, adjacent careers begin to emerge. These adjacencies can be used to help workers and students realize available options, as well as more precise learning pathways.

Missed an earlier skills post?

Catch-up on the series here:



Each day Lightcast is working to put skills data into the hands of communities to help them solve workforce problems. Allow us to show you how! 

Contact Form