Employment and Jobs

Five Questions for Nicole Isaac, Senior Director of North America Policy, LinkedIn

January 15, 2020  • UpSkill America

This is the fourth in a series of blogs reflecting on innovations in upskilling in advance of UpSkill America’s fifth anniversary event. Registration for this event is full, but you may join via livestream and watch from anywhere. To learn more and RSVP, click here.

Nicole Isaac

Nicole Isaac, Senior Director of North America Policy, LinkedIn

On April 25, 2016, UpSkill America joined with Lumina Foundation and Business Champions for an event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC to look at how the upskilling movement had progressed in the first year since the White House Upskilling Summit. We began the event by hearing from LinkedIn about its recently launched Economic Graph, a digital map of the global economy derived from LinkedIn’s data.

As our fifth anniversary event approaches, we wanted to take the opportunity to check back in with LinkedIn to see how the program has progressed over time and what LinkedIn’s data is telling us about the changing landscape of employment today, now nearly four years later. Since then, the Economic Graph has grown, providing important insights into how the economy and what skills are most valuable for workers and employers. Those of you who have been following UpSkill America since the very beginning will notice we even brought back our “Five Questions For…” format as we look back and look forward in this special feature with Nicole Isaac, Senior Director of North America Policy, LinkedIn.


In 2016, the Economic Graph had just been announced as “a digital map of the global economy.” Is that still the best description? Has it turned out to be something else or something more?

With LinkedIn’s Economic Graph, we’re mapping every member, company, job, and school to uncover real-time trends in the global economy. The Economic Graph has only grown in size and scale since 2016, now with more than 660 million members, 30 million companies, 20 million open jobs, 35,000 skills, and 90,000 schools. Through insights derived from this data, we are connecting individuals to opportunity by partnering with governments and organizations around the world — from the World Economic Forum to the National Governors Association to the City of Los Angeles — to understand everything from talent migration and hiring rates to in-demand skills. Over the past four years, we’ve partnered with dozens of governments across the globe, leveraging the Economic Graph, to provide custom insights into local talent and the critical importance of upskilling, the value of connected economies, the importance of a diverse workforce, and other salient and pressing workforce challenges.

What can the Economic Graph help us learn about the future of the economy?

Global forces are shaping the nature of work at a faster rate than ever before. One of the biggest advantages of insights from the Economic Graph is that we’re able to see trends unfold in near real time, as members add new skills, new roles, and credentials to their profiles. In mapping these trends, we can start to see when new skills emerge, or where demand for certain occupations is growing. We’re also able to take a historical view and look back to see how trends in our data have coincided with other macroeconomic trends to understand what various shifts in the broader world might mean for the workforce. We are continuously uncovering new ways to leverage the Economic Graph to better understand how governments, nonprofits, and employers can help workers prepare, train for, and adapt to the coming changes in how, where, and for whom we work.

Can the Economic Graph tell us about the emerging jobs of the future and what they’re going to look like?

Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to show up in our data as a leading influence on the jobs of the future, which is no surprise. New jobs are emerging as a result of AI in fields like cybersecurity and data science, and because AI is so pervasive, many roles may demand more knowledge of AI than you may think. Unsurprisingly, data science is another field that is seeing continued growth on a tremendous scale. Our data shows data scientists may be augmenting responsibilities traditionally done by statisticians and actuaries as some industries, like insurance, transform and gear up for the future. You can learn more about the fastest-growing jobs in our Emerging Jobs Report, and dive deeper into trends in AI hiring in our contribution to Stanford’s annual AI Index. Given the influence AI we know will have on the economy, we’re continuing to zoom in on AI insights to understand which workers can benefit from the transformation, and how we can help more workers adapt to changes.

What kinds of skills should workers should focus on building to future-proof careers?

No matter how the future economy evolves, governments and organizations must help workers and students identify and build competencies that, along with the right skills, will help them to navigate change. First is critical thinking, or the ability to take in new information, update old understanding, formulate reasonable conclusions or hypotheses, and develop actions based on those results. Second is self-direction, or the ability to set one’s own goals and formulate a plan to realize those goals. Last is interpersonal connection-building, or the ability to form genuine personal connections and relationships with diverse types of people.

What does LinkedIn’s data tell us about how emerging technologies are changing the workforce?

It’s no secret that technical and digital skills are a hot commodity in today’s job market. Tech skills play a critical role in emerging jobs across the board: every emerging job needs basic tech skills, and nearly half require disruptive tech skills like AI, robotics, and cloud computing. These disruptive tech skills will have an outsized impact on the direction of society and the economy, so it is essential for leaders to understand the inequalities that exist in these roles today so that we can prevent them from intensifying in the future.

At the same time, we’re seeing that demand for soft skills is likely to increase as automation becomes more widespread. Skills like communication, creativity, and collaboration are all virtually impossible to automate, which means if you have these skills you’ll be even more valuable to organizations in the future.


Share

.@LinkedIn’s Economic Graph provides important insights into what skills are most valuable for workers and employers. In this interview with @upskillamerica, Nicole Isaac describes what the data is telling us about the changing landscape of employment.

“No matter how the future economy evolves, governments and organizations must help workers and students identify and build competencies that, along with the right skills, will help them to navigate change.” —Nicole Isaac

Data from @LinkedIn can “provide custom insights into local talent and the critical importance of #upskilling, the value of connected economies, the importance of a diverse workforce, and other salient and pressing workforce challenges.”


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