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One of the biggest challenges facing the world economy is a broken labor market—but at Burning Glass we are convinced there are also data-driven solutions. So is New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (author of “The World is Flat”), who took on this problem in today’s column. In fact, he cites our “Moving the Goalposts” study right up front:

So here’s an interesting statistic from a 2014 labor survey by burning-glass.com: 65 percent of new job postings for executive secretaries and executive assistants now call for a bachelor’s degree, but “only 19 percent of those currently employed in these roles have a B.A.” So four-fifths of secretaries today would not be considered for two-thirds of the job postings in their own field because they do not have a four-year degree to do the job they are already doing! The study noted that an “increasing number of job seekers face being shut out of middle-skill, middle-class occupations by employers’ rising demand for a bachelor’s degree” as a job-qualifying badge — even though it may be irrelevant, or in no way capture someone’s true capabilities, or where perhaps two quick online courses would be sufficient.

He also goes on to cite some of the best work from other organizations on the skills gap, such as a recent McKinsey report and research from Opportunity@Work. “Technology is redefining work and commerce, and if we’re smart it can also redefine education for employment and advancement so everyone can monetize, or improve, any skill and connect with any employer in need of it,” Friedman said.

We couldn’t agree more. Real-time labor market information holds enormous promise for creating a more efficient, more effective labor market for employers and workers alike.

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