Matt Sigelman, chief executive of Burning Glass Technologies, a labor-market research firm, said employers and educators can do a better job of helping people find logical, reasonable career paths. Labor experts call this “skill adjacency,” essentially diagnosing a person’s present skills and identifying promising careers that offer higher wages or growth in demand while requiring minimal investments of time and money in retraining.
“We need a Waze for your career,” Mr. Sigelman said, referring to the navigation app that offers real-time maps and driving directions. “You could look at jobs that are adjacent to your skillset or role, and with fairly light training, you can make a jump into a better job.”
The secret to successful reskilling, he says: keeping training short enough and achievable enough that workers can learn real skills and both they and employers get a return on investment.
Mr. Sigelman said the necessary data is out there, stored in billions of job listings, professional profiles, the databases of tech-enabled networking groups like Github or Meetup, and course listings of education providers. But it will take a massive investment of political will and funds to capture and compile all that data into a user-friendly platform that could help individuals and employers map out the career paths of the future, he added.
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