Study about skills
Study about skills

A new report launched today by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in partnership with Randstad, the global leader in the HR services industry, looks at 417 million online job postings in 10 countries over the last decade to illustrate how the digital transition is affecting the labor market.

demand for digital roles has risen significantly.

Digital jobs make up a significant share of all vacancies posted online and account for the following percentage of all job postings:

● Spain - 12%

● Italy - 12%

● Netherlands - 11%

● Singapore - 11%

● UK - 11%

● Germany - 10%

● Belgium - 9%

● US - 7%

● France - 7%

● Canada - 6%

In the US, online job postings for digital jobs have grown 24% in the last four years, led by a 116% surge in adverts seeking data engineers.

Software developers, programmers and engineers are in particular demand. In the UK approximately two in every three online job postings for digital professionals are seeking software developers and programmers. In Canada, Singapore, and Spain, software developers and engineers account for close to 50% of the postings for digital professionals. In Germany and France, the share of job postings for software developers and programmers is slightly lower, but still considerable, at 37% and 36% respectively.

Computer and data analysts or administrators represent approximately one in five of the selected digital occupations across the 10 countries analyzed. Jobs such as ICT technicians and data entry clerks represent a smaller fraction of overall online job postings in all countries. These are below 20% for all countries, and as low as 7% in Germany and 9% in Belgium.

most in-demand digital skills.

The pace of digital transformation is driving more than just demand for professionals in digital occupations. It is more importantly changing the skill sets that workers will need to thrive in these jobs. Demand for typical digital skills has spread across different occupations and sectors faster than for other skills over the past decade, analysis of online job postings shows. This means occupations that only a few years ago were not using digital tools or requiring digital skills, are now becoming increasingly digitized.

The report looks at the speed at which five digital skills categories have filtered into the jobs market:

● Advanced data analytics: Demand for data analytics has spread across jobs 15.5x more quickly than the demand for the average skill. In the US, the pace is 15x faster than for average skills and 5x faster in Singapore.

● Cybersecurity: Growing risk of cyberattacks has sparked increasing investment in security and risk management, leading to an increase in the hiring of workers with cybersecurity skills. Demand in the US is diffusing across job roles more than 10x faster than the demand for the average skill, while in the UK the pace is 6.6x faster.

● Programming: Programming skills are also in high demand because they play a key role in a variety of fast-growing job categories. In the US and UK, the demand has been diffusing between 6-9x faster than for the average skill, while it’s slower in Canada and Singapore.

● Automation and the Internet of Things (IoT): Skills related to automation and the IoT are diffusing as much as 6x quicker on average than demand for other skills, fueled by the growing popularity of products for smart homes, and of smart wearables such as watches. The pace has been especially quick in the UK and US, happening 6-7x faster than the average skill, respectively.

● Digital skills related to business and sales: With digital technologies in use in nearly all productive sectors of the economy, there are rising needs for a range of related skills. The demand for digital skills connected to business and sales spread across different jobs 8.5x faster than the average, with the strongest growth in social media skills. The diffusion of programming skills demands was up 8x faster than the average, while that for IT automation skills increased 6x faster

We are in the middle of a profound shift in how we all work and that brings challenges and opportunities. We all must focus on how we can adapt, reskill and embrace technology to find opportunities in this new world of work. However there is a risk that people are left behind. I believe business leaders and policymakers need to step up to make sure the digital revolution is an equal one for all workers.

Sander van 't Noordende
CEO of Randstad

New challenges require new data and tools. As labor markets evolve rapidly, the OECD is supporting countries by analyzing the demand for skills, extracting information from millions of job postings published online. With these ‘big data’ tools we are able to take the pulse of today’s labor markets and help policy makers to design effective labor market and training policies that open opportunities to all.

Stefano Scarpetta
Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs at the OECD

The data demonstrates the urgent need for a coordinated effort between businesses and policymakers to ensure workers can succeed in a digital driven labor market. Randstad is calling for the following priority actions:

● Learning at all career stages needs to be prioritized: Employers lacking a reskilling and upskilling strategy for in-demand and emerging skills are at a significant competitive disadvantage. Through a more targeted learning and development strategy that can repurpose people with adjacent skills, companies can help their employees stay marketable and relevant to a highly dynamic labor market.

● Policy should be shaped to encourage studies in future skills: STEM skills will become even more important as digitalization accelerates in the global economy. Engineers, mathematicians and data scientists will be the backbone of a tech-driven society, so giving people guidance and incentives will help develop a relevant workforce.

● Renewed engagement with employees is needed: To ensure business has access to hard-to-find skills, it’s important to prioritize the talent experience. The pandemic has changed the social contract workers have with employers, and expectations are for companies to provide more than a job and a paycheck. Recent research from Randstad shows that talent want empathetic employers to focus on workplace wellness, provide a pleasant work environment, and offer career mobility and meaningful work.

● Employers need to double down on flexibility: The global labor market will adapt to a more flexible way of working. Remote work and flexible schedules have become the norm during the pandemic, and the trend is expected to persist. Governments and companies will need to refine their policies and practices to empower digital natives and nomads to work in new and alternative ways. 

about the report

The new report from the OECD, in partnership with Randstad, aims to provide business leaders with essential information. The report is sponsored by Randstad and uses big data to identify the occupations and skills most in demand in today’s workplace. It also shows how to identify effective reskilling pathways to help people transition into the careers of tomorrow. It is based on analysis of 417 million online job postings over a period of 10 years in 10 countries: Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. It looks at four broad categories of digital occupations: computer and data analysts and administrators; software developers, programmers and engineers; ICT technicians and data-entry clerks; and ICT and HR managers and marketing specialists (see Chapter Four of the report for a full list of digital roles considered in the analysis).

Press release.

Download the official press release.


Randstad summary: ‘digital skills: unlock opportunities for all’

Download the summary.