Innovation has never been faster. Jobs have never changed so rapidly. The skills needed to perform certain jobs have never evolved so quickly. The gap between the skills businesses are demanding and the skills job seekers possess is widening. Because of this, there’s a movement to get everyone — businesses, hiring managers, governments, educators, nonprofits, and jobseekers — to speak the same language when it comes to how we talk about jobs.

And that language is data, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“What we’re proposing is a modernized data standard” to address employer needs quicker, explains Jason Tyszko, the Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce vice president. “What we’re trying to do is just create a better, more refined, data standard that would allow employers to dynamically signal in-demand jobs and skills in real-time, as they evolve or change.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation calls this initiative the Job Data Exchange (JDX). The JDX is not a separate product or platform, it’s an agreement on how to talk about jobs, skills, and credentials through data points that would then be used when employers post a job online.

What the Chamber of Commerce Foundation is proposing isn’t that radical. Think about how you shop for a new television. You compare energy usage, screen size, battery life, pixels, etc. There are standards for each of these data points, allowing you to get the most accurate information, quickly. This is the idea behind JDX.

The first step is agreeing upon the data that describes all the jobs — and their skills — that employers are trying to fill. The Foundation is inviting all interested stakeholders to weigh in on their proposal for an update to the data standard for jobs, which they’re calling the JDX JobSchema+.

JDX: Improving Employer Signaling in the Talent Marketplace

The business and education communities, along with tech vendor partners and students, talk about the Job Data Exchange (JDX) — what exactly is being developed and the potential impact of this revolutionary new tool on the talent marketplace.

The website explains that the JDX JobSchema+ extends and improves upon a widely-deployed, open-source schema that has been around for about eight years at Schema.org, which was founded by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex. (By the way, Google and Microsoft are among the funders for this new JDX project.)

“We want to hear from employers, HR professionals, and public sector stakeholders that have a vested interest in better employer data. We encourage them to dig in and share their suggestions,” Tyszko tells me. And there are already dozens of companies signed up to take the JobSchema+ for a test drive. “We will make refinements and improvements as we learn.”

If all goes as planned — and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is confident it will — they will roll it out later this year and encourage everyone involved in the hiring process to use it. Tyszko and the Foundation envision the data descriptions being used to align training curriculum with the skills employers need now, getting potential employees into the pipeline quicker.

It could be also be used by people already working and wanting to make certain they are keeping up with changes in the workforce. “It is better signaling to current employees who might want to know where the potential advancements or upskilling opportunities are, where their own gaps are and how to fill them faster. It better signals to workers how their jobs are changing so they can reskill and stay competitive in their position,” according to Tyszko.

“It’s not a silver bullet. It’s a necessary piece of our labor market infrastructure if we’re going to get better, more actionable signals from employers about what they want and need.”

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