Employer Collaboration on Data is Key to Job Growth

Published Jul 23, 2015

by: Jaimie Francis, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

As a champion of the free enterprise system, we at the U.S. Chamber firmly believe that competition drives innovation. Society benefits most when businesses can compete with one another to provide the highest quality product or service to their customers. At the same time, businesses large and small are increasingly having a difficult time finding the skilled workers they need to remain competitive.

To remedy this critical problem for the country, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) is recommending employers collaborate to improve the flow of talent through better use of data. Up until now, the conversation around the use of data has largely been one-sided, with the focus on education and training providers. However, to close the skills gap, employers have data that can be used in new and innovative ways to improve their hiring practices.

USCCF is exploring an employer-driven approach called talent flow analysis. Talent flow analysis is a four-step process for describing and analyzing the flow of workers in and out of a targeted set of jobs that are most critical for employer competitiveness.

The four steps of Talent Flow Analysis are:

Step 1: Define Targeted Critical Function Jobs

Step 2: Describe Employer-Specific Talent Flows

Step 3: Describe Regional Talent Flows

Step 4: Analyze Opportunities for Improving Talent Flows

Here’s how it works.

Let’s take a growing field like Information Technology (IT). Now, let’s say a group of IT employers—what we call acollaborative— come together and identify “network management” as a critical function and identify “network administrators” as critical employees who carry out that function. The collaborative agrees on what skills make a network administrator qualified and decide what the credentialing requirements will be to help ensure the employer that the potential hire has mastered those skills.

The collaborative will then look at their hires for network administrators over the past two years, identifying those hires that have performed well. They may find that on an individual or collective basis, most hires were from a particular certificate program that is offered by several education or training providers.

In addition to escalating recruitment efforts with those providers, the collaborative identifies opportunities for partnership with the education providers to improve capacity and quality of the programs. As a result, this will expand the collaborative’s qualified applicant pool.

The time is right to explore how employers can work together to analyze and improve their talent flows. It is USCCF’s hope that such an approach will be mutually agreed upon and executed by employers, and will result in stronger relationships with education and training providers and improved outcomes for students enrolling in those programs.

The benefits will go a long way.

To learn more, please read USCCF’s Analyzing Talent Flow: Identifying Opportunities for Improvement.


Jaimie Francis is senior manager of Programs and Operations at the Center for Education and Workforce