Introducing The Global Workforce Intelligence Project

Today we’re introducing one of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on in my career: the Global Workforce Intelligence (GWI) Project. This is a massive initiative we started over the last year to understand the new jobs roles, skills, and career pathways in every major industry around the world.

It’s a big project, and we are asking you to join us in this journey.


Why Are We Doing This? Companies Are Trying To Scale, While Every Industry Is Being Reinvented.

Every company is trying to find new ways to scale. And the number one challenge is the struggle to hire, retain, and reskill people. Yes, we are in one of the most challenging labor markets in decades. But the problem is not just caused by the labor market. This is a problem of industry reinvention:  companies are not just digitizing and hiring, they’re turning into something different.

As you’ll hear from the video, we’re now in the fourth stage of digital transformation – the real reinvention of industries.

Healthcare companies are turning into data and informatics companies. Retailers are turning into pharmacy and medical service providers. Oil companies are turning into solar and electric energy companies. Telecommunications companies are becoming media companies. And auto companies are becoming electric propulsion, battery, software, and data companies.

Each traditional industry, as it was defined in the last 100 years, is turning into something different, and these changes are happening faster than ever. At first glance you perceive a skills gap, so you focus on hiring or training. But what leaders often don’t realize is that this isn’t just a skills problem. The company is moving into a whole new domain.

As I describe in the launch video, it’s like you’re a chameleon. One day you’re a reptile, then suddenly you’ve changed colors. It’s this chameleon-like transformation that’s making it hard to grow and scale.

If you’re a retail or commercial bank, for example, you see FinTech companies (Varo, Brex, Block, Chime) eat into your business. (80+% of people under the age of 40 use multiple digital banks.) JP Morgan Chase believes they must spend more than $1.2 billion on digital re-engineering in the next five years to address blockchain, crypto, and digital payments as a disruptor.

You may perceive this as a skills problem, but I would argue it’s much more. It’s a workforce transformation – one that impacts jobs, roles, organization structure, and rewards.

And the pandemic accelerated the reinvention. Driven by the need to work from home and digitize how we live, consumers want new delivery systems. And this has led to the Creator Economy, the Metaverse, and the explosive growth of recurring revenue models, content platforms, blockchain, crypto, and NFTs. And this means every industry is being reinvented.

Who would have guessed that Amazon would become a leader in grocery delivery, cloud engineering, and media and entertainment? Every company is now looking at these new sources of revenue, and that’s transforming industries as a whole.

The Workforce Re-Engineering Challenge

As these transitions accelerate, companies have to think about their workforce differently. They have to set up new business units, design new roles and responsibilities, redesign rewards, and create agile work models as a standard way of doing business. Existing job architectures, which were built around the functional hierarchy, hold companies back.

In healthcare, for example, we see a need for more than 2 million nurses and care professionals in the next five years. At the same time, administrative jobs are being eliminated, and “medical technician” positions are in high demand. And the industry is vastly behind in IT, cyber-security, and data engineering skills. These organizations have to move people from administrative roles to whole new job families.

In banking, we see a dramatic reduction in front-office roles, coupled with a huge increase in “mid-office” jobs like universal banker, risk manager, and security and IT analyst. But as retail banks struggle through this transition, their FinTech competitors people are already deployed differently. Wouldn’t you like to know what your competitor’s talent profile looks like?

We have been analyzing this data for months, and we firmly believe that job architectures have to change. Your company doesn’t just need new “job titles” (which change all the time), you need new “roles and skills,” with titles that change over time. So we are analyzing what we call “job clusters,” groups of job titles associated with a set of roles and skills.

For example, a bank may have job titles that include “banker,” “universal banker,” “branch manager,” and “teller.” Yet when you cluster these together you see that some roles are administrative, others are consultative, and others are sales-oriented. We can show you how those job titles cluster together. And these job clusters show you what skills you have, what skills you need, and what career pathways will help your company grow.

Where Are We Getting Our Data?

How are we doing this? Our core source of data is the massive talent intelligence data from Eightfold AI. The database consists of more than 1.5 billion employee profiles, job descriptions, job profiles, job postings, and salary data, all available by company, industry, and geography. It infers skills and skill clusters through a variety of second-generation inference algorithms. And it lets us look at time series data so we can see how roles, skills, and job titles trend over time.

Many of you know Eightfold as a recruiting and talent management software company. Actually, it’s much more: it’s a massive data company, creating something you might consider “The Google of Workers.” We are partnering with Eightfold’s data team to dive into these topics industry by industry, showing you the past, present, and future state of roles, jobs, skills, and careers. (And we will be using other data sources as well.)

How Are We Doing This Research?

The GWI project has four elements.

First, we are building a series of industry reports and industry models, designed to help decision-makers understand and benchmark their organizations. The first two industries we’re studying are healthcare and banking, with pharmaceuticals, life sciences, retail, and CPG to come later this year. Second, we are convening a series of CHRO councils where we review this data with you to get feedback and solution stories. Third, we will publish overall trends, best-practices, and case studies – so you, as an industry leader, can stay ahead of the talent issues in your industry. And fourth we are developing a series of educational offerings to help our clients learn about workforce intelligence, build expertise in this process, and apply these trends to your recruiting, development, and organizational design strategies.

The work we’re doing is proprietary. It will be available to our research members because we want to explain it to you. We want to show you what it means and teach you how to use it.

This is a muscle you really have to build. I believe that there’s a new domain of HR being invented right before our eyes: what I call the Talent Intelligence Center of Excellence.

Today HR teams are organized into learning departments, recruiting departments, performance and Talent Management departments, and people analytics teams. Those groups have to now come together and look at the trending and global skills and capabilities and job clusters needed in their industries and where the company wants to go next.

Then, as a group, you can talk about where you are going to get those skills? Are they in a particular city? Do we can we find them inside of the company? Did we do an acquisition? Or should we just go through the normal process of building them internally? Those decisions are being made in every company today, but I would argue not in a very strategic and intelligent way. So we’re going to help your HR function operate in an even more strategic way than it has before.

And by the way, this will dovetail with workforce planning. Many of you have one to three-year financial plans: you can now integrate talent intelligence into these workforce plans. This brings the operational practices of hiring, careers, and org design right into the company’s long-term strategy.

The final thing I would add is that this project is a project, it’s not just a brand of research. We expect you, as our clients, to collaborate with us. We want to hear your company’s perspectives, how you’re addressing these issues, and what solutions and vendors are working for you.

How Can You Get Involved?

There are several ways to get involved. First, we welcome you to download our new white paper and join our mailing list to hear more about the project as research becomes available. Second, we will be putting out a series of videos and podcasts explaining the research in various industries. And if you subscribe to our newsletter, you’ll get access to all that information. Third, we invite you to join our new membership program at The Josh Bersin Company. It’s designed to give you access to all of our proprietary research, advisory services, and education – including the in-depth industry studies that explain the specific trends on skills, jobs, roles, and organizations.

Some of the information we learned in the GWI will be folded into Josh Bersin Academy over time, and we will also be introducing what we call SuperClasses to educate you on some of these topics in great detail.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this whole initiative. We’ve been working on it for over a year and are partnering very deeply with Eightfold as a data provider to help us build out these models and information. And let me add one more thing. This work will help you figure out your new job architecture.

Anyway, there are lots of details to explain, and we will certainly do that over time. But I want to welcome you to our new project, whether you’re in HR, business leadership, finance, or a C-level executive. And if you’re a vendor, we’d be happy to talk to you directly about how you can get involved too.

Thank you.

Additional Information

Redesigning Jobs, Organizations, and Work: The Keys to Growth

Welcome to 2022: Too Many Jobs, Not Enough People

Secrets To Recruiting In This Crazy Labor Market

The GWI Project: Join Us