The job market is increasingly driven by skills, not jobs, and that presents unique challenges for higher education. The skills that define jobs are changing rapidly. That’s not just a factor of technology change. Increasingly, jobs are mixing and matching skill sets from disciplines that formerly did not come together, like coding and design, or marketing and data science. The emergence of these “hybrid jobs” is both an obstacle and an opportunity for higher education. The obstacle is that traditional university disciplines don’t line up with the job market. But, by analyzing both the jobs and skills in demand and future skill trends, higher education institutions can identify ways of ensuring that graduates are equipped with the skills they need to make more effective transition to the jobs of tomorrow. Perhaps even more importantly, in a hybrid job economy where jobs are constantly being redefined, workers need an infrastructure for learning new skills. This suggests a broader role for higher education in the 21st century serving a dramatically expanded community of learners – not just preparing youth but also helping workers stay relevant and unlock mobility in a changing job landscape.
Matt Sigelman is CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, a leading labor market analytics firm. For more than a decade, he has led Burning Glass in harnessing the power of data and artificial intelligence technologies that have cracked the genetic code of the job market. Powered by the world’s largest and most sophisticated database of jobs and talent, Burning Glass delivers real-time data and breakthrough planning tools that inform careers, define academic programs, and shape workforces. Burning Glass has helped to fill millions of jobs and its data drive initiatives for more than a dozen state and national governments. Matt is consulted frequently by national media, by researchers, and industry leaders. He served previously with McKinsey & Company and Capital One. He holds an A.B. from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from Harvard.