Big data business set to map future skills needs

A SUNDERLAND software company is hoping to shape the skills agenda, with new tech that predicts what the jobs market will look like in the future.

Sunderland Software Centre based Geek Talent, which has developed complex software that uses algorithms to process thousands of pieces of data, hopes that its latest system could transform the way the region sets out its skills agenda.

By monitoring the current jobs market, and marrying that together with data relating to industrial growth and investment trends, the company’s latest technique aims to help regions pre-empt and address the skills shortages they might face.

Dominic Murphy, founder of Geek Talent, said: “We have been analysing jobs data for some time and that gives us an interesting insight into how the market is changing in real time, but where that has stopped short is in making predictions about what will be required in the future.

“Now, by harnessing the insight that comes from investment data – which would tend to highlight future economic trends – we are able to map out how the jobs market might change and therefore what skills base is likely to be required in the future.”

The data, which is collated from a mix of job adverts and investment records, has helped shape the company’s newest service offering, a workforce planning tool tailored to support organisations in both the private and public sectors.

The big data platform monitors job adverts in the UK and Europe, tracking salary changes, skill requirements and other key trends. Education providers, local authorities and businesses can then use the platform to predict future trends and prepare for the years ahead.

“Our workforce planning tool is one of our most recent products and is already something a number of partners are keen to utilise,” Dominic added. “We’ve seen local authorities use it to plan their service offering for key sectors and have seen businesses use it to predict market trends and to shape their future recruitment strategies. It has huge potential for growth.”

On top of the latest workforce planning tool, the company has also developed a careers app aimed at helping school leavers find their dream careers which piloted last year.  It takes insights from job specifications to create a ‘job DNA’ that captures the essential skills needed to pursue certain careers.

“The company has evolved significantly, as we have explored different uses for the data we are analyzing.  We know we can draw a huge amount of knowledge from data, and by tweaking the information we collect, we are able to deduce so much more from it – we know the information we are collecting now is so valuable for businesses and organisations like local authorities and education providers who will need to futureproof themselves.”

He added: “The support we’ve received from the City Council and the region’s business community has been second-to-none and has been key to us scaling at such pace.

“Digital technology as a sector is booming not only in Sunderland but in the wider North East region and although it’s a relatively small region, everyone in the sector knows each other and everyone helps one another. It’s a great place to do business.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Geek Talent has the potential to re-shape our approach to skills, in a way which can create real benefits for individuals, businesses, and education providers not only in Sunderland and the North East, but beyond.

“We’re delighted to have Geek Talent with us in Sunderland in our Software Centre – it’s one of many innovative businesses that are developing really game-changing work.  The insight Dominic is able to draw from his work with big data is absolutely invaluable, and we are sure this new product will prove to be a major success.”

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