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World Bank partners with LinkedIn for innovative data and insights on South Africa's most in-demand skills

Alan Fritzler's picture
When policymakers understand what’s happening in the economy—in real time and with real clarity—they can create better solutions to improve productivity, performance, and innovation.
 
South Africa struggles with double-digit unemployment rates and double-digit rates of individuals who are neither educated nor employed. Governments facing these kinds of challenges need a way to stay informed about the types of talents and skills employers need. Meeting the skill needs of growing high-value add sectors is especially important for economic transformation and productivity growth, as it can help increase employment and incomes across an entire economy. But the granular, actionable data on the particular skills being demanded by this important segment of the economy is often missing.
 
Khayelitsha craft market. South Africa. Photo: Trevor Samson / World Bank

The World Bank is partnering with LinkedIn to fill this data vacuum in emerging markets. With over 500 million members, and unique insight into the supply and demand of skills, LinkedIn's data makes it possible to do a number of things at once: to benchmark and compare countries and cities across the world; to analyze labor markets at the sectoral and functional level; and to provide real-time data for timely and effective policy recommendations.
 
Visualizing the skills deficit in South Africa
 
The skills deficit in South Africa is a widely-studied phenomenon, frequently raised in local policy discussions. South Africa has progressed over time, and an increasing share of workers have a tertiary education. However, this share remains low by international standards. As a result, a large contingent of the private sector is still relying on talent from outside of South Africa for particular jobs. Those with an advanced education are able to benefit—the monetary return for an additional year of schooling in South Africa is second highest in the world after Rwanda. But, the overall landscape indicates that jobs requiring in-demand skills, particularly in the area of ICT, are generally not filled by domestic candidates.
 
Top 10 in-demand skills in South Africa; likelihood that foreign talent possesses each skill, versus a local South African college graduate
 
South Africa policymakers have recognized the need to strengthen primary and secondary education to equip school graduates with better skills and increase the pool of qualified candidates for tertiary education. What LinkedIn data offers in this case is crucial information to help individuals and policymakers plan their next steps and identify the skills to study, such as the skills most in-demand by the country's private sector. 
 
What’s next for the World Bank and LinkedIn
 
The World Bank and LinkedIn entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2017 to co-develop a data dashboard visualizing skill and labor market trends for policymakers. Each party under this MoU contributes its resources and capabilities voluntarily (i.e. non-remunerated). This model of collaboration model leverages private sector capabilities to help co-deliver solutions to our developing country clients, and includes conducting joint missions to help ensure the effective use of these new insights.
 
Following the MoU signing, LinkedIn contributed to a snapshot analysis of South Africa’s economy. World Bank and LinkedIn representatives met with key stakeholders across South Africa in September to share data and solicit feedback. Over the course of several days, the team connected with dozens of government officials, non-profit partners, and academics to validate the latest research and findings from the partnership.
 
Companies and partners visited on LinkedIn’s visit to South Africa in September 2017​


The goal of this partnership is to make these types of insights widely available. In 2018, the team will launch a prototype dashboard that will allow policy makers and researchers around the world to tap into these new insights for hundreds of cities across the globe. Over the past three years, LinkedIn has partnered with dozens of cities and countries. This new partnership with the World Bank will scale the impact of these insights for  developing countries, which need it the most.

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