Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress examines how to improve the labor market for job seekers, employers, and training programs through the adoption and use of an open data standard—consistent, machine-readable formats for how information is published online. The report makes the case that the labor market would benefit from a collaborative data governance strategy that mitigates the influence of data monopolies—in which a few companies have unparalleled access to job postings—and that enables a more seamless exchange of high-quality real-time data. It calls for labor market stakeholders to reach consensus on an open data standard for how job listings are posted to the web—and outlines the key role the public sector could play in setting such standards.
“The broad adoption of open data standards for online job postings will create opportunities for greater entrepreneurship, competition, and analysis—and over the long term, better outcomes for the labor market,” said Aneesh Chopra, CAP senior fellow and co-author of the report. “There is now a substantial opportunity to improve how job postings are published online, and in turn, ensure that labor market information is more timely, accessible, and of higher quality.”
“The public sector has a long history of providing real-time labor market information and working with outside stakeholders to facilitate industry standards—this proposal would be a natural extension of that work,” said Ethan Gurwitz, research associate at CAP and co-author of the report.
Online job postings have the potential to serve as better sensors of real-time labor market demand, enabling innovators and entrepreneurs to compete on applications and services to aid employers and prospective employees. Labor market data are best utilized—by employers and prospective employees as well as innovators and entrepreneurs—when widely available. As CAP’s report explains, however, proprietary restrictions—such as those imposed by job search platforms—can make accessing such real-time data either difficult or prohibitively expensive. Moreover, existing job listings are often of inconsistent quality or fail to adhere to a standardized, open, and machine-readable format.
CAP’s report tackles these issues by outlining several policy recommendations for how federal and state governments can develop a data standard, encourage its adoption, and take advantage of the resulting infrastructure. Recommendations include:
- Facilitating the development of an industry-led open data standard. The U.S. government, with its power to convene outside entities and its prior experience facilitating standards development, is well-suited to bring together the requisite stakeholders to accelerate this design.
- Encouraging employer adoption of that standard. The public sector has many tools it can use to galvanize support, including leading the way with federal and state job postings and providing aid to small- and medium-sized employers.
- Harnessing the resulting data for new tools and research. Easy to access, timely, and structured job posting data could lower barriers to entry for innovators and, in doing so, spur novel workforce tools and services.
Click here to read “Modernizing America’s Workforce Data Infrastructure” by Aneesh Chopra and Ethan Gurwitz.
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.478.6331.