Skills DNA – the key to tomorrow’s working world

Using data technology to analyse individual employees’ skills and match these with employers’ precise needs, SkyHive is on a mission to “reskill the w

A few decades ago, many professions looked very different from today: a roofer did not need to know anything about solar panels, nor had a car mechanic to be familiar with intelligent technology in e-cars. Whether climate change or digitization, what is changing the world is also revolutionising the labour market. Some professions are changing rapidly, others are disappearing completely, and new ones are emerging.

How to cope with workforce transformation

This is challenging for many companies. They compete for personnel, especially in areas that are undergoing a particularly rapid change. How and where can they find suitable employees? At the same time, every individual, whether in education, in search of work or in a job, must ask themselves what professions they are most suited for, and what do they need to know and learn in the future to avoid being left behind?

“Individual skills and abilities are the key,” says Sean Hinton, founder and CEO of the growing US software company SkyHive, which specialises in workforce management. It is no longer a question of professional roles or titles, but of the level below, which is much more granular and, above all, more individual. And this is where SkyHive’s technology comes in. Its self-proclaimed vision: to reskill the world.

Skills – the new currency of the global labour market

The start-up, which was founded in 2017 and which Deutsche Bank is now invested in, wants to transform the global labour market from one that focuses on skills instead of jobs. Skills are the new currency of the labour market, as the World Economic Forum puts it. SkyHive collects data from more than 200 countries and in 86 languages: job profiles, curricula vitae, training offers, annual reports, patent applications, census data and surveys, academic papers. “These are all digital sources on the internet,” explains Hinton. SkyHive analyses them automatically in real time using artificial intelligence.

This allows the company to scan the global labour market and to show how it’s changing.

We know through our technology that in the world there are around 130 million career pathways.Sean Hinton

New opportunities for HR departments

This information is useful at different levels; for example, SkyHive can help companies better understand their own workforce. “At too many companies, there's no real sense of every employee’s potential,” Hinton explains. SkyHive supports HR departments by answering the following questions: What skills are available and which are needed in the company? Are there skills gaps and, if so, how can they be closed?

“This is the problem with traditional job or title-based matching: I am either a project manager or I am not a project manager. It’s either yes or no,” the SkyHive CEO outlines. But if companies were to choose a capability-based approach, entirely new possibilities open up. Hidden talents become visible as the focus shifts away from solely being on job titles.

Like a fingerprint — skill DNA

On an individual level, that means SkyHive can analyse each individual's repertoire of skills and compare them with a defined range of career paths. Every person has a unique DNA of skills and abilities that is shaped by life, work and educational experiences. So if you know your own skill DNA, you can match it with requirement profiles from a range of job areas.

“We’re working with governments around the world to arm their populations with ‘Skill Passports’,” Hinton says. These help people who are looking for work or training to find matching vacancies or training opportunities. An example: in New York City, SkyHive helped launch a project in 2023 to address the city’s high youth unemployment. At the end of 2022, 18 percent of young people aged between 16 and 24 were unemployed. Nationwide, it was only 8 percent. So far, nearly 700 participants have taken part, more than 3,500 skills have been mapped and many upskilling opportunities detected.

The focus on skills also helps companies and employees as the world of work is changing to identify skills that will be needed in the future and to flag talent gaps. This insight will help companies create suitable training opportunities for employees to take advantage of and will pay into further developing the labour market.

The future of work

Hinton is convinced that SkyHive’s approach is pioneering: it describes the necessary mechanics of how “we can help the planet’s entire workforce meet the requirements of tomorrow’s working world.”

We can help the planet’s entire workforce meet the requirements of tomorrow’s working world.

Jürgen Schmitt

Interview with SkyHive founder and CEO Sean Hinton

Jürgen Schmitt from Deutsche Bank’s #ExpeditionFinance met SkyHive CEO Sean Hinton in Palo Alto and discussed the drastic changes in the global labour markets. Curious? Watch the interview to find out more.


About SkyHive

SkyHive is a cloud-based workforce management and reskilling software provider. The start-up company, based in Palo Alto, California, was founded in 2017 with the aim of supporting the transformation of the global labour market and reducing unemployment and underemployment. It is one of a group of B-Corp certified companies that use their business model to have a positive impact on society and the environment.

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