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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Mapping Career Causeways user guide

This user guide shows how providers of careers information advice and guidance, policymakers and employers can use our innovative data tools to support workers and job seekers as they navigate the labour market.

Nesta’s Mapping Career Causeways project, supported by J.P. Morgan as part of their New Skills at Work initiative, applies state-of-the-art data science methods to create an algorithm that recommends job transitions and retraining to workers, with a focus on supporting those at high risk of automation. The algorithm works by measuring the similarity between over 1,600 jobs, displayed in our interactive ‘map of occupations’, based on the skills and tasks that make up each role.

Following the publication of the Mapping Career Causeways report, data visualisation and open-source algorithm and codebase, we have developed a short user guide that demonstrates how you can take the insights and learnings from the Mapping Career Causeways project and implement them directly into your work.

Who is this guide for?

Our user guide is aimed at three key audiences who act as touchpoints for workers and job seekers:

  • Providers of careers information, advice and guidance (such as careers advisors, further and higher education institutions or intermediary organisations)
  • Policy makers (via local government interventions and employment support programmes)
  • Employers (during recruitment, performance appraisals and restructuring processes)

What will the guide enable you to do?

For each of these three key groups we have identified a primary use case for the Mapping Career Causeway insights:

  • Providers of careers information, advice and guidance: Enriching the advice given to workers. Our insights can provide a standardised source of data that incorporates automation risk, and can be used to recommend career transitions and upskilling opportunities for workers in high-risk roles.
  • Policy makers: Identifying and supporting at-risk workers. Our insights can be used to identify the groups of workers who are most at risk of automation, and recommend specific skills that would help these groups to move into lower-risk roles.
  • Employers: Redeploying and upskilling workers. Our insights can support employers with identifying suitable job transitions and skills development opportunities that would lower the automation risk for their workers.

These use cases are explored in more detail in the user guide, with step by step outlines, alongside three interactive tutorials that show how you can use the algorithm and generate your own insights and recommendations.

How we developed this guide

To better understand how the Mapping Career Causeways research and insights could support the key user groups, we conducted in-depth interviews with over 50 stakeholders across the UK, Italy, France and Germany. These included research organisations, training providers, public and private career advisers, employers and government bodies.

We asked each stakeholder:

  • How could the Mapping Career Causeways insights be used or incorporated in your work to support workers to transition to roles that are safer from automation risk?
  • How could our model be improved, and what other information should it contain?
  • What limitations did they foresee with the model we have developed?

Our interviews allowed us to explore a huge range of topics, including: worker mindset, individual preferences, motivations and key barriers to retraining; organisational culture and practices on hiring and training; the importance of localised recommendations and the wider support required to enable workers to transition to new jobs; and the wider labour market context, including industry growth and decline.

The user guide shows how the Mapping Career Causeways research can be used to address common challenges identified by the stakeholders, such as:

  • Navigating the labour market can be overwhelming, and there is a need for a reliable source of insights (e.g. a tool) that helps to broaden a worker’s potential career opportunities whilst providing focused recommendations on the most valuable skills to invest in
  • There is no standardised data or a common ‘skills language’ to support career advice and guidance
  • There is a lack of understanding and clear data about which sectors are most at risk of automation, and which skills are most valuable for workers to invest in, in order to unlock lower-risk jobs
  • Most recruitment and transition practices rely heavily on relevant domain/sector experience and a worker’s contacts (i.e. who you know), and most employers do not take a skills-based approach to hiring
  • Fear, confidence and self esteem are significant barriers for workers to changing careers, in addition to barriers relating to time and finance
  • Localised information on training options, support for job seekers and live job opportunities would further enrich the model
  • Automation is just one of many trends that are changing the make-up and availability of jobs; other considerations such as digitalisation, the green transition, and regional factors must also be considered

Furthering our work

Mapping Career Causeways is the first step to a smarter, more sustainable labour market. Over the coming year and as part of our sustainable future mission, we will trial and test the map of career transitions in collaboration with external partners. This will include seeking feedback on the transition pathways to understand if they support workers in making better career decisions, testing different methods for delivering our insights, and enriching our framework with more localised data on jobs. We have started the groundwork for this via our Open Jobs Observatory project.

We are particularly interested in developing standard and nuanced definitions of green jobs and green skills, so that we can identify transitions from ‘brown’ jobs (those in industries with high carbon emissions), to ‘green’ jobs (those in industries with low carbon emissions). Through the development of this work, we aim to broaden the information that is available to individuals, employers and public service providers and drive change that helps to connect people to long-term, desirable work.

If you have suggestions or feedback on the project, or are interested in partnering with us please get in touch by emailing [email protected]