Real-time labor data could be the answer to workforce woes

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The impact of COVID-19 over the past two years has changed the job market in ways we could’ve never expected, and with that, the workforce must adapt in new ways to keep up.

Okay, but: That’s easier said than done without any substantial real-time labor data.

  • Congressional focus on leveraging technology to improve access to this data and inform on employment trends could be the answer.

Why it’s important: Timely and accessible workforce data would benefit workers and employers, as more people could get reskilled in jobs that are in demand.

  • This is critical at a time when many workers are leaving their jobs at high rates, and many employers are looking to invest in their people — their most valuable asset. 

In November 2021 alone, 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — a continuation of a larger trend.

This increased mobility and focus on retention, resulting in part from the COVID-19 pandemic, have further emphasized that current workforce data released by programs like O*NET could benefit from modernization. 

This could be achieved by making labor force data: 

  • Real-time.
  • Economy-wide.
  • Inclusive of emerging roles and skills.

An example: Imagine you’re a server looking to get reskilled for a new job through online courses amid the recent evolving market for the food industry. Knowing where to start is difficult because you have no reliable information pointing to which sectors might be best.

An accessible and timely labor database could help solve this problem — and the government can take steps to get workforce development there now. 

Here’s how: 

  • Incentivizing employers to improve their data collection methods.
  • Consolidating current workforce data sets.
  • Supporting the creation of a modernized labor database.

When combined with a skills-based approach to employment and employer training incentives, real-time labor data can help meet workforce challenges.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) could be the vehicle to bring these changes about. As the discussion of reauthorization continues through 2022, now is the time to facilitate conversation about needs within workforce development.

In alignment with this act, in Aug. 2021, Workday joined Autodesk and the National Skills Coalition (NSC) in leading a sign-on letter to congressional leaders asking in part for real-time labor force data that identifies “economywide trends focused on emerging roles and the skills needed for in-demand jobs and high-demand sectors and measure the equitable impact of public investments.”

What NSC is saying: “The investments that we’re making in creating jobs are only as effective as those that we’re making in supporting people’s access to the skills they need to fill them,” says Katie Spiker, NSC’s managing director for Government Affairs. 

The takeaway: Reauthorizing WIOA could be a chance for Congress to help workers, employers and the economy by addressing issues within workforce development and driving change. 

Learn more about Workday’s efforts.