Can higher education systems keep up with changes in labor market?

The journal “Technological Forecasting and Social Change” has published a scientific paper of our partners from the University of Pisa, where they show how natural language processing can help in finding an answer.

We still know little about the role of higher education in the digital transformation. If on one side the labour market is constantly evolving and is asking for an upskilling process of the workforce, higher education institutions struggle to be agile enough. Therefore, it is necessary to measure and to better understand this gap.

In the scientific paper “Are universities ready to deliver digital skills and competences?“, our partners from the University of Pisa: Irene Spada, Filippo Chiarello, Simone Barandoni, Gianluca Ruggi, Antonella Martini and Gualtiero Fantoni, describe a quantitative approach to deal with this problem, focusing on the marketing sector. Through text mining, they develop a model of automatic job competencies extraction from Italian texts, using it to retrieve the skills expressed both in the exam’s descriptions of universities and the job vacancies.

The results allow to compare the skills offered by higher education with the labor market’s needs in Italy, exploring and highlighting the digital gaps existing between the two.

ASSETs+ applied a similar approach in the automatic skills analysis realized during the first year of the project: we extracted skills from job vacancies using the automated algorithm presented in the paper. The automatic reading of the description allows us to detect patterns of terms similar to the ESCO skills and formalize the proposal for ESCO.

The ASSETs+ project aims to build a sustainable human resources supply chain for the European Defence Industry, that boosts innovation by both attracting highly-skilled young workers and upskilling its employees. The ASSETs+ main goal is to design and develop education and training programmes, from their prototyping to replication in other contexts,  to provide trainees with new skills and knowledge related to key technologies that will be expected in the Defence sector in the coming years.