Issues in Treating Skills as Discrete Entities

  • Focus on “skills profile” and not just skills. Profiles bring together different elements to give us a complete or holistic picture or perspective. In health, health profile includes different parameters, in finance, our wealth profile covers different areas, in sales and marketing consumer profiles include different aspects including age, gender, lifestyle etc.

Then again, the dimensions of a skills profile is not a universally accepted norm. In school we had good structure. Our report cards reflected different aspects such as academic subjects, physical activities, extracurricular activities, and even soft skills. For professional life, we do not have a similar template.

Frameworks will help us better appreciate, analyse and crunch information. Thus we need a framework which can be used for profiling of skills.

IYS provides and uses a simple framework for mapping the skills of people and jobs.

  • Talent Development is about two things, (1) improving proficiencies in skills we already have and (2) adding or acquiring new skills. This means that we need tracking (and even better measurement) of proficiencies in skills. The simplistic way of years of experience is not good enough. We all have multiple skills and our proficiencies vary in the different skills. How can we possibly use one number to indicate our proficiency?

    Of course, now comes the problem of measurement. We all desire very scientific and objective measures to things. However, the reality is that not everything can be measured objectively and with a universally common scale. Of course, height, weight, etc. have a common universal scale. What about happiness, beauty, satisfaction? Yet we need some way of indicating the proficiencies here.

  • When we consider skills profiles, we realise simple things start becoming complex. Start profiling the skills of software developers, asking for information on different parameters such as the level of their knowledge on concepts, the tools and technologies they have used, the domains they have worked and the knowledge of the processes in these domains and so on and we end up with unique profiles of people.

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