“Nowcasting” the Skills–gap to Empower Job Seekers and Policymakers
|Name of Recipent||Assistant Professor Reuben Ng
2018 Social Science and Humanities Research Fellowship Awardee
|Project Title||“Nowcasting” the Skills-gap to Empower Job Seekers and Policymakers|
|Type of Grant||Social Science and Humanities Research Fellowship|
Asst Prof Reuben Ng is a behavioural scientist, and an expert at the integration of Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Behavioural Insights (BI) to answer important questions in policy and social sciences. He spent 16 years in the government, consulting and research. In government, he was in the Prime Minister’s Office driving evidence-based policymaking through data analytics and Smart Nation strategies. In consulting, he co-built the Advanced Analytics practice at a top firm and implemented complex analytics projects across industries and functions. In research, his innovative projects in successful ageing, and the measurement of societal perceptions – over 200 years, across 20 countries, through the analysis of billions of words – have won awards/grants from the US National Institute of Aging and the UK Economic and Social Research Council. His work enjoyed media coverage internationally and locally including The Washington Post, CNN, The Straits Times, The Business Times and Lianhe Zaobao.
A Fulbright Scholar, Asst Prof Ng trained at National University of Singapore and Oxford University, and obtained his PhD at Yale University in 2014.
This project leverages innovative Big Data methods to investigate a perennial social problem – the skills-gap – and aims to create data-driven models to “nowcast” the skills-gap in Singapore. “Nowcasting” is the granular sensing of current conditions. The insights support policymakers and training institutes with predictive capabilities to plan for the near-and-long-term so that the skills-gap is kept as minimal as possible in a disruptive world.
This project aims to create a standardised skills taxonomy from government and private sector sources. Additional surveys will be launched as appropriate via large platforms and networks to further augment existing skills data. This standardised taxonomy for skills is unprecedented and will pave the way for global benchmarking and cross sectoral comparisons of the skills-gap. Apart from contributing significantly to social science and policy, the project hopes to empower individuals with insights on in-demand skills to better guide their training and career decisions. The insights will also help individuals looking to switch careers to identify the most adjacent jobs and sectors that could leverage their skills fully.
Importantly, this project exemplifies the role of the University as a trusted broker of industry-government partnerships to address societal challenges. Neither governments nor private companies have all the solutions. In working together, the project hopes to connect the dots that span academia, industry and government to produce policy-relevant insights to important social problems, and put Singapore’s social sciences on the world map.