New Brainbench 2005 Global Skills Report Spanning 179 Countries

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Innovative study of online certifications delivers a wealth of information on outsourcing trends, patterns of economic development.

Brainbench, a leading assessment provider, has released their 2005 Global Skills Report – a unique, highly detailed snapshot of the globalization of job skills. The new report is the third in a series begun in 2001, and summarizes data from more than 300,000 individuals worldwide. The report's findings offer some surprising results, as well as creating a highly quantitative overview of the emerging global, information-based economy.

Between May 1, 2004 and April 30, 2005, close to a million people in 179 countries completed online assessments of their work-related skills, abilities, and personality traits. More than 600 types of assessment were administered using Brainbench's computer adaptive testing (CAT) technology. Those who passed received certifications, and of those passing tests, slightly more than 300,000 results qualified for inclusion in the study.

According to Mike Russiello, President and CEO of Brainbench, “This edition of the study is by far the most comprehensive to date. In addition to the aggregated data for the past year, we now have longitudinal data spanning five years of assessments. We've also done extensive research into secondary data regarding job skills and the global economy. Together, this research offers both very detailed information about specific trends, and broader insights about the ongoing evolution of the global labor pool.”

The State of the Global Labor Pool

A few of the report's high-level findings:

  • While the U.S. still led the world in skill certifications, India showed an increase of more than 300% in just two years.
  • Eastern Europe, specifically the Russian Federation, has a significant and growing body of IT competence, while Western Europe and Southeast Asia are also on the rise.
  • Canada is a powerful player in certifications, especially in customer support.
  • The Southern U.S. led the nation in certifications, reflecting population shifts and the growth of “insourcing” business processes to lower-cost areas of the country.
  • India led in Java programming, while the U.S. led in security-based certifications.
  • While Microsoft products dominate skills tests for applications, both Linux and Unix administration outpaced Microsoft Windows Server certifications worldwide.

The findings are perhaps most relevant to offshoring skilled jobs. This is partly because of the nature of the tests themselves: “The fact that our test instruments require English language skills and Internet access is really a factor,” says Brainbench's Russiello. “On one hand, this leads our results to differ from some studies in identifying the most promising areas for outsourcing business processes. On the other, this study describes in detail the evolving labor market in dominant fields of information technology, and for a range of other key skills.”

Analysis of the raw study data yielded numerous findings. Among these:

  • IT matters everywhere: Information technology skills represent a significant economic factor for countries of all sizes and stages of development.
  • A common language of work: The same basic knowledge, skills, and competencies underlie jobs across the globe, which will greatly facilitate the development of a more global economy.
  • Competition is increasing: Many regions now offer high levels of technical skill; those with low costs as well will have a major advantage in the outsourcing of business functions.

The Future of Assessment

Dr. Charles Handler, founder and President of assessment consultancy Rocket-Hire and the report's lead expert, believes that as the pool of technical skills grows in breadth and depth, assessing this talent effectively will become a key corporate competency. “These trends will tend to place a greater premium on selecting employees wisely,” he explains. “No matter what the situation, selecting the best, most qualified individual for a specific job provides increasing levels of return on investment. This provides a strong justification for the continued growth of an assessment industry which can measure knowledge, skills, and abilities on a global basis.”

This potential boom in the assessment industry is no surprise to Brainbench, which has built its business model on providing easy-to-use, highly scalable assessment solutions. Mike Littman, Brainbench's Vice President, Marketing comments that “if the labor pool is the whole world, connecting with the right talent becomes even more of a challenge for companies, and assessment technologies will be absolutely essential.”

Once the industry matures, Littman continues, “We should already be looking at the next frontier for assessment. This may be technologies and processes that can link skill levels directly with ROI in a quantitative way. Predicting business results accurately in advance of staffing – that would be a really powerful assessment tool.”

The Future of Work

Looking toward the future, study co-author Mark Healy, an independent consultant specializing in organizational assessment, hiring, and leadership, points out that the very nature of the study offers a compelling message. “We should remember that at its core, the data in the report is the product of thousands of individuals from all nations and backgrounds,” he explains. “In their efforts to join the global workforce, these people are shaping the very nature of work, changing the society and the world in which we live. It's important to realize that 'globalization' is not merely a corporate strategy or an economic policy: It's fundamentally a human phenomenon, a new chapter in the evolving story of the planet and its people.”

Russiello hopes the study, and those to follow, will provide insights that contribute to understanding this emerging global workforce as a whole.

“Our vision at Brainbench is to help people and organizations predict success on the job, where it matters most. In a sense, this report extends the reach of our assessments to entire populations. I believe that the more we understand how the world of work is changing – as individuals, as companies, and as nations – the better prepared we will all be to live in that world.”

To order a copy of the Global Employment Skills Report, please contact Brainbench at http://www.brainbench.com/globalskills2005/

About Brainbench

With more than 5.5 million registered users and more than 600 different assessments, Brainbench is the global leader in measuring the individual skills, abilities and personality traits that drive a company's bottom-line success. Brainbench helps clients test, track, and improve their employees' vital job characteristics, using the industry's largest ISO 9001-2000 library of tests. Their online assessment solutions improve hiring, retention, training success, customer satisfaction, and profitability for organizations such as Advance Auto Parts, Department of Homeland Security, H&R Block, IBM, Manpower, NASA, TAC Worldwide, TEKsystems, Wells Fargo and over 4000 other organizations. Strategic Investors include Manpower and Thomson Corporation. For more information visit http://www.brainbench.com.

Media Contacts:

Donna Lehman

MarketUP for Brainbench

510-525-1474

dlehman@market-up.com

Mike Littman

Brainbench

703-674-3332

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