Brainbench 2006 Global Skills Report Expands to Over 200 Countries

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Fourth version measures employment skills worldwide, uncovers new outsourcing trends, and sees India increase their march on the U.S.

We’ve been on the cusp of work skill measurement since online testing became feasible. The ‘workplace’ now exists virtually anyplace, and there is increasing urgency among businesses to locate the right person for the right position – no matter where that may be.

Online assessment provider Brainbench released the latest version of their widely read Global Skills Report – a detailed analysis of employment skills data collected from individuals in 217 countries and territories. The new report is the fourth in a series began in 2001, which tracks successful certifications achieved by individuals worldwide. Comparisons to last year’s trends, findings and conclusions help to highlight the increasingly global nature of our work and our lives.

More than 600 types of assessments grouped into six main categories – Information Technology, Finance, Customer Support, Sales and Marketing, Management, and Health Care – were administered between July 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006. Those individuals who passed received certifications, and of those passing tests, just under 300,000 results were used in the study – nearly matching last year’s data set.

“By compounding our findings of the past year with previous years’, we are really building a picture of how work proficiencies are transforming and geographic areas of excellence wax or wane. We may now have the largest data set of specific skill areas from diverse locations on record.” According to Mike Russiello, President and CEO of Brainbench, “This year we’ve once again added a great deal of additional research, supplying related data that supports our findings. This is a substantive look at global employment skills today.”

GLOBAL CHANGES

This year’s findings include:

  •     India’s continued increase in total number of certifications, rising 47% over last year, while the U.S. declined for the second year in a row, by -18%.
  •     Eastern Europe, last year’s lead story, slowed growth somewhat but remains a very strong area for technical professionals. Russia and Romania combined account for 18% of total certifications, behind the U.S. (35%) and India (30%).
  •     Latin America surprised with large increases in several countries, including Mexico (73%), Cuba (125%), and Chile (163%), particularly in back-office skills, verifying an A.T. Kearney report that U.S. based business may be seeking to fill the need for increased Spanish-speaking support.
  •     China moved up in the rankings, completing 82% more certifications than last year. And they look to be the beneficiary of successful Indian IT companies now locating campuses in Shanghai, Beijing and elsewhere.
  •     India maintained leads in Database and Java programming, while the U.S. held strong in 16 of the 30 IT skill areas, especially cyber security certifications.
  •     Project Management emerged as the most sought-after non-technical skill. Other business management, sales and marketing skills are on the rise worldwide.

2006 findings reinforce many past trends while at the same time show the changing nature of off-shoring skilled jobs. Political and economic factors impact employers’ and employees’ decisions, and many trends are macro in nature, effected by education choices or government policies over time.

Conclusions in the report were drawn from the raw data and the findings. Top of mind concerns:

  •     Pools of skilled IT workers are shrinking in the U.S., while increasing in India, China and Eastern Europe. This is one of the more alarming macro trends shown in Brainbench certification numbers and backed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Computer Resource Associates, among other reputable reporters.
  •     India is no longer just an outsource destination for software development and testing. They have developed large, world-class IT services firms like Tata Consulting, who are themselves outsourcing to other countries and getting ready to compete with U.S. giants like IBM and Accenture.
  •     Change is being fueled by competition. Companies, countries and individuals must adapt quickly to stay in front. North America may not enjoy its position as ‘innovation leader’ for much longer.
  •     IT is being folded into all areas of business. To be ‘high-tech’ or ‘technically skilled’ does not mean being limited to knowledge of programming. The world of work is now driven by and run by technology. Some level of technology competency will be necessary for many jobs, and soft skills are being sought after for technology management. The lines between the two are blurring.

Russiello elaborates, “We’ve been on the cusp of work skill measurement since online testing became feasible. The ‘workplace’ now exists virtually anyplace, and there is increasing urgency among businesses to locate the right person for the right position – no matter where that may be.”

He continued, “One day, in the not too distant future, companies will be able to assess and hire the talent they need in hours or days instead of weeks or months. This will become a huge advantage. Workforce management will become highly strategic and key to organizational success.”

ASSESSING THE DATA

Another layer of continuity between the 2005 and 2006 Global Skills Report, is the data analysis and reporting team, which includes Dr. Charles Handler, founder and President of assessment consultancy Rocket-Hire; Mark C. Healy, organizational consultant, instructor and writer; and Mike Littman, VP Marketing at Brainbench.

“Having reviewed the data for two years running, we could really identify changes and emerging trends rapidly. Besides having the benefit of a research team that provided third party input, each of us is involved on a daily basis with organizations moving toward increased online testing and assessment”, said Dr. Handler.

Mark Healy agrees, “Companies are feeling pressure. The ‘War for Talent’ has come up in the press again, and the various staffing industry reports talk about increased need for skilled labor, while predicting shortage of supply. It makes perfect sense that the ability to measure knowledge, skills, and attitudes on a global basis will become an imperative.”

More than 30,000 people downloaded the 2005 Global Skills Report.

To order a copy of the 2006 Global Skills Report, please contact Brainbench at http://www.brainbench.com/globalskills2006/

ABOUT BRAINBENCH

Brainbench, a Previsor Company, helps clients test, track, and improve their employees' vital job characteristics, using the industry's largest ISO 9001-2000 library of tests. Brainbench’s online assessment solutions improve hiring, retention, training, customer satisfaction, and profitability for organizations such as Advance Auto Parts, British Telecommunication, Citigroup, IBM, Manpower, OPM, TEKsystems, the U.S. Army and Wells Fargo. Brainbench has served over 6 million consumer members with more than 600 skills test and certifications that help individuals measure and obtain certification for skills that are in high demand. For more information, visit http://www.brainbench.com.

Media Contacts:

Donna Lehman                    

MarketUP for Brainbench                

770-565-7275                

Mike Littman

Brainbench

703-674-3332

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