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Community & Business Groups

Summary of Talent Marketplace Signaling Kick-off webinar

This is a summary of the community group’s kick-off webinar held on 4 April 2019. Recordings of the webinar are available: video (51MB) | audio (22MB); as are the slides used.

The Talent Marketplace Signaling W3C Community Group (TalentSignal) was proposed by Phil Barker and established in February 2019. At the time of this call it had 27 participants. The aim of this call was to initiate the work of the group.

Participants are encouraged to introduce themselves to the rest of the group with an email to the group’s mail list,

1. Aims of the group

The goal of the TalentSignal community group is to improve workforce signaling. Some examples of workforce signaling were expanded.

  • The simplest is an organization creating a job posting to advertise that is has a position it wishes to fill; the job posting signals the requirements for this position. These may include Educational and Occupational Credentials and Competences expected of a successful applicant, but will also include much more.
  • A person might be interested in a certain type of job (or occupation) for their future career. Linking the Educational and Occupational Credentials and Competencies required for such jobs back to Assessments and Learning Opportunities signals to that person how they might become qualified to apply for such jobs.
  • Educational Organizations that offer Learning Opportunities will also be interested in the Educational Credential and Competence requirements that are currently in demand from relevant employers.

Many other signals will also be relevant, and they might be processed by many other actors, but these serve as illustrations.

The problems to be solved are: deciding what is useful to signal, and expressing these signals in a manner that is mutually intelligible among all relevant actors.

Note: there was some discussion of whether the diagram in the slide deck used for this illustration might be refined and expanded as a useful way of communicating our work.

The aim of the Talent Signal group is to improve how these signals can be communicated through use of the the vocabulary. This may include:

  • showing how existing terms can be used (e.g. with examples);
  • suggest refinements to term definitions for example where clarification is necessary;
  • suggest new terms where needed.

Note: We should always be aware that while the group can make proposals to, it is not within the group’s power to insist that adopts these proposals. As an independent project, has its own steering group (chaired by R.V.Guha) and site terms of service. ¬†A more general overview of how the project works is available.

The focus will initially be on Job Posting, but the group has been set up with a broader remit so that it can continue to work on other aspects later.


The group is not starting from scratch. The following is some of previous work that is relevant

  1. There are several relevant types already in (e.g. JobPosting, EducationalOccupationCredential, Course, Occupation). We have to work with these types, we cannot create a model that conflicts with these types; they should be seen as enablers, providing us with the framework on which we will build.
  2. Competency structures are likely to be relevant to our work and there are several ways of  representing these already. We probably do not need to represent a competency structure in, however we will need a way of showing a relationship to a competency that has been described elsewhere.
  3. HR Open Standards Consortium defines standards for the communication of information related to HR.
  4. Several organizations describe or catalogue various entities relevant to our work:
    • The Credential Engine is a non-profit whose mission is to “create credential transparency, reveal the credential marketplace, increase credential literacy, and empower everyone to make more informed decisions about credentials and their value”.
    • ESCO (European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations) “works as a dictionary, describing, identifying and classifying professional occupations, skills, and qualifications relevant for the EU labour market and education and training”.
    • The Job Data Exchange is an initiative that aims to “improve how clearly employers communicate their hiring needs to workforce development partners and educators across the country”. JDX has a data model based on and HR Open Standards, which will be shared with this group.
    • The Connecting Credentials project produced frameworks and guides for the description of credentials in terms of levels and competences.

There are others. Part of the rationale for setting up a W3C Community Group for this work is to bring in as much input as possible from as wide a range of relevant groups as possible.

Note: let’s keep a track of other relevant work as we progress through our work. (Phil Barker will set up a section on the wiki for this).Note: the group is always open to new members, please reach out to any organization that you think might be interested in contributing. Currently, members from outside the US are especially sought. The group should be proactive in soliciting input globally.


W3C policies require that we have a chair, currently Phil Barker. (Disclosure: PB is receiving payment from the US Chambers of Commerce Foundation for this.)

Anyone may join the community group. Members of the community group must sign the W3C Contributor License Agreement. Any work contributed to this group may be proposed for inclusion in, and so should also conform with the open license, disclaimer of warranty and limitation of liability granted by their terms.

We should leave an open record of our discussions: we can do this by having the discussions on the open email list and documenting decisions on a wiki provided by W3C and the community group blog.

Currently it is proposed that we work asynchronously and not have regular group calls after the kick-off call.

The group will primarily work in English. If work is being carried out in another language it would be useful to identify a liaison who can represent this work in English.

It is suggested that we work on a prioritized list of issues and address these individually, pushing the outcome to as we go. We have a draft set of use cases that came from the Job Data Exchange project, and some other issues that may be addressed.

Note: we should build an agreed set of use cases on the wiki that ensure we work towards a coherent piece of work.

Note: we should also try to find some issues that can be fixed quickly.

Phil Barker can prepare any technical submission required as a proposal for, whether that be a change to the code base or contributions to their wiki.

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