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O*NET® Products at Work

The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration introduced the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to the public in 1998. Since that time, its impact on workforce development, career counseling, educational programming and human resource activities has quickly expanded, both in the U.S. and around the world. O*NET Products at Work provides examples of the widespread use of O*NET OnLine, the O*NET database, the Toolkit for Business, and the O*NET Career Exploration Tools.

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The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market from National Bureau of Economic Research external site

David Deming, associate professor of education and economics at Harvard University conducted a study of social skills in the workplace. He demonstrates that high-paying, difficult-to-automate jobs increasingly require social skills. Nearly all job growth since 1980 has been in occupations that are relatively social-skill intensive, while jobs that require high levels of analytical and mathematical reasoning, but low levels of social interaction, jobs that are comparatively easy to automate, have fared comparatively poorly. Using O*NET data about the tasks and abilities that occupations require, he measured the economic return of social skills, after controlling for factors like cognitive skill, years of education and occupation.

The Importance of Data Occupations in the U. S. Economy external site from U. S. Department of Commerce external site

The U. S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration used data from the O*NET database for a report on the growing importance of data in the economy. The report identifies occupations where data analysis and processing are central to the work performed and measures the size of employment and earnings in these occupations, as well as in the industries that have the highest concentration of these data occupations.

The National Academies of Sciences external site

The National Academies of Sciences is evaluating O*NET information as a tool for making important human-capital decisions. As part of its research on changing worker requirements, the National Academies of Sciences commissioned a paper by the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) to investigate the feasibility of O*NET information to assess changing worker skill requirements. The paper describes the key elements of the O*NET system, and provides examples of the many ways O*NET has been used by the education, public, and business communities to improve workforce decisions. The paper concludes that O*NET is a rich and important data source that can be used in many different ways to assess changing skills necessary for workers to be successful in today's workplace.

Employment at Older Ages and the Changing Nature of Work from The AARP Public Policy Institute and the Urban Institute external site

The AARP Public Policy Institute and the Urban Institute examined how job demands have changed over time and what they might look like in the future. In the paper, Employment at Older Ages and the Changing Nature of Work(Johnson, Mermin, & Resseger, 2007), the authors link detailed information on occupational characteristics from the O*NET database to the March 1971 and March 2006 Current Population Surveys. They found a sharp decline in the physical demands of jobs and the prevalence of difficult working conditions over the past 35 years. They also found that jobs have become more stressful and cognitively challenging. The implications of the study suggest that the decline in physical job demands increases the opportunities for older people to remain at work. However, more stressful, cognitively demanding jobs complicate the picture. The study proposes that the changing nature of work will likely promote old-age employment for most people, or at least not interfere with longer work lives.

America in the Global Economy from The National Center on Education and the Economy external site

The National Center on Education and the Economy prepared a background paper for the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. The paper, America in the Global Economy(Uhalde & Strohl, 2006), merges O*NET occupational data with earnings and education data provided by the Current Population Survey (CPS) to identify competencies and skills which are highly valued by employers. The paper goes on to describe a model for determining the probability of off-shoring jobs based on similar merging of O*NET occupational attributes and CPS data.

Projecting the Impact of Computers on Work in 2030 from The National Research Council Center for Education

At the Workshop on Research Evidence Related to Future Skill Demands, the National Research Council Center for Education presented a paper, Projecting the Impact of Computers on Work in 2030 (Elliott, 2007). This paper describes an approach to projecting new workplace skill demands based on increased use of computers in the decades to come. An analysis of the impact of comp uter technology on future skills used the O*NET database to provide definitions, anchoring tasks for ability levels, and occupational ratings for the set of human abilities that are broadly relevant to work. The 21 results of the analysis suggested that a serious and sustained effort is needed to project and prepare the American workforce for the extensive changes that are likely to occur as computers continue to displace human activity in the workplace.

Center for Hospitality Research of Cornell University external site

The Center for Hospitality Research of Cornell University conducted a study titled, Ability versus Personality: Factors that Predict Employee Job Performance (Tracey, Sturman & Tews, 2007). The researchers used O*NET definitions, education and training requirements, tasks, and required knowledges, skills, and abilities as part of their research to test the hypothesis that cognitive ability is more important for predicting performance among inexperienced employees than among experienced employees in frontline restaurant jobs. In addition, they hypothesized that conscientiousness was more valid for predicting performance among experienced employees than inexperienced employees. These hypotheses were supported in their research.

AARP Public Policy Institute and the Urban Institute

The AARP Public Policy Institute and the Urban Institute examined how job demands have changed over time and what they might look like in the future. In the paper, Employment at Older Ages and the Changing Nature of Work (Johnson, Mermin, & Resseger, 2007), the authors link detailed information on occupational characteristics from the O*NET database to the March 1971 and March 2006 Current Population Surveys. They found a sharp decline in the physical demands of jobs and the prevalence of difficult working conditions over the past 35 years. They also found that jobs have become more stressful and cognitively challenging. The implications of the study suggest that the decline in physical job demands increases the opportunities for older people to remain at work. However, more stressful, cognitively demanding jobs complicate the picture. The study proposes that the changing nature of work will likely promote old-age employment for most people, or at least not interfere with longer work lives.