Cut through the hype: What AI is really all about

The phenomenon of AI is becoming increasingly widespread: At every gathering or conference and in every classroom people seem to be talking about it. The news are also covered with headlines regarding AI, most of them predicting that it will completely change the ways we live and work. Yet, there is also a lot of hype over it simply for the sake of ‘buzz sells’, a danger which many scholars are warning about.

 

Overhyped AI can be dangerous

Countless companies and governmental organizations are raising funds on behalf of AI, which is why billions of capital run into AI start-ups. However, many of these start-ups proved to be economically unsustainable. “People who can do it have no opportunities and resources. On the other hand, people who should not do it waste resources because they are not interested in advancing technologies but simply want to grab some money,” said WANG Feiyue, who is a specially appointed Chinese state expert, at this year’s IEEE International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Cybernetics[1]. The hype over AI has created an illusion that can confuse people and misrepresents what AI is really capable of. At JANZZ, we have discussed this issue in a previous article which draws on illustrating cases. Our research leads us to assume that the hype about big data and AI is often more about self-marketing instead of a focus on facts and progress. This can be dangerous, not least because it stimulates workers’ anxiety about being replaced by AI. For further elaboration on this topic, visit https://janzz.technology/even-ado-nothing-hype-big-data-ai-often-self-marketing-facts-real-progress/.

 

What AI is really all about

In public discussion, AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) and specialized intelligence are frequently confused and both referred to by the term AI, says Andrew Ng who is the founding lead of the Google Brain team, a former director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the overall lead of Baidu’s AI team. AGI refers to human-level intelligence; that is, the kind of futuristic intelligence that we see onscreen and in science fiction literature. Currently, the technology to reach such “human intelligence” is very limited and still far from being beneficial to society. Most of what is covered in the media refers to specialized intelligence such as machine learning, computer vison or natural language processing. Specialized intelligence is thus the real force in the fourth industrial revolution, as it creates value and bears transformative power for all industries.[2]

Although AI has already an impact on many industries — web search, finance, and logistics, to name just a few — its subtypes that are being developed are still quite limited. Andrew Ng explains that almost all the recent progress of AI is thanks to a simple A (input data) to B (simple response) process type called “supervised learning”. Some example to illustrate this: you show pictures (A) to the software and it can identify whether it shows a cat (B); you give both ad and user information to the software (A) and it tells you whether the user is likely to click on said ad (B).  Arguably the best development based on the A-to-B type is the so-called deep learning, deep neural networks that are inspired by the human brain. However, there are two crucial factors playing into the functioning of the A-to-B relationship. One is that A and B have to be carefully chosen; that is, to provide the necessary amount of data. The second one concerns the size of the neural network — the bigger the neural network the higher performance. [2]

 

AI in today’s business world

After establishing what AI really is all about, let’s take a look at its application in today’s business environment. Perhaps you would think that only big companies with a large budget and workforce can benefit from AI. However, AI can also be employed in small businesses. An interesting example offer Fujitsu and Microsoft: both have been working with Japanese dairy farmers to find out exactly when cows are in their estrous cycle in order to optimize artificial insemination. The insemination process is a very tricky task for farmers, as a slight miscalculation in timing can result in failure and delay the process for another month. After incorporating the farmers’ knowledge about the increased movement of cows during their estrous cycle into a systematic data analysis (i.e. by fusing it with AI), the success rate increased to 95%.[3]

In spite of such success stories, the use of AI in businesses is not exactly magic. There are undeniably much more sophisticated cases, but usually “AI runs on data, companies need to know what kind of data they have, what data they have access to or what other data pool they can merge with their data and then they can reason across and surf the insides” [3].Thus, ”to incorporate AI to business strategy requires visionary leaderships in the company to recognize values of AI and to find out where business value is and what’s hard to copy” [4]. Granted, companies cannot have AI teams for all their units as it would be unwise to build everything in-house if it is not very business-specific. This is why the acquirement of solutions that are widely used in the industry should be considered. [2]

JANZZ.technology provides both smart HR solutions for businesses and labor market solutions for public employment services. Since JANZZ’ establishment in 2009, we have been aware of the two decisive factors that ensure a precise performance of supervised machine and deep learning. For the past 9 years, JANZZ.technology has been continuously building the largest occupation-related neural data network in the world, with 300 million neutrals up to date. Our unique algorithm has been trained with large amounts of data from various partners in international corporations and public employment services, hence we are able to offer our services in 40 languages. We strongly advise customers to collect structured and effective data in order to get the smartest matching results.

Write now to  sales@janzz.technology

 

[1] ZHOU, Chaochen. 2018. Gei Ren Gong Zhi Neng Que mei. URL: https://www.huxiu.com/article/247345.html [2018.10.31.].

[2] New Work Summit. 2018. Power Lines with Andrew Ng C.E.O. and Founder, Landing.ai; and Adjunct Professor, Stanford University [Video file]. URL: https://www.newworksummit.com/nws2018/gallery [2018.10.31.].

[3] New Work Summit. 2018. The AI Accelerater with Peggy Johnson, E.V.P. of Business Development, Microsoft and Frank Chen, Partner, Andreessen Horowitz [Video file]. URL: https://www.newworksummit.com/nws2018/gallery [2018.10.31.].

[4] Andrew Ng. 2016. What artificial intelligence can and can’t do right now. URL: https://hbr.org/2016/11/what-artificial-intelligence-can-and-cant-do-right-now [2018.10.31.].

For a secure career in Canada: Three jobs that are a little different from the usual

Free doctor’s treatment and education, well-paid overtime and a safety net that catches you in the event of dismissal – you would think that working in Canada sounds rather convenient. Indeed, the country’s average pay of over 50,000 dollars attracts job-seekers from all over the world [1]. If you are thinking of moving to Canada or if you are a Canadian who is still looking for the dream job we have three occupations that you might want to consider checking out. Apart from being special, these jobs belong to the same, promising and high-paid range of occupations that includes lawyers, CEOs or senior officials [2].

 

Rummaging through mines and forests

Are you interested in finding out what is hidden in mines? Or, perhaps, rummaging through Canadian forests sounds more tempting to you? If you enjoy both motivating a team and working outside we suggest you start thinking about becoming a mining or forestry manager. These manager positions include the oversight of mine operations, sawmills or fisheries. Additionally, they involve team management and the coordination of a secure depletion and processing of natural resources. Furthermore, in such a position you are legally responsible for the safety as well as the environmental impacts of the project. In return, you are rewarded with a salary of 50 dollars per hour [3].

Most of the managerial positions in said industries require a bachelor’s degree in a related domain, for example in engineering or earth sciences for the position in mining or in forest management for that in the sawmill industry. Good opportunities to enter the forestry industry are offered by the University of British Columbia. Queen’s University, on the other hand, has the best reputation for studying geology, geotechnics and earth sciences and, thus, to prepare people for accessing the mining industry [2].

Farewell, pipe break!

You’ve always wanted to prevent and mend faulty pipes?  Do not look any further, start training as a pipe fitter. Pipe fitters build pipe systems and install them at clients’ homes. They assemble armatures, devices and production facilities as well as HVAC systems. On top of that, they take care of the maintenance of such installations.

Now, if your goal is to have an especially secure and well-paid employment in that area (around 45 dollars per hour [3]), your perfect fit (no pun intended) would be to become a pipefitting supervisor. As the leader of the team you guide team members and supervise their workplace safety. Likewise, you ensure good training prospects and a high quality of materials. For this position you need to have patience with advancing your career; that is, you will have to work as a trained pipe fitter for many years beforehand. Of course, strong leadership skills are necessary to climb to the top of the career ladder. Basic training can be acquired in an establishment. However, there is also the possibility to enrol for special programs in colleges such as Eastern College [2].

 

Occupation: Releaser of human beings

All of a sudden, it stands still; nothing works anymore, above all no doors. The elevator got stuck. The only way out: to press the red button. Fortunately, this scenario has become a rarity nowadays, as new recognition systems usually indicate the necessity to exchange elevator parts before the system actually fails. In principle, the elevator mechanic releases us before we even get stuck. Who would have thought, then, that this job counts as one of the securest and at an hourly payment of 40 dollars also as one of the best-paid in that field [3]?

Elevator mechanics are responsible for the mending and installment of lifts and escalators. If you want to repair elevators for a living you will first of all have to go through four years of practical training. The occupation is nevertheless very popular, with many people seeking later employment in this area. Even mechanics who are already experienced are applying to train as an elevator mechanic. Most of Canada’s elevator mechanics are trained in the Canadian Elevator Industry Educational Program; additionally, there is the possibility to participate training sessions at Durham College [2].

 

Intelligent enrichment of job descriptions

With the aid of JANZZ.technology’s ontology, determining what kind of education and skills are required for which job becomes effortless.  Educational institutions and companies alike can easily enrich their resumes by meeting requirements that are important for specific occupations. For many years, JANZZ has been working with various actors in the worldwide job market and therefore knows the many challenges when it comes to describing jobs. We will be happy to advise you.

Write now to sales@janzz.technology

 

 

[1] Eidgenössisches Departement für auswärtige Angelegenheiten. 2017. Leben und arbeiten in Kanada. URL: https://www.eda.admin.ch/dam/eda/de/documents/publications/
AuslandschweizerinnenundAuslandschweizer/dossier-auswandern/20161018-dossier-kanada_DE.pdf [2018.11.02].

[2] Liza Agrba. 2017. Canada’s Best Jobs: What you need to study to land a great gig. URL: https://www.canadianbusiness.com/lists-and-rankings/best-jobs/canadas-best-jobs-what-you-need-to-study-to-land-a-great-gig/ [2018.10.14].

[3] PayScale. 2018. Salaries in Canda. URL: https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Country=Canada/Salary [2018.10.14].

A technological tool will bring SNPP course graduates and job opportunities together

This morning, the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (Ministerio de Trabajo, Empleo y Seguridad Social (MTESS)) developed in the auditorium of the National Service for Professional Promotion (Servicio Nacional de Promoción Profesional SNPP), the Seminar of Platforms for Insertion Programs, led by Diego Rico, coordinator of the technological platform JANZZ.Jobs, which will be soon implemented by MTESS and whose function is to bring people, companies and jobs together with skills, competencies and experience which exactly meet the employment requirements.

The Minister of Labour, Carla Bacigalupo, was in charge of the seminar’s opening, which was attended by directors of MTESS, SNPP and Sinafocal, as well as instructors from the training entity.

The Minister expressed about it: “we are inaugurating a process of educational transformation in Paraguay and MTESS through SNPP and Sinafocal are part of it. Our goal is educational quality.

This process of educational transformation supposes great challenges. We would like to start with three very important systems that we want to introduce in all our training centers: a quality management system, a system of orientation courses according to the employment demand of each department and a real employment intermediation system that links our graduates with a job opportunity, not only in a dependency relationship, we would also like to promote entrepreneurship.

All of this is going to require operative changes, but it is a necessary big step in order to provide opportunities to our young people. Aiming for better educational quality may mean, that we will have a lower number of graduates per year, but on the other hand, we will be able to measure the performance of our instructors, by the quality of our graduates, by how many are working and by the number of entrepreneurs. That is the change we are promoting here and we would like to invite you all, to be part of it”

The Minister Bacigalupo mentioned that the JANZZ System will be officially launched by the MTESS before the end of the year and this will take place with the presence of the President Mario Abdo Benitez. “This tool will connect graduates with effective job opportunities. We want to create new opportunities in each department. We have foreign investment, a lot of work in the road construction is coming, that is why we want to instruct skilled workers in each part of the country. In this way is not necessary for people to leave their families, in order to get a job in a distant place”.

The coordinator of the platform, Diego Rico emphasized that this tool is currently used in the most developed countries. In a short period, a similar tool will be launched in Norway. This will be the first time in Latin America, in our country, through the management of MTESS. Mr. Rico made a presentation about the features of the technology and then provided training to SNPP instructors.

La ministra de Trabajo, Empleo y Seguridad Social de Paraguay, Carla Bacigalupo, y Diego Rico, Vicepresidente de integración de clientes y director general adjunto de la empresa suiza JANZZ.technology presentan la plataforma Paraempleo.

 

Fuente de texto: Ministerio de Trabajo, Empleo y Seguridad Social (MTESS): Herramienta tecnológica conectará a egresados de cursos del SNPP con oportunidades laborales

Are wages incentive enough to promote vocational education?

Shanghai’s Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau recently released a report on the market wages of skilled workers. This is the second time since 2017 that the bureau releases a report aiming to create a societal atmosphere that advocates skills and respects skilled workers. We can see from the report that in Shanghai the salary of skilled workers is above the average wage level. Higher skill levels thereby correlate with higher salaries. Even compared to general management positions such as those of a secretary, a logistics manager or an office clerk, the salary of skilled workers is higher. The message that the report sends to parents and students alike is clear: skilled workers are facing a bright future, so are you considering to take on vocational education? While this shifts the attention to vocational education and to guiding people towards skilled professions the question arises whether it is enough to rely only on wages as incentives.

The current situation and dilemma of vocational education in China

According to data released by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, from 2008 to 2017, the number of public and private secondary vocational schools has decreased by 30% and 36%, respectively. Correspondingly, the number of students in secondary vocational schools shows a similar downward trend, with a 27% decline over the past five years. Looking at the composition of students in senior secondary schools in 2017, the 59.8%  proportion of high school students compares to a 36.9% in secondary vocational schools.

With regard to employment, China’s accelerating urbanization process and a large influx of rural laborers into cities have intensified the competition in the country’s job market. The expansion of enrolment in higher education institutions has furthermore increased the number of students in higher education. In turn, a growing number of highly educated people are facing an engagement in low-skilled jobs as their only option. Additionally, enterprises place more emphasis on academic qualifications, which results in the phenomenon of a “high consumption of talents.” This makes the employment situation for graduates of vocational schools increasingly precarious. If these are seen as external factors that exacerbate the employment situation of graduates of vocational schools, the internal factors such as the decline in the quality of students and the inadequacy of talent output are the main reasons for employment difficulties. [1]

Due to the Chinese public’s general distrust of vocational education and the fact that schools strive to produce high university enrolment rates it is mainly students unable to enter higher education who ‘choose’ vocational education. After entering a vocational school, the lack of further study opportunities furthermore discourages the vast majority of these students to continue their studies. Many of them ‘only’ achieve a lower-level diploma. [2] Moreover, a majority of vocational schools still focus on abstract theoretical learning. Therefore, students rarely have the opportunity to get the hands-on experience that is required by their future employers. [1]

Swiss model of vocational education

In countries such as Germany, Switzerland or Austria, vocational education and especially apprenticeships are an integral part of the education system. Other countries are showing increasing interest in learning about such educational models. Thus, let’s take a further look at the Swiss model of vocational education as a potential means of reference for its Chinese counterpart.

In Switzerland only 20%-30% of students attend high schools after compulsory education; more than two thirds enter vocational education and training. Such a proportion is said to enhance the quality

and academic level of higher education and it reduces the problem of highly educated people engaging in low-skilled jobs. In addition to the 12 general universities in the country, there are a number of Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS). UAS offer opportunities for further studies to students who have chosen the path of vocational education. Students of UAS can achieve bachelor or master’s degrees that are recognized the same way as those from general universities. Additionally, after apprenticeship students have the choice to work for a few years before continuing their studies or to study on a part-time basis.

Another important feature of the Swiss model is the combination of practice and theory, called the Dual Education System. In most cases, students divide their weeks into two to three workdays in a company and about two days of vocational school training. This way, they can develop their skills under real-world conditions that meet the requirements of companies. Yet, as vocational education students they gain work experience at an early stage, which reduces both the employment pressure during graduation season and the unemployment rate of young people. However, countries such as Italy and the UK have found it difficult to adapt the model [3]. Their situation differs from that of Switzerland where many top executives in big companies and well-known government figures have worked their way up from apprenticeship, which is something that undoubtedly increased the international reputation of country’s system.

Practice of Dual Education System in China

For more than three years, China has been practicing the Dual Education System in some pilot school projects.  Despite the increasing number of such pilot schools, scholars point out numerous problems attached to this. They indicate that, firstly, to make the system work schools and enterprises should play the main roles in the system’s implementation. Currently, this is not the case, as Chinese enterprises have no say in the decision-making and no direct benefits, which gives them a weak sense of participation. Secondly, due to an overall low level of industrial and commercial industries it is difficult to provide a large number of high-quality training positions. Thus, low-skilled assembly lines have become the main source of training positions. Combined with the problem of a low students’ quality, China’s vocational education reform has still a long way to go. [4]

JANZZ Technology has been cooperating with the public employment service departments of many countries and the human resources departments of major companies for a long time. Our products can effectively help the public employment department to predict trends in employment and skill development. Furthermore, they can respond to the education system’s curriculum design and skill training in order to match market demands and talent supplies.

 

Write now to sales@janzz.technology

 

 

[1] Zhan, Qian. 2017. Qian Tan Zhong Guo Zhi Ye Jiao Yu De Xian Zhuang Yu Dui Ce. URL: http://www.fx361.com/page/2017/0927/2314933.shtml [2018.10.15]

[2] Meng, Futao. 2018. Dang Qian Zhi Ye Jiao Yu Fa Zhan Cun Zai De Wen Ti Ji Jian Yi. URL:http://www.xdjjxx.com/zazhi/jjxx/whsy/2018/0425/8351.html  [2018.10.15]

[3] Hao, Qian. 2017. Gong Jiang Jin Shen Zhi Xue Tu Zhi: Wei Sen Me “Xue Tu Zhi” Ke Yi Cheng Wei Guo Jia Jin Zheng Li. URL: http://finance.sina.com.cn/zl/international/2017-01-03/zl-ifxzczff3542625.shtml [2018.10.15]

[4] Vocational Education Alliance. 2017. Zhi Ye Jiao Yu Zai Bu Dong Xian Dai Xue Tu Zhi. URL: http://www.sohu.com/a/199524876_489512 [2018.10.15]

Will there be an outbreak of flexible staffing in China?

If you are a teacher or professor in Switzerland, you could also be having one of the following jobs: CEO or CFO in a bank, IT programmer in a start-up or Ontology supporter in an HR tech company. The last example is in fact the case for one of our employees at JANZZ.technology. As a Chinese reader, you might be surprised: How is it possible for him to have so many jobs?

Many people in Switzerland are having part-time jobs, especially students and parents of young children. According to the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), in 2017 the part-time employment rate in Switzerland was 26.7%, ranking second only after the Netherlands, which at 37.4 % recorded the highest proportion of part-time workers. Other countries that topped the list were Austria, Germany, Belgium, the UK and Sweden.[1] The statistics from Eurostat furthermore showed that people with higher education are likelier to have more than one job. [2]Asked about the advantages of such an arrangement, our colleague at JANZZ.technology indicates that the freedom of being able to switch between different roles and environments is a major plus. One reason that people can have this kind of “luxury working style” is that even in a 20%-workload job they are secured with social benefits. However, having more than one job may not always be voluntary. In some countries, you simply cannot earn enough money with only one job. For more information about underemployment and self-employment please look at our previous article: https://janzz.technology/where-self-employment-may-not-always-be-voluntary/   

 

Shamrock Organization Theory

From the perspective of employers, having part-time positions will not only lower the cost but also keep the corporation agile. One of the earliest theories about part-time employment was introduced by Charles Handy. His so-called Shamrock Organization model states that there are three essential elements in a company structure. The first is called ‘professional core’ and consists of skilled workers, technicians and management. It is the area where long-term contracts should be placed. The second element pertains special services jobs that can be realized through cost-lowering outsourcing. Instead of receiving payment per hours of work, people in this group are paid per task. The third element is constituted by flexible jobs and includes contingent and part-time workers. This group of people is recruited only when necessary and only for as long as the company needs the work force. Additionally, Handy’s theory points out that in order to achieve work quality the leadership needs to ensure fairness.[3]

From the historical viewpoint

How, then, is the situation in China? To answer this question let’s take a look at how the country’s employment has developed over the last 30 years. Initially, companies interacted on a fairly direct basis with their employees, both with regard to signing contracts, and paying wages and social security. After the enactment of the Labour Contract Law of the People’s Republic of China in 2007, the practice of dispatching was introduced on a large scale. In 2010, over 60 million jobs were realized through dispatches. Due to both the policy control and liability risk that are associated with dispatches, outsourcing became more popular. This included, inter alia, HR outsourcing, business process outsourcing and product line outsourcing. To minimize the liability risk that comes with a third party, new forms of employment were recently developed, including part-time work. With the increasing spread of the Internet and mobile networks, several new and more complicated forms of employment are being developed. For example, there is employment under labor service relations, which is only protected by Civil and Commercial Affairs and Contract Law. [4]

A glance at the future

According to a survey by Jianzhimao.com, a recruitment platform specializing in part-time jobs, China is still in its early stages of flexible staffing. However, from 2013 until 2017 it has been steadily increasing, with the average compound growth rate peaking over 20% between 2015 and 2017. It predicts that by 2025, China’s flexible employment industry will reach a revenue of 1.8 billion US dollar. It concludes that “currently, the scale of flexible employment ecology has gradually formed, and the transformation of China’s industrial structure is bringing about a fundamental change in the way of employment. The flexible employment mode will bring lower labor costs and higher productivity to the enterprise. China will enter the ‚outbreak‘ in the next decade, which will bring the rapid growth period of China’s human resources outsourcing service market of the past 20 years.” [5]

Chinese employees are seeking more freedom in their work-life balance, career women are yearning for more quality time with their kids – especially after the two-child policy –, university students are looking for practical experience for their future development and traditional nine-to-five routines are no longer the only working option. It appears therefore reasonable for the public employment service (PES) to promote the implementation of relevant policies and regulations that ensure both the legal protection and social benefits of flexible staffing.

At JANZZ.technology, we have been working with PES and HR departments of different labor markets and understand the complexities of modern working environments with their fast-changing and continuously new-emerging professions. We are happy to support PES and companies in coping with job seekers’ specific needs in order for them to fully realize their skills.

Write now to sales@janzz.technology

 

 

[1] OECD. 2018. Part-time employment rate. URL: https://data.oecd.org/emp/part-time-employment-rate.htm [2018.10.04]

[2] Eurostat. 2017. Employment Statistics. URL: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Employment_statistics/de#Teilzeitbesch.C3.A4ftigung [2018.10.04]

[3] Handy, Chales. (1989) The Age of Unreason. Broghton: Harvard Business School Press.

[4]Wie, Haozheng. 2018. Lin huo yong gong jiang cheng wei HR de xia yi ge feng kou. URL: http://www.360doc.com/content/18/0420/13/40060546_747269057.shtml  [2018.10.04]

[5] Jianzhimao. 2018. Wei lai shi nian, ling huo yong gong jiang jin ru bao fa qi. URL: https://www.sohu.com/a/223630306_100106156 [2018.10.04]

 

Where are the computer nerds? Shortage of over 40,000 ICT specialists – in Switzerland alone

The ICT professional association of Switzerland has shocked with some incredible news: by 2026 there will be a staff shortage of 40,300 specialists in the information and communication technology sector (ICT). Beware that this number accounts merely for Switzerland, a country with just under 9 million inhabitants. This is the result of an annual study, which analyzed labor market needs with regard to numbers of trainees, immigrants and emigrants as well as retired people. In total, there is an additional need for 88,500 ICT specialists in Switzerland. This is due, in particular, to the strong advancement of digitalization that has now reached all sectors. Currently, this demand can only be met to a good 50 percent.

No graduates available

There are multiple reasons for this shortage: for instance, there are still not enough people being trained in ICT, neither at universities nor in companies. Thus, only 36% of the demand for skilled workers is actually covered by graduates. Although the majority of the demand is actually targeted at graduates, in 2016 only around 9,000 students were enrolled in computer science courses. Furthermore, experience shows that not all ICT graduates ultimately take up a profession in the sector.

What would speak for education and, thus, employment in ICT are both the sector’s particularly low unemployment rate (2.2 %) and a comparably high salary. After completing an apprenticeship beginners already earn CHF 7,400. This is around CHF 1,600 more than what a comparable apprenticeship graduate earns. Moreover, around 3.6% of Switzerland’s ICT positions are currently vacant, compared to 3% across all sectors.

America is facing the same problem…

However, it is not only the Swiss economy that is confronted with the problem of ICT specialist shortage: in 2016 around three million MINT positions remained vacant in the US. Similarly to the situation in Switzerland, the reason for this lack of staff is due to the low number of ICT graduates, which can further be linked to a lack of interest in MINT subjects. Such is the finding of a study by Randstad North America, which reveals that many students were unfamiliar with people in MINT occupations and thus did not know how to develop and use ICT skills. The study furthermore suggests that students imagined MINT jobs to be „made for nerds“ and „boring,“ expecting that they would „just hang in front of the computer“ when employed in the ICT sector. With regard to gender, the study finds that especially girls are disproportionately under-represented in the sector and, thus, all the more in demand in the job market.

Expensive re-education to be expected

What happens, then, if the need cannot be met? Partly it will be covered by people making lateral moves, but such positions will cost companies a lot of money, as they entail re-training and initial periods of inefficiency. Likewise, locations will be outsourced in order to find the right skilled workers. This, too, considerably weakens both the labor market and the economy.

It is therefore recommended to start orientation about the great possibilities in the ICT sector for young people early. At JANZZ, we are happy to advise educational institutions and training companies on their way to increase the number of ICT students and trainees. We offer our know-how and the right data on skills, specializations and general challenges for specialized ICT professions by which the economy can be strengthened and by which it will be possible to dismiss graduates with good job prospects.

Write now to sales@janzz.technology

 

 

[1] Umoh, Ruth. 2017. The US has a shortage of tech workers. Here’s how kids and schools can solve the problem. URL: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/23/why-we-have-a-shortage-of-tech-workers-in-the-u-s.html [2018.09.26]

[2] IWSB. 2018. ICF-Fachkräftesituation:Bedarfsprognose 2026. URL: https://www.ict-berufsbildung.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/01_Deutsch/03_Projekte/PDF/IWSB_ICT-Bildungsbedarf_2026.pdf [2018.09.26]

 

Why your soft skills beat your hard skills

Everyone is talking about digitalization: „We need to get ready for digitalization now“; „Train yourselves for digitalization.“ That’s what companies, the media  and the people sitting next to you in the company canteen say. Even politicians are taking actions: the US employs a „Digital Government Strategy,“ the Polish government established an entire ministry for the purpose. The German parliament has a chief coordinator and a state minister for digital affairs, and each ministry has its own digital department. Phew.

Since this has us believe that from now on the technological skills are decisive, everyone quickly takes action: courses in coding, CRM and ERP are prioritized over leadership or language training. Even the very little ones should become IT geniuses at primary school level to ensure a good career for themselves. „Have a long list of hard skills and everyone will hire you – this will let you skip a few steps on the career ladder.”

 

Why even Google no longer only searches for the right hard skills

The situation becomes all the more confusing as one of the most popular employers found out something completely different. Tech giant Google researched its most successful employees and managers to see what skills they had in common and, thus, what consistently distinguishes their best employees. The result not only amazed the company, but also HR employees in general. Technological and scientific skills, such as mathematics, coding and the like ended up in last position. Contrary to the assumption that these skills would ensure a successful career, it turned out that the most important skills for success were primarily in the area of social skills. Thus, the test group showed distinct abilities in communication, coaching, and  listening skills. Furthermore important were the ability to put oneself in other people’s shoes, in short, to show empathy. Lastly, the research showed that it was essential for a candidate to be able to critically examine connections. Educational institutions all over the world felt confirmed in their belief that an education in the humanities is greatly underestimated in the labor market. [1]

 

We should provide our kids with time to develop social skills.

What skills do we need by 2030?

The findings above  are  also confirmed by a study conducted by the auditing company Deloitte. It examined in particular which competences will be decisive for newly created jobs until 2030. It says that while people who are highly skilled in mathematics will be in demand during the heyday of automation, creativity, social and emotional intelligence will be more future-proof skills in the long run. On the one hand, we have a rapidly growing service sector in which these skills are particularly in demand. On the other hand, social competences also provide direct protection against automation, as people have a clear advantage over machines and software when it comes to creativity and social intelligence. There is a strong need for communication and language skills as well as creativity and , hence, originality and the flow of ideas [2]. Thus, the notoriously famous „thinking outside the box“ indeed holds true. Think, for example, of a project manager who excellently distributes budgets for his or her projects, but simply cannot understand the problems faced by the customer.

 

Do we evaluate degrees unfairly?

Mark Cuban, an American self-made billionaire in the software industry, put it in a nutshell in 2017: „I will make a prediction. In ten years‘ time, a humanities degree in philosophy will be worth more than a degree in traditional programming.” According to Cuban, machines will be able to calculate and program for us, and so he predicts that „knowing how to critically think and assess them from a global perspective, I think, is going to be more valuable than what we see as exciting careers today which might be programming or CPA or those types of things.“ [3]

The question now is how we deal with these findings in terms of education. What do we really have to teach young people for them to be successful and happy in the world of 2030? If you think that the technology daddies of this world are primarily committed to the development of technological skills, then that’s probably not the case. In the Gates family, for example, time at the computer can only be spent in the kitchen and there are no smartphones at all. To Mark Zuckerberg it is furthermore important that his children spend more time with reading and being outdoors. [4] Similarly, Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group, remarked in a speech: „I told my son: ‘you don’t need to be in the top three in your class, being in the middle is fine, as long as your grades aren’t too bad. Only this kind of person [a middle-of-the-road student] has enough free time to learn other skills.’ I think if China’s economy wants to develop it needs a lot of SMEs and individually-run companies and that requires a lot of entrepreneurs with values and drive“. [5]

These words could be a description of Steve Jobs‘ life. There are very similar stories about his behavior as a father. Did the great technology entrepreneurs know that their social skills have played and continue to play a decisive role in their road to success? Not least Jobs was always said to be lacking in this area, but various psychologic analyses say that the man simply knew exactly when he wanted to use emotional intelligence and when less so. After all, he had many employees who transformed Apple because of him and with him into his own start-up – thus, secretly he seemed to be very much able to motivate and inspire them. [6]

 

Also, soft skills are crucial for a good match

Well-developed soft skills help in every job field and should not be underestimated even if we find ourselves in a technologically sensitive time. We can be sure that social and emotional intelligence will continue to be crucial for successful employment beyond 2030. At JANZZ, we know how important soft skills are for a good matching of human and job, as it is exactly these skills that determine whether the applicant really enriches the team and the company. Our special matching algorithms take into account not only job titles and training, but also many small details. Details such as soft skills, which ultimately lead to good employment. By doing this, we can guarantee an approach to the perfect match that is based on the latest findings regarding the idea of what makes the best employees. We will gladly provide you with more information about the best possible matching algorithms and advise you on your way to good matching.

Write now to sales@janzz.technology

 

 

[1] Strauss, Valerie. 2017. The surprising thing Google learned about its employees — and what it means for today’s students. URL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/12/20/the-surprising-thing-google-learned-about-its-employees-and-what-it-means-for-todays-students/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d4cfd1f9cd76 [2018.09.15].

[2] Deloitte AG (Hrsg.). 2017. Welche Schlüsselkompetenzen braucht es im digitalen Zeitalter? Auswirkungen der Automatisierung auf die Mitarbeiter, die Unternehmen und das Bildungssystem. URL: https://digital.swiss/assets/dateien/ch-de-innovation-automation-competencies.pdf [2018.09.15].

[3] Watson, Christine. 2018. RecTech is creating more – not less – need for the human touch. URL:  https://www.daxtra.com/2018/08/03/rectech-creating-more-need-for-human-touch/ [2018.09.15].

[4] Johnson, Alice. April, 7th, 2018. Viewpoint: Tech billionaire parenting. In: The Times. New York City.

[5] Custer, C. 2015. Jack Ma: ‘What I told my son about education’. URL: https://www.techinasia.com/jack-ma-what-told-son-education [2018.09.15].

[6] Bariso, Justin. 2018. Was Steve Jobs Emotionally Intelligent? The Answer May Surprise You.  In: Inc. URL: https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/was-steve-jobs-emotionally-intelligent-answer-may-surprise-you.html [2018.09.15].

Protect the young people: How accidents and illness at work cost lives and money worldwide

Young people are much more often affected by accidents at work and health problems resulting from their work than older employees. According to the European Agency for Safety and Health, they are up to 40% more prone to work-related injuries than their older colleagues. Therefore, young employees need to receive much better protection and training from their employer.

The United Nations defines young workers as workers between the ages of 15 and 24, irrespective of the kind of work they do, whether they are permanently employed, in an apprenticeship or internship or support the family business. There are 541 million young workers worldwide, which represents 15% of the workforce.

Many people work in dangerous conditions. Especially in areas such as agriculture, construction or production, many work-related accidents are reported. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), over the course of one year 374 million employees worldwide suffer from occupational accidents. Only in 2015, just under 3900 so-called fatal accidents at work were recorded in Europe. The term “fatal accidents” describes thereby accidents resulting in death.

A sound safety training is necessary.

Young people are particularly affected by high risks because they do not yet have the same skills and experience as older employees. They are therefore less able to assess dangers and have not yet received the knowledge that is necessary to prevent or reduce dangers. Additionally, their bodies and brains are not yet fully developed. For example, the frontal cortex, where rationality and judgement are located, only develops completely after reaching the age of 20. Many devices and tools are designed to be used by adults, which makes it likelier for young people to injure themselves when using them. Likewise, their bodies‘ reactions to pollutants are stronger. Furthermore, young employees are often not able to point out workplace grievances, either because they do not recognize them or because they do not dare to accuse their employer.

In general, the probability of an accident at work is four times higher in the first month of a job than during the entire following year. This probability increases enormously for young workers: it is five times higher in their first month at work than for older employees. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work cites as an example a case of an 18-year-old man who died after four days of apprenticeship from burns he sustained while disposing of petrol and diesel. His employer had not provided basic safety training to him or any other employee.

Based on this and many other experiences, the agency points out the importance of workplace safety and health training, especially for young employees. Thus, it advises for example to provide extensive information about frequent and special dangers, possibilities of self-protection, contacts in case of dangers, as well as actions in an emergency. It also recommends to train supervisors, specifically when they are dealing with young employees, as it cannot be expected that they have the same prudence as older employees. In many countries, it is also stipulated by law that the employer must identify and assess risks in order to take measures to prevent them.

After all, much is lost due to inadequate work safety. The ILO estimates that poor workplace health and safety conditions cost around 4% of global GDP per year. Companies and the economy are severely affected by accidents at work, as potential hazards can already reduce productivity, and employees affected by accidents and illness are unable to work. Furthermore, investments in workplace adjustment might be necessary after a potential disability of the affected employee. Last but not least, one must not forget that accidents at work can destroy career opportunities, social security and the general well-being of (young) people for a lifetime. In the long and short term, training and investments are therefore worthwhile for employers and employees alike.

However, the most important safety instructions should already be shown in a job advertisement. This acquaints the new young employee with the local conditions right from the start and thus ensures greater prudence. With the knowledge graph JANZZon! and the well-developed, multilingual typeahead APIs, job advertisements of professions with a particularly high-risk potential or an above-average proportion of young employees can be semantically enriched. By entering the necessary safety skills and information from the very beginning they can be meaningfully integrated into the hiring and training period processes.

Even more ado about nothing … or why the hype about big data and AI is often more about self-marketing than facts and real progress.

Every two days we produce the amount of data that was produced in total from the beginning of civilization until 2003. This shocking statistic was first presented by former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, in 2010. Since then, data production has certainly accelerated. Although mass data processing is nothing new, the hype surrounding the more familiar term “big data” only started in recent years [1]. But many people are quickly getting lost in this ever-growing jungle of data and often quite abstruse data processing methods.

 

Coincidences cannot be calculated …

… because “more data does not mean more knowledge,” as Gerd Antes proclaims succinctly in an interview with the Tagesanzeiger. The mathematician strongly criticizes the hype about big data usage because the mass of data leads to a higher probability of random correlations. For example, per capita cheese consumption and the number of deaths caused by entanglement in bedsheets in the USA show an identical curve. Machine analysis would possibly draw conclusions from this, whereas a scientist immediately recognizes it as a coincidence. [2]

Nevertheless, according to many big data supporters, coincidences no longer exist. They believe that if the quantities of data available are large enough, all interrelationships can be calculated in advance with the help of machine processing or deep learning and the right type of analyses. Past experience and available training sets are sufficient for this, and there is negligible risk of error ranges due to missing or irrelevant data. However, such a conclusion is fatal. Of course, certain areas, periods of time and interrelationships, etc. can be explored more easily, for which something is more or less likely to happen. However, this certainly does not mean that coincidences or significant deviations are impossible. For example, how can we expect an analysis of data collected from the past to precisely predict traffic accidents in the future? Or diseases, since information on disease progressions – and thus digital patient data – can be incomplete, inconsistent and/or inaccurate. [2]

Big, bigger, big data? Don’t exaggerate on your achievement.

 

Data analysis can thus be life-threatening …

Especially with regard to the field of medicine, Gerd Antes is not alone in cautioning against the pitfalls of big data and AI. If an incorrect treatment method is selected due to the results of big data analyses and machine learning, the effects can be devastating – for patients, for wallets and for reputations. With such enormous amounts of data available, true correlations and inconsistencies may not even be discovered. Inconsistencies and correlations can threaten or save lives. [2]

IBM made negative headlines again recently when the media company STAT analyzed IBM internal documents for a report which concluded that Watson for Oncology had repeatedly recommended “unsafe and incorrect” cancer treatments. The report also claimed that IBM employees and supervisors were aware of this. Although no deaths have been proven to have occurred as a result of these proposals, many prestigious hospitals have decided to stop using the multi-million-dollar technology. [3]

In this respect, the first signs of a rethink and a somewhat more rational approach in this area are already visible. The two to three years of seemingly boundless hype about IBM’s wonder computer Watson in the field of medicine is finally coming to an end. This will also happen in many other similar fields – at the latest, when people realize the importance of facts, reliable results and relevance rather than self-marketing and grandiose promises by well-known global tech groups with their often still very experimental products. It is certain that the aforementioned developments in the field of medicine can be transferred almost 1:1 to the digital HR market, for example with regard to the matching of jobs and skills.

 

Trustworthy knowledge comes from experts

Over five years ago Cornel Brücher published his provocative work “Rethink Big Data” in which he described big data supporters as fools. We at JANZZ have held a similar point of view from the beginning. It is simply not possible to acquire knowledge in the field of jobs and CVs, including more complex occupation data, by means of machine learning alone. Anyone who says otherwise is demonstrably wrong. And will remain wrong, no matter how often the same ideas and products are advertised and marketed; and even if much more money is invested in such technologies than before.

For this reason, and despite considerable investment, results that are based on this “big data approach” are still largely inadequate and have barely improved over recent years, regardless of the size of the data records used, e.g. for LinkedIn and IBM & Co. The results from machine learning will become increasingly error-prone as more factors and variables – and thus complicated rules and relations – are added. With the risk being that incidents of erroneous correlations or even assumed causality can occur. Knowledge graphs or ontologies, on the other hand, enable knowledge to be mapped and used in a very deep and structured manner. Knowledge concerning knowledge graphs is highly verifiable and trustworthy because the know-how of various experts is stored and connected in a structured manner – rather than being calculated by computer scientists who are experts in programming, but not, for example, in the fields of medicine, engineering, investment banking, etc. Since knowledge graphs reflect the relationships between many different areas, only they can provide relevant and precise search results and recommendations. For example, in the area of occupation data: A knowledge graph recognizes the difference and the connections between competencies, experiences, functions, specializations and education. They take into consideration, for example, that for job title “J” with apprenticeship “A,” skill “S” is very important. Let’s take a Senior Cloud Architect as an example. A knowledge graph recognizes this job title and knows that, for example, a master’s degree in computer science could one day lead to the applicant securing this job if he/she also has the skill “cloud solution development” and several years of professional experience.

 

Google also relies on experts and a knowledge graph for occupation data

This was proclaimed by Google when the company launched its knowledge graph “Google Cloud Jobs API,” on which its Google for Jobs search is based (see „Google Launches its Ontology-powered Jobs Search Engine. What Now?“). Google realized then that an ontology-based approach would give better search results. In the case of a semantic search based on the knowledge of a knowledge graph, a search for an “Admin Assistant” would not add results that are only similar to the search term, such as “HR Admin” or “Software Admin.” Or a big data analysis could possibly determine random correlations and thus suggest completely different jobs that only have similar skill requirements (engineers, for example, but also office assistants need knowledge of Microsoft Office).

To know the difference and thus truly know about job search and have a general understanding of professions and their interrelationships is therefore generally only possible with a knowledge graph. Matt Moore, product manager of Google Cloud, stated as the reason for introducing Google Cloud Jobs API: “We want to provide a better job search experience for all employers and candidates. Because, let’s face it: Hiring the right people is one of the most important things your company needs to do.” [4]

 

Only people have the knowledge necessary to comprehend human nature …

This raises the question of whom you can really trust when it comes to this most important task: the selection of employees. It’s a never-ending story: According to the CV, the applicant was the perfect candidate, but unfortunately he/she did not fit in personally. Drawing such conclusions, which are not suggested by the available (digital) data, is at a level where it is the turn of HR specialists, humans. Technological tools can manage CVs and rank them according to obvious findings such as education, skills, experience, etc. if the data flood is manageable and, above all, is correctly evaluated. Even the best candidate according to the documentation can suddenly disappear into the crowd due to the large number of misinterpreted or misunderstood criteria. And the best CV does not always belong to the best candidate. In the firm belief that even this last remaining human factor will finally be banned from selection processes, more and more tech companies and start-ups are trying to digitalize this dimension and control it with artificial intelligence. This is again done with mostly unsuitable methods and even before the process-enabled, existing digital data would have been correctly used and evaluated. The specialists and leading providers of technologies who have been dealing with serious and resilient processes and products in digital HR for several years now agree on this to a large extent – not only since Google entered this market segment. [5]

 

Big data limits knowledge development

So, more data really does not mean more knowledge. Knowledge must be structured, stored and validated. And people with the right expertise have to be involved. Caution is therefore called for in combating a flood of data that can no longer be structured and which results in random correlations. Alexander Wissner-Gross, a scientist at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), summarized it interestingly, “Perhaps the most important news of our day is that datasets – not algorithms – might be the key limiting factor to development of human-level artificial intelligence.” [6]

So, it is above all the content of knowledge that is promising, not the amount of data from which this knowledge is to be extracted. In the end, it is promising and reassuring that only experts or tools based on real expertise in many important areas, such as medicine or recruitment, can make reliable and correct judgments. All this makes the hype about big data and AI in HR a little more bearable. And our mission at JANZZ.technology – “We turn big data into smart data” – is more up to date than ever.

 

[1] Brücher, Cornel. 2013. Rethink Big Data. Frechen: MITP-Verlag.

[2] Straumann, Felix. «Vieles ist blankes Marketing». Big Data. In: Tagesanzeiger (2018), Nr. 168, P. 32.

[3] Spitzer, Julie. 2018. IBM’s Watson recommended “unsafe and incorrect” cancer treatments, STAT report finds. URL: https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/artificial-intelligence/ibm-s-watson-recommended-unsafe-and-incorrect-cancer-treatments-stat-report-finds.html [2018.08.01].

[4] From video: Google Cloud Platform. 2017. Google Cloud Jobs API: How to power your search for the best talent (Google Cloud Next ’17). URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr_8oNKtB98 [2018.08.03].

[5] Watson, Christine. 2018. RecTech is creating more – not less – need for the human touch. URL: http://www.daxtra.com/2018/08/03/rectech-creating-more-need-for-human-touch/?utm_content=75449136&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter [2018.08.09].

[6] Alexander Wissner-Gross. 2016. Datasets Over Algorithms. URL: https://www.edge.org/response-detail/26587 [2018.07.27].

The lifting of the driving ban for Saudi women (finally) creates new job opportunities

The women of Saudi Arabia have achieved an important new freedom: finally they are allowed to drive a car. Until 24 June this year, they were legally prohibited from doing so. Now that the ban has been lifted, Saudi women can move more freely, which will likely improve their opportunities in the labor market. Only 22% of Saudi women are currently employed, compared to 77% of Saudi men. When comparing the proportion of working Saudi women with those of other Arab countries, it appears strikingly small. For instance, in the United Arab Emirates, 47% of women work.  In Quatar, it is even 58%.

The economy suffered greatly from the driving ban. Firstly, women could not reach many employers, which made their employment often impossible. Secondly, men often stayed away from work to drive their wives. Under the ban, those who could afford it hired a driver, as women were also not allowed to use taxis on their own. However, this luxury exceeds many Saudi citizens’ budget. Thus, driving one’s wife was often a practical reason to stay away from work.  Furthermore, since Saudi Arabia’s cities are very spacious, walking or cycling no real option. At the same time, the country’s public transport network is not yet well developed.

Currently, 32% of Saudi women who are looking for a job are unemployed, and Saudi Arabia’s youth unemployment rate is as high as 40%. Yet, Saudi women are on average better educated than men. Now that women are allowed to be in the driving seat themselves there are a number of new job opportunities. Companies have already discovered new possibilities: car rental companies are advertising training and employment for women and an insurance company has already trained some women as accident inspectors. Since the beginning of this year, Saudi women are also allowed to serve in the military, where the ability to drive facilitates employment considerably. In April 2018, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development further decided to privilege Saudi Arabian citizens in many retail areas of employment. These areas include, for example, watch shops, optician’s, electronics stores, bakeries and furniture shops. Additionally, the regulation applies to trade in car parts. As these trade sectors continue to have a high demand for personnel, women can furthermore be employed to visit customers or deliver goods.

In spite of these developments, there are also some obstacles. In principle, Saudi women and men are allowed to work together, but there are special requirements for common workplaces. They must provide separate washrooms and break rooms, as well as a safety system. Many of Saudi Arabia’s employers are not prepared to remodel their buildings, which have long been intended only for the employment of men.

On statutory level, however, Saudi Arabia has in many ways cleared the path for a higher participation rate of women in the job market. In principle, a Saudi woman’s (male) legal guardian must consent to all her important decisions. The legal guardian is usually the woman’s father or husband, but in certain cases the son, too, can take up this position. In today’s Saudi Arabia, women can still not leave the country, be released from prison or get married on their own. Since last year, however, they no longer need approval to start a business, they can serve in the military, open bank accounts and apply for public services. These decisions are part of “Vision 2030,” a development program for the Saudi Arabian labor market. A large proportion of this plan includes interventions to increase the proportion of women in the labor market. Although it is no longer a legal requirement for a woman to have her guardian’s consent to work, it is often still demanded by the employer.

The fact that so few Saudi women work is increasingly becoming a problem for the country. Its economy is undergoing a major transformation, as it is booming. So far, increasing labor requirements have been satisfied by hiring foreign workers. That is, a large number of available jobs in Saudi Arabia are allocated to foreign citizens: only 5.6 million of the country’s 11.9 million employment positions are held by Saudis. At the same time, its economy is heavily dependent on the oil industry, which generates almost 45% of real GDP in Saudi Arabia. Overall, the labor market is very homogeneous, with 67% of Saudis working for the state.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development has recognized that the Saudi labor market needs to be fundamentally transformed, as dependencies and untapped potential begin to adversely affect the economy. Saudi women’s potential has now been recognized, particularly their quality education.  The lifting of the driving ban marks thus a first step towards the development of a new Saudi labor environment.