Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

3rd Oct, 2023

Louise Reed
Louise Reed
Job Title
Solutions Director

In an ever-evolving recruitment landscape, the significance of matching the right candidates with the right roles cannot be overstated. 

To achieve this, organisations are increasingly turning to advanced technologies and methodologies, including skills taxonomy and skills ontology. These two concepts play a pivotal role in streamlining the hiring process and enhancing the overall quality of talent acquisition. 

What is skills taxonomy? 

A skills taxonomy is the process of classifying various skills into structured categories. It’s the grouping and organising of skills in a hierarchical manner to create a standardised classification system for the skills and competencies required in different job roles. 

At the core of a skills taxonomy are skill clusters, categories, and subcategories that group related skills together. For instance, in the field of software development, a skills taxonomy might include categories like ‘programming languages,’ ‘web development,’ and ‘database management.’ These categories can then be broken down further into subcategories like ‘Python’ or ‘JavaScript’. 

What is skills ontology? 

A skills ontology takes the concept of skills taxonomy to the next level, creating a more intricate and interconnected representation of skills, their relationships, and their contextual meanings. 

It’s a structured framework that breaks down the complexity of skills into simpler, interconnected elements, encompassing the gamut of technical proficiencies, soft skills, and domain-specific knowledge. Essentially, skill ontology is about having a common language for skills. 

It not only outlines skill categories but also defines how they interrelate and contribute to specific roles or industries. Whereas a skills taxonomy provides a structured hierarchy, a skills ontology adds depth by capturing more nuance. This enables recruiters to understand what skills are required for a role and how those skills interact with each other to contribute to the overall success of a job. 

What are the benefits of skills taxonomy and skills ontology in recruitment? 

The combination of skill ontology and taxonomy provides a robust structure to map competencies, roles, and career paths within an organisation.  This creates a number of benefits:  

  • Precision in job descriptions: By utilising a well-defined skills taxonomy or ontology, job descriptions become more accurate and comprehensive. This helps attract candidates who possess the exact skills required for the role. 

  • Efficient candidate evaluation: When screening CVs and applications, recruiters can swiftly identify candidates with the right skill sets. This reduces the chances of overlooking potentially suitable people. 

  • Effective skill gap analysis: Skills taxonomies and ontologies can help identify skill gaps within an organisation. This information can guide training and development initiatives to upskill existing employees and onboard new talent. 

  • Enhanced automation: AI-driven recruitment platforms can leverage skills taxonomies and ontologies to automate candidate sourcing and ranking, making the selection process more efficient. 

  • Improved diversity and inclusion: Objective skills-based evaluation reduces unconscious bias during the initial screening phase, promoting a more diverse and inclusive hiring process. 

Challenges and considerations 

While skills taxonomies and ontologies offer substantial advantages, there are challenges to consider. 

Developing and maintaining these frameworks requires dedicated effort, as skills evolve over time. Additionally, striking the right balance between broad categories and detailed subcategories is crucial to avoid overwhelming recruiters and candidates. 

In the fast-paced world of recruitment, skills taxonomy and skills ontology bring much-needed structure and clarity. They empower organisations to make informed decisions, ensure accurate talent placement, and contribute to the overall success of the company. 

As technology continues to advance, these tools will likely play an increasingly vital role in shaping the future of talent acquisition. 

Our recent research into skills gaps, as part of our survey report, ‘The Great Unlocking: harnessing the hidden workforce’, revealed that 77% of hiring managers said it was either very, or somewhat likely, that a lack of access to workers equipped with the skill sets they need will restrict growth within their businesses in the next three years. With this statistic in mind, it’s vital that organisations consider more diverse talent pools and choose skills over experience with a shift to skills-based hiring. 

With a quarter of the UK workforce set to move jobs in the next 12 months, thinking differently about recruitment and retention is critical if employers are to meet their growth plans.  

If you’re looking to address skills shortages in your organisation our recruit, train, deploy solution is designed to attract, reskill or upskill, and deploy new talent – find out more.

Two circles with mini circles inside

Ready to discuss your unique workforce requirements? Let's talk them through.

Speak to an expert