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How LinkedIn Plans to Solve the World's Skills Gap

Matching people and skills with available jobs

November 27, 2012

LinkedIn is already one of digital media's great success stories, with a stock price that has more than doubled since its 2011 IPO, revenue north of $1 billion, and a firm grasp as the country's top online professional network.

But ask CEO Jeff Weiner what the company will look like five to 10 years from now, and you'll realize his vision is much more ambitious.

"Ultimately, we want to map out the underpinning of the global economy," he told Business Insider founder Henry Blodget at the Business Insider Ignition conference in New York Tuesday, Nov. 27.

And what does that mean exactly? Weiner said the company wants to digitize every job in the world and the skills needed for that job, as well as every individual and company profile.

With that information, LinkedIn would be in a position to evaluate the gaps between the skill sets of a workforce in a given region and the jobs that are on the rise there. Weiner went on to give an example of schools using that information to alter curriculum to teach skills needed for future jobs in a given area. "That could move the needle in the global economy," he said.

On a smaller scale, Weiner envisions LinkedIn helping global companies create the same type of graph within their business to match the right employee, say, in Sydney, with a job opening in New York. Shorter term, LinkedIn is looking to invest more in business intelligence to help companies benchmark themselves against competitors at their industry at large.

One thing LinkedIn doesn't plan to focus on? Media, or at least displacing business publications, which have come to rely on LinkedIn as a source of referral traffic.

Blodget noted that the traffic that LinkedIn sends to Business Insider has decreased since LinkedIn has introduced new content initiatives such as its influencer blogging program. "Are you going to squish us?" Blodget asked of business publications in general.

"No, that is certainly not the objective," Weiner replied. LinkedIn is concentrating on "comprehensiveness" when it comes to the content it shows on LinkedIn Today and other parts of the network, making it more of a content distributor or "ecosystem" than a content creator. The question is how long that lasts.

Filed by Jason Del Rey of Advertising Age, a sister publication of Workforce Management. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.

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