Making skills intelligence more intelligent: why we invested in Workera

By Saaya Nath and Mike McMahon

After what can only be described as a rocky year for venture, we can’t think of a more promising start to 2023 than by leading Workera’s $23.5mm Series B. An emerging leader in the skills intelligence space, Workera helps enterprises and individuals understand, develop, and mobilize their talent through AI-powered assessments and personalized learning paths to close skills gaps.

The technical skills shortage has been part of the macro conversation for some time, and it seems that a new jaw-dropping stat about the ratio of open roles to qualified candidates in a specific technical field drops every quarter. Whether it’s data science, automation, or cybersecurity, demand for tech talent far eclipses supply – and unfortunately, the trend continues to compound due to the continued decline in technical skills proficiency in the US, dropping from 69% in 2021 to 43% in 2022.

The rapid acceleration of digital adoption across organizations has made this pain infinitely more acute in the past few years. Technologies once considered “cutting-edge” and only for extremely “tech-forward” companies are now table stakes. Add to that the intersection of advanced tools coming to market faster than ever (ChatGPT, for one), the growing volume of data, and the affordability of computing resources, and it’s clear that the modern workplace has rapidly transformed. Like it or not, every business is now also a data and analytics business, and either they embrace this reality and the necessary resourcing associated with it or risk getting left behind.

The result of these challenges is clear, workforce skills are having difficulty keeping up with the demands of evolving technologies. To navigate this challenge, company leaders must command deeper insight to quickly understand the skillsets the organization has available to them, the skillsets that need to be developed (upskilled), and whether additional talent is necessary.

The organizational push towards skills intelligence is already happening, with 45% of companies claiming to have adopted a “skills first” approach and a further 33% assessing future candidates based on skills rather than resumes alone.

Most legacy skills intelligence solutions today are “inference-based,” meaning they rely on often outdated and non-specific, surface-level data inputs such as job titles, resumes, and degrees to infer what skills exist in an organization. Using this approach, two software engineers with the same Computer Science degree but wildly varying work experiences may be viewed as similar contributors when in reality, the work they are able to do within an organization likely differs greatly.

Enter Workera. The platform leverages AI to extract high-fidelity insights into specific skills that individuals possess. Offering an ontology of over 7,000 of the most in-demand technical skills within domains such as AI, Data Science, and Automation, Workera’s solution easily differentiates between the varying skillsets of two software engineers.

The most compelling piece: Workera empowers both the employer and employee. The platform helps accelerate employees’ learning velocity and develop lasting competency of skills by leveraging assessment results to create tailored learning pathways (in minutes). At the same time, Workera provides employers with a deeper understanding of their workforce, enabling them to drive innovation and strategy faster and inform their talent acquisition strategies.

Whether it’s accelerating project execution by aligning initiatives with specific skillsets, helping develop those skillsets, or bringing more clarity to talent acquisition efforts, Workera’s technology provides organizations with the skills intelligence data necessary for them to not only keep up with the proverbial technological Joneses but outpace them.

We believe most current legacy skills solutions fall short as they provide an incomplete at best and sometimes an inaccurate signal on true resource capability. To derive meaningful and actionable insights, an adaptive and direct assessment approach is required, accelerating individual development and better targeting talent acquisition. We envisioned a robust solution that could bridge the gap and found it in Workera.

Led by Kian Katanforoosh, an exceptional visionary and brilliant AI mind, he and the Workera team are speeding towards a more equitable skills-based future, where knowing and growing your skills is the key to unlocking success for both employees and employers. That’s a future we couldn’t be more excited to be part of.

By Saaya Nath and Mike McMahon

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