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  • Writer's pictureProject on Workforce Team

Matt Sigelman | Team Profile

David Deming, Faculty Co-director of the Project on Workforce

Matt Sigelman is a Visiting Fellow at the Project on Workforce, and President of The Burning Glass Institute.

He has dedicated his career to unlocking new avenues for mobility, opportunity, and equity through skills. With his team, he invented the field of real-time labor market data, a breakthrough innovation that transformed the way employers, education institutions, policy makers, and workers understand, plan for, and connect with the world of work. By mining billions of job openings and career histories, Matt led Emsi Burning Glass to become the global authority on the market for talent.

Matt brings together research that draws attention to pressing problems and frames the potential for new approaches with the work to put innovative ideas into practice.




Selected Projects

The American Opportunity Index — A Corporate Scorecard of Worker Advancement

The American Opportunity Index: A Corporate Scorecard of Worker Advancement is a new effort to give companies and other stakeholders a set of robust tools that measure how well major employers are doing in fostering economic mobility for workers and how they could do better. The Index assesses America’s 250 largest public companies based on real-world outcomes of their employees in roles open to non-college graduates—not merely their statements on corporate policy. It draws upon a new source of insight: big-data analysis of career histories, job postings, and salary sources of more than 3 million workers at those firms.

The College-to-Jobs Map — Visualizing data on colleges and employment

The College-to-Jobs Initiative aims to bridge the gap between higher education and employment amidst rising student debt and skepticism about college value. Focusing on public colleges, HBCUs, and MSIs, it offers a College-to-Jobs Map merging data on colleges, job trends, and employment, alongside a Playbook detailing strategies to enhance student-workforce connections.

The Project on Workforce has partnered with Education Design Lab's Community College Growth Engine to enhance community colleges' use of real-time labor market information (LMI) and emerging technologies for student economic mobility. Research underscores community colleges' pivotal role in regional economies. Lack of access to real-time LMI hampers colleges' ability to align programs with industry needs. This initiative aims to conduct case studies, design strategic micro-pathways, and develop best practices to modernize community college systems. Funded by Axim Collaborative, the project seeks to empower colleges to adapt to technological changes and improve student employment prospects.

This working paper describes the Workforce Almanac, a first-of-its-kind effort to understand workforce training at a system-wide level. To demonstrate the kinds of analysis possible, this working paper compares the presence and types of short-term, post-high school workforce training providers in different U.S. regions and states. Some of our findings include: Of the nearly 17,000 workforce training providers in the U.S., only about one-third are eligible for federal WIOA funding. This suggests that at least two-thirds of workforce development providers operate outside of WIOA, the primary federal law funding workforce development. The Midwest and Northeast are the most served by workforce training providers, while the South and West are the least served. For every 100k workers, the Northeast has 11 providers, compared to 10 in the South. For every 100k unemployed people, the Midwest has 296 providers, compared to 256 in the West. The number of workforce training providers serving the labor force across states varies widely, from 6 per 100k workers in Connecticut to 32 per 100k workers in Maine. The makeup of workforce training providers serving communities in different states also varies widely. Some states, such as Massachusetts, rely heavily on apprenticeship sponsors, while others, such as Maine, Wyoming, and Alaska, rely more heavily on WIOA-eligible providers.

Selected Research

In recent decades, many employers relied on college degrees as a filter for hiring, viewing them as proxies for persistence, foundational skills, and general capability. However, challenges in the labor market have led to a reevaluation of this practice. With shortages and a focus on equity, employers are questioning the exclusionary nature of degree requirements, which disqualify a large portion of the workforce. This has propelled the Skills-Based Hiring movement, where employers assess candidates based on skills rather than degrees. While there's been a surge in organizations removing degree requirements, the question remains whether this translates into increased access for workers.

In October 2023, the Burning Glass Institute partnered with the Wall Street Journal to publish a report comparing tech skills across US cities. Unlike traditional measures focusing solely on workforce size and growth, this report emphasizes skill quality. It introduces innovative metrics like "Share of Workers with Frontier Skills" and "Tech Worker Momentum Score" to assess both current and future workforce capabilities. By analyzing real-time labor market data, the report identifies cities leading, emerging, or lagging in tech skill competitiveness, offering valuable insights for policymakers and businesses alike.

In Spring 2023 we partnered with the Wall Street Journal to release a series of reports premised on a simple question: which schools give their graduates the greatest chance of earning the most in a given career area? Based on the education and career histories of over 3 million workers, we measure what workers in each of our selected fields earn over the first ten years of their career, and identify the undergraduate institutions whose graduates go on to earn the most. Select a career area and a school type in the drop down menus below to view our evaluations of the 20 top performing colleges for both public and private institutions.

Employers are increasingly removing bachelor's degree requirements from various roles, reversing a trend of degree inflation since the Great Recession. This shift, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, began before the crisis and is expected to continue after it. About 46% of middle-skill and 31% of high-skill occupations saw significant degree resets between 2017 and 2019. Most of these resets (63%) are structural rather than cyclical, indicating a long-term change in hiring practices. Employers are now emphasizing specific skills in job postings previously assumed to come with a college education, potentially opening up opportunities for the majority of Americans without degrees. Projections suggest an additional 1.4 million jobs could become accessible to non-degree holders over the next five years due to this shift.

Selected Media

Many U.S. companies are rethinking hiring practices to offer higher-wage jobs to non-degree holders. The Burning Glass Institute's analysis shows a gradual decline in degree requirements, with 51% in 2017 dropping to 44% in 2021. Removing this filter enhances diversity and taps into overlooked talent pools. Yet, challenges persist in changing entrenched hiring habits, requiring clearer skill definitions and manager training. Companies like IBM and Accenture lead by example, requiring degrees in fewer job postings, offering pathways for upward mobility.

Skills-Based Hiring Is on the Rise | Harvard Business Review

Two decades ago, companies began adding degree requirements to job descriptions, even though the jobs themselves hadn’t changed. After the Great Recession, many organizations began trying to back away from those requirements. To learn how the effort is going, the authors studied more than 50 million recent job announcements. The bottom line: Many companies are moving away from degree requirements and toward skills-based hiring, especially in middle-skill jobs, which good for both workers and employers. But more work remains to be done.

A new ranking of Fortune 500 companies, the 2023 American Opportunity Index, aims to help job-seekers avoid stagnant career paths. Developed by the Burning Glass Institute, in collaboration with the Managing the Future of Work Project at Harvard Business School and the Schultz Family Foundation, the index evaluates companies based on their ability to facilitate career advancement and higher wages, particularly for employees without college degrees. By focusing on jobs where many workers lack degrees, the index provides valuable insights into opportunities for upward mobility. Despite this effort, most employers still face challenges in systematically promoting U.S. workers and enhancing their earning potential.


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