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    Forecast skill trends, at the country level, to help governments and people prepare for a transforming world of work.

    Join this project to bring your concept to reality and help us achieve a future of work that provides decent and sustainable work opportunities for all.

    The winning submissions will be featured at the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge USA, during J-WEL Week in March 2020. Learn more about the J-WEL.

    The Challenge

    This multi-stakeholder challenge calls upon participants worldwide to contribute to the design of publicly available tools that will contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 8 “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”.

    Specifically, the challenge seeks to identify predictive models and datasets which can be used for forecasting skills trends at the country level. Single-country tools will be considered, but the best submissions will allow multiple countries to understand their unique skill trends.

    Why does this matter?

    Rapid technological and economic changes are changing the types of jobs being demanded, and the nature of the work in those jobs. This creates challenges for individuals, employers, educational institutions, and governments.

    People need better advice on how to gain the right skills to advance in their careers.
    Employers need data to hire the right workers, and help their current employers gain useful skills.
    Educational institutions need information to plan workforce-relevant courses and programs.
    Governments need insight to help them invest in the right programs to improve the employability and financial security of their people.

    While some models exist to forecast trends in demand for skills and jobs, much more is needed to help people identify the skills that are most important for the places in which they live and work.
    We challenge you to build methodologies and skill forecasting tools that empower stakeholders to navigate the transforming world of work.


    Your submission to this challenge must include:

    • A short description of the methodology you propose and the specific datasets you utilize.
    • An online executable workbook showing step-by-step computations and justifications of your methodology (e.g a jupyter notebook hosted at,,, or similar). The workbook must provide preliminary results from your model.
    • A short video (1 to 5 minutes) explaining your solution.
    • A repository of the original open source code, data files, and other items used to execute your model (include licenses files). This information should be hosted in a public repository and should allow the challenge organizers to execute it online.

    Note: Open Source
    The terms of this challenge require that all your submissions are covered by creative commons and recognized open source software licenses. You will be asked to accept this in the terms and conditions prior to submitting any content. You are encouraged to leverage and extend existing open source frameworks and use open data. Read terms and conditions.

    Challenge Timeline

    All times are in USA, Eastern Standard Time.

    • Challenge starts: Oct 15, 2019
    • Submissions and online collaboration: Ends Jan 15, 2020
    • Review phase: Ends Feb 15, 2020
    • Featuring the best solutions at J-Wel Week on 30 March - 2 April, 2020. (Exponents might be invited to present via teleconference or in-person depending on availability of funds).

    Review of submissions

    Good solutions will do one or more of the following, at the country level:

    • Forecast changes in demand for each occupation in the next 6 months, 1 year, 5 years.
    • Identify trends in skills that may be more or less in demand across occupations.
    • Identify skill linkages or pathways between downward-trending occupations and upward-trending occupations and highlight which are the differentiating duties or tasks.

    Get started 


    1. Create your Unite Ideas account.

    2. Post your idea today!

    After submitting your idea or methodology you may invite other people to join your team. You may also look at other ideas and reach out to their authors. You can edit your idea until the end of the "Submissions and online collaboration" phase on January 15, 2020.

    Challenge organizers

    This challenge is organized by:

    • The Office of Information and Communications Technology, United Nations
    • The Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab, MIT


    • Ms. Susan Young, Assistant Director, MIT, J-WEL Workforce Learning
    • Mr. Jorge Martinez Navarrete, Innovation Unit, UN OICT

    If you have questions about the challenge, you can contact the organizers above after creating your account on Unite Ideas.

    Review panel

    • Ms. Bolormaa TUMURCHUDUR - KLOK, International Labour Organization.
    • Mr. George WESTERMAN, Faculty Director, MIT, J-WEL Workforce Learning
    • Mr. Lambert HOGENHOUT, Emerging Technologies Section, UN OICT

    References and examples

    For understanding the terminology (occupations, jobs, duties, tasks), read the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08).

    Compendium on Anticipation and Matching of Skills, Using Labour Market Information, GUIDE TO ANTICIPATING AND MATCHING SKILLS AND JOBS VOLUME, Hana Řihova. European Training Foundation / European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training / International Labour Office.

    Developing skills foresights, scenarios and forecasts: Guide to anticipating and matching skills and jobs, Volume 2

    A background on skills- and work-relevant forecasting research completed to date, review the following resources:





    Data sources

    You might want to consider using the data sources below:

    Comprehensive labour statistics by the International Labour Organization

    Occupational task and skill data

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    Challenge ends:


    Get Started

    1. Create your Unite Ideas account

    2. Post your idea today!

    After submitting, you can edit your idea until the end of the "Submissions and online collaboration" phase on January 15, 2020.

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