A bottom-up approach for an open, safe and controlled career data ecosystem

A bottom-up approach for an open, safe and controlled career data ecosystem

This content was created by the Data Sharing Coalition, one of the founding partners of the CoE-DSC.

Labor mobility has increased dramatically in recent years: more and more people are changing jobs. In fact, that number has doubled in the last decade. There are several reasons for this. Digitalisation and technological innovation cause jobs to change or disappear, meaning people need to learn new skills. In addition, people start working for a new employer because they strive for personal growth and development.

At the same time, in various fields, processes for onboarding and professional verification must meet increasingly stringent compliance requirements, for example the Know Your Customer principle applied in the banking domain. This process of collecting and verifying career data such as diplomas, certificates and references is mostly manual and takes a lot of time and manpower. Moreover, the process is susceptible to fraud as verifying the credentials is very difficult for paper documents. These challenges make it complex for both banks to comply with obligations under the Financial Supervision Act (in Dutch: Wet financieel toezicht) and for employees who are faced with more administrative tasks and longer waiting times because the information has to be checked.

Career data ecosystem: one infrastructure for sharing career data between employer and employee controlled by the employee

Both employers and employees benefit from one integral way to set up more efficient processes for onboarding and professional verification. Employees set-up a (Career) Wallet within this ecosystem, which allows employees and employers to share career data with consent of the owner of that data. However, the challenge today is that relevant career data is stored at different sources. For example, governmental authorities that maintain diploma records, but also knowledge institutions and private parties provide credentials. To unlock this source data, an open career data ecosystem must be created. The Career Wallet does not store any data, but acts as an access point for this ecosystem to retrieve validated career data from different sources. This method of digital data exchange is often defined as Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI). For an open career data ecosystem to be successful and to achieve access and portability of career data in a standardised manner, not only employers and employees, but educators, governments, wallet software vendors and HR tech providers should also participate in this ecosystem.

Previous initiatives proof value potential, but lack collaboration and interoperability

The idea of an open career data ecosystem is not new. For example, our participant Rabobank, together with stakeholders, created its own temporary Career Wallet to test the user experience of their own employees. Anne Doeser, Lead HR Innovation Hub at Rabobank, elaborates on the challenges: “Together with among others Randstad and educational institution NCOI, we realised a successful proof-of-concept that enabled employees to share their certificates via the wallet instead of having to copy and upload these themselves. Although the response was great and employees were satisfied with the fast and easy onboarding, scalability of the solution we built is limited.” According to Anne, collaboration and interoperability with other initiatives is key to scale up and avoid fragmentation. “To scale a use case like this, we highly recommend involving multiple cross-sectoral and public and private stakeholders to create a framework for a future-proof solution. Especially parties from the banking and healthcare sector, where this solution will have the biggest impact. If you do not involve other organisations in this use case, the solution will never be scalable. The main focus should not be on technology, but on trust, agreements and collaboration. This is key to ultimately create a solution that is broadly adopted. It would also be my preference to involve a trusted and neutral party such as the Data Sharing Coalition to help guide the use case process.”

Clearly scoped use cases as a first step towards creating a EU Digital Identity Wallet framework

At a European level, the topic of creating an open career data ecosystem relates to the electronic identification (eID) component of the eIDAS regulation. The European Commission is working on an eIDAS revision to entitle all citizens and businesses in the EU to an EU Digital Identity Wallet issued by member states themselves. Currently, member states, including the Netherlands, are preparing implementation plans that will also have implications for the private sector. At European level, large scale pilots have been selected and the Architecture Reference Framework (ARF) is being developed. For the large scale pilots, three international consortia of public and private sector organisations — Nordic-Baltic eID Project (Nobid), the European Digital Identity Wallet Consortium (EWC) and Digital Credentials for Europe (DC4EU) — have confirmed that their proposals have been accepted by the European Commission and have announced plans for trials that are due to begin early this year. The ARF contains objectives of the EU Digital Identity Wallet, roles of the actors of the ecosystem, the functional and non-functional requirements of the wallet and its potential building blocks. The Dutch government has started a working group that is closely monitoring the European developments from a Dutch perspective, for example by discussing the Architecture Reference Framework (ARF).

An important step towards collaboration in an open career data ecosystem is solving problems that provide short-term benefits and insights. Following our phased approach, the Data Sharing Coalition can support interested parties in defining the scope, a scalable design and sample implementation of a use case. This could, for instance, be a use case that focuses on how to ease the process of validating Financial Supervision Act (WTF) certificates. The design of this use case can provide a basis for developing data sharing agreements for a generic range of use case. Finally, the insights and outcomes of this use case can be input for the development of frameworks for the EU Digital Identity Wallet.

Are you interested in participating in this use case? Or do you have an idea for a use case that focuses on sharing career data? Please send us an email: info@coe-dsc.nl


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