Building a skills taxonomy for enhanced talent acquisition

Building a skills taxonomy for enhanced talent acquisition


Building a skills taxonomy

When we first met with our client, a global financial services company, they were facing some serious challenges. Job titles were too broad, and they had trouble accurately pricing specialist technology skills. The client knew a skills taxonomy could make a difference in their contingent workforce programme, but they needed help to get it right.

That’s where we stepped in. Pontoon partnered with our client to develop a customised skills taxonomy tailored to their needs. This new approach provided more precise talent mapping, optimised bill rates, and enabled data-driven decision-making. As a result, recruitment efficiency saw a significant boost.

The challenge

Fixing an outdated framework

An outdated skills framework was a significant challenge in attracting top IT talent.

The client struggled to pay fair market rates, risking overpayment for typical skills and underpayment for in-demand expertise. They needed a clear system to identify and price “premium” skills. In short, their existing system made finding the right talent at the right price difficult, slowing recruitment and impacting their bottom line. Pontoon’s role was to fix this by creating a detailed and accurate skills taxonomy.

How we helped

Customised skills taxonomy

Pontoon teamed up with the client’s IT department to tackle these challenges. Here’s what we did:

  • Developed a specialist skills taxonomy: We created a custom field dropdown menu with approximately 120 specialist skills. These skills were identified as “premium” and required a higher bill rate for fulfilment.
  • Dynamic skills management: This taxonomy wasn’t static. We established an ongoing review process, with Pontoon recommending additions or removals based on market conditions. The client gave final approval.
  • Targeted application of uplifts: Programme consultants were trained to identify and leverage the specialist skills taxonomy. This ensured a 16% bill rate uplift was only applied when roles required premium skill sets.
  • Data-driven reporting: We implemented reporting mechanisms to track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like overrides and cycle times. This data granularity provided insights into roles that were difficult to fill or align with the established rate card.

Process improvement and innovation

Our customised skills taxonomy brought significant benefits to the client, including:

  • Improved talent mapping: Precise skills identification enabled more accurate matching of candidates to specific roles, leading to faster placements and higher quality hires.
  • Optimised bill rates: The targeted application of the bill rate uplift for specialist skills ensured accurate pricing and improved cost efficiency.
  • Data-driven decision making: Enhanced reporting allowed the client to identify areas for improvement in the rate card and skill set identification for specific roles, such as adding new job titles or IT specialist skills.
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