2.5 Skills clusters

Skills clusters show clusters of similar specialist tasks. These tasks are broadly transferable – if you can do one task in the cluster, you can do the others. 

About skills clusters 

Skills clusters illustrate a new way of looking at the labour market at a ‘deeper’ level than occupational classifications or qualifications.

This view shows how skills are related and connected to one another and illustrates the transferability of skills across occupations.   

Skills clusters show how skill types are distributed across occupations. In doing so they can provide another perspective on skills gaps. Skills clusters do not measure a skills gap, or provide data, but are a unique way of determining whether an already identified skills gap is similar or quite different from the existing skills supply. This visualisation may provide an additional indicator of whether a skills gap can be met by recruitment or on-the-job training. 

In the longer term, this perspective can enhance the conceptualisation of skills portfolios across the workforce, industry or business and expand our understanding of skills beyond traditional labour market information.

Wider applications 

Visualising common and transferable skills across occupations

For individuals, skills clusters provide a way to plan career pathways around in-demand skills rather than occupations which may change over time. Skills clusters indicate the skills offering broad transition options. That is, they provide a way to visualise the range of occupations that require a skill, similar skills, and transferable skills across the labour market. 

Education and training implications

By revealing the range of occupations requiring a specialist task, skills clusters could inform skills packages and the way education and training providers market their course offerings over the longer-term.

Planning and workforce development

By identifying skills that are required by a range of occupations, and similar skills, skills clusters provide an indication of the potential return on training investments. 
Mapping skills clusters could also inform workforce analysis over time. For example, combining this data with other data and information to understand the existing skills clusters within a region or industry could inform forward strategy to attract new business, develop new products or open new markets.