Revolutionizing Talent Management: The Role of Skills Ontology and AI in HR

By Nishchae Suri


In the ever-evolving landscape of the modern workforce, organizations face the persistent challenge of finding employees with the right skills. Skills ontologies, coupled with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, have emerged as transformative tools that go beyond traditional skills databases and taxonomies. These innovations offer interconnected skills, establishing relationships with job roles and entities, providing a dynamic understanding of skill connections across diverse domains. This article explores the impact of skills ontology and AI in talent management, highlighting their role in addressing the skills shortage, fostering development, and enhancing overall business innovation and growth.

A quick understanding of Skills Ontology and Taxonomy:

Skills Ontology and Taxonomy involves a detailed and methodical approach to categorizing and organizing skills within the framework of talent management and learning platforms. Skills ontology refers to the framework that defines and structures various skills, competencies, and knowledge areas, establishing relationships and hierarchies among them. It aids in mapping out career paths, aligning training programs, and identifying skill gaps. On the other hand, skills taxonomy is the methodical classification of these skills into categories and subcategories, facilitating easier navigation, understanding, and alignment with organizational objectives. Together, skills ontology and taxonomy play a pivotal role in optimizing talent management strategies, personalizing learning experiences, and supporting workforce development in a structured and efficient manner.

Skills Transformation for the Future:

Organizations must prioritize tackling the skills shortage head-on through systematic internal talent development programs. According to the Cornerstone Talent Health Index Report: India Edition, only 39% of organizations focus on identifying the current and future skilling needs, aligned with business strategy. Additionally, in only 29% of organizations skill development framework is well defined and the L&D team has knowledge and expertise in this area. This emphasizes that organizations need to take more comprehensive action to improve employee skills. Skills intelligence is one area where business leaders can truly unleash the potential of AI to discover employees’ key skills and strengths and how they relate to both current and future career opportunities.

AI for Skills Intelligence:

The integration of AI into talent management has revolutionized how organizations identify, build, and measure skills. AI-powered software streamlines recruitment processes, aiding in the identification of ideal candidates based on specific skills, experience, and cultural fit. Additionally, AI empowers employees with personalized career development opportunities, facilitates effective performance management, and automates routine HR tasks. This allows HR professionals to focus on strategic initiatives, ultimately driving skills growth through innovation and unlocking the untapped potential of the workforce. However, not many organizations are leveraging the power of AI and associated tools to master skills intelligence. According to the Cornerstone Talent Health Index Report: India Edition, only 17% of organizations leverage AI and Machine Learning for known use cases and have built internal capabilities.

Anticipating Skills Requirements: A Core HR Function:

Human resources play a crucial role in managing skills within an organization. The focus is on ensuring the company possesses the necessary knowledge and expertise for current and future success. However, in the modern knowledge economy, HR faces challenges in maintaining a constant overview of skills assets, anticipating future skill requirements, and tracking individual progress for talent retention and engagement. To overcome these challenges, HR professionals need dedicated digital solutions that enable the visualization, analysis, and planning of available skills.

By embracing skills ontology, AI, and digital solutions, organizations can shape a world where skills know no bounds, and each step forward is a stride toward a brighter, more inclusive tomorrow. As organizations navigate the complexities of the modern workforce, the integration of skills ontology and AI in talent management emerges as a pivotal strategy. By prioritizing skills transformation, anticipating future requirements, and leveraging AI for skills intelligence, HR professionals can drive unprecedented prosperity for individuals and organizations alike.

Cornerstone’s commitment to assisting organizations in unlocking the limitless potential of their workforce emphasizes the transformative power of these technologies, forging a path towards a future where skills are an inexhaustible asset.


(The author is Nishchae Suri, MD of Cornerstone, and the views expressed in this article are his own)