“Twenty years ago, the resume was a piece of paper. Now, it’s a collection of all [candidate] data that can be found online, like participation in online communities, conferences and meet-ups. Recruiters can assess whether a person will fit, and learn if he or she has the right skills for a job.” – Jon Bischke 
The recruitment industry has undergone a huge transition from offline to online in the past two decades. From newspapers job listings and rolodexes to job sites and professional networking platforms, digitization of recruitment has powered the business models of recruitment technology companies such as Indeed, Monster, and of course, LinkedIn.
To most people, LinkedIn may seem like a place to brand yourself professionally, look for jobs, or network with other professionals. And from a B2B perspective, LinkedIn’s business model relies on enabling recruiters, salespeople and marketers to target the sets of professionals they are looking for. LinkedIn has ridden the wave of digitization to build a network that enables these core customer propositions, but LinkedIn’s vision expands much further than that, which is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce by creating digital representations of members, companies, jobs, skills, schools and knowledge.
LinkedIn’s business model is built on creating value for a network of professionals which has enabled it to accumulate a wealth of data. Every time members add new connections, update their profiles, share their professional insights, or every time employers post jobs or make new hires, LinkedIn is learning something about the global workforce. In aggregate and over time, this activity makes it possible for LinkedIn to create a digital map of the global economy. And LinkedIn’s operating model must interpret and surface this data, with thoughtful privacy controls, to the right consumers of this data. As you can see, LinkedIn’s business model and operating model are closely intertwined and both fueled by its ultimate vision of creating the world’s first Economic Graph.
The Economic Graph is a digital representation of:
- The world’s 3 billion workers
- All 60-70 million companies that employ these workers
- All jobs at those companies
- Every skill required to obtain those jobs
- Profiles of higher education institutions and the classes offered
- Published knowledge 
How will LinkedIn interpret and operationalize insights from building these nodes within the Economic Graph? Here are two examples of how LinkedIn is converting data into actionable recommendations to solve big problems.
In 2015, LinkedIn piloted a program in in Colorado and Phoenix for workers to acquire new skills to advance their careers. This is important because while half of the workers in these two states have at least a high school diploma and some college education, half of the recruiters in these states said it was hard to find people with the right skills. LinkedIn developed Training Finder which is a marketplace matching workers who have a desire to upskill themselves and training programs located in their area. Training Finder provides information on the programs’ employment rate, cost, duration, skills taught, and estimated salary of graduates.  These examples are more relevant than ever, since according to the World Economic Forum, technology will displace five million of today’s jobs by 2020.  Workers must continually upskill themselves to remain relevant in a world where automation is inevitable.
LinkedIn’s direct access to 450 million+ professionals enables it to facilitate knowledge sharing and to pool valuable data in a way no other company can. In November 2016, LinkedIn launched its Salary tool to enable professionals to make more informed career decisions. Any LinkedIn member can access aggregate salary insights by contributing their own salary information anonymously.  With initiatives like this, LinkedIn can eliminate information asymmetry and reduce job market inefficiencies that would otherwise persist.
LinkedIn’s data puts it in a unique position to create value for many constituents beyond the two examples above. Here are some other high potential ideas for the future:
- Advise governments on which countries their talent is migrating to and immigrating from to inform work visa policies.
- Advise educational institutions on what courses to offer based on forecasted employer demand.
- Advise companies on locations to open new overseas offices where they may be able to more easily hire the right talent.
In LinkedIn’s own words, the Economic Graph will allow all forms of capital – intellectual, working, and human – to flow to the areas where it can best be leveraged, giving all LinkedIn members the means to begin, grow, and transform their careers.  At the same time, LinkedIn must continue to shift its business model from a provider of a professional network to a data-driven advisor for members, institutions, governments or any other party that could benefit from the collective wisdom of the Economic Graph.
Word count: 794
 Nicole Fallon Taylor, “Hiring in the Digital Age, What’s Next for Recruiting?”, Business News Daily, January 11, 2016, www.businessnewsdaily.com/6975-future-of-recruiting.html, accessed November 2016.
 Virginia Backaitis, “What LinkedIn’s Economic Graph Brings to Microsoft, You and the World,” CMS Wire, September 26, 2016,
http://www.cmswire.com/digital-workplace/what-linkedins-economic-graph-brings-to-microsoft-you-and-the-world/, accessed November 2016.
 Allen Blue, “How LinkedIn is Helping Create Economic Opportunity in Colorado and Phoenix,” LinkedIn Official Blog, March 17, 2016,
https://blog.linkedin.com/2016/03/17/how-linkedin-is-helping-create-economic-opportunity-in-colorado-and-phoenix, accessed November 2016.
 Oliver Cann, “Five Million Jobs by 2020: the Real Challenge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” World Economic Forum, January 18, 2016,
https://www.weforum.org/press/2016/01/five-million-jobs-by-2020-the-real-challenge-of-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/, accessed November 2016.
 Ryan Sandler, “Introducing “LinkedIn Salary”: Unlock Your Earning Potential,” LinkedIn Official Blog, November 2, 2016, https://blog.linkedin.com/2016/11/02/introducing-linkedin-salary-unlock-your-earning-potential, accessed November 2016.
 “Economic Graph Challenge Frequently Asked Questions,” on LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge website, economicgraphchallenge.linkedin.com/faq/, accessed November 2016.