LinkedIn’s 2017
Workforce Report

Background

Mining your data for valuable insights can be overwhelmingly challenging and incredibly rewarding. Case in point: LinkedIn’s ongoing 2017 Workforce Report. With 138 million members in the United States, 3 million monthly U.S. job postings, 20,000 companies, and 50,000 skills that workers can add to their profiles, LinkedIn has especially unique insight into the state of the U.S. workforce.

With such a wealth of data, LinkedIn wanted to share actionable insights with its members. Each month, LinkedIn compiles their own data on trends across the country and 20 of the largest U.S. cities, reporting on interesting and influential workforce metrics. From hiring trends and migration between cities to relative scarcity and abundance of skills in various job markets, this data represents a robust and timely view of the American job market.

But how do you turn all this data into a relevant resource that’s engaging and easy to understand? That’s where we were able to help them discover and tell their story.

  • 138 million members in the United States
  • 3 million monthly job postings
  • 20,000 companies
  • 50,000 skills

The Ask

LinkedIn came to us with a formidable request: to contribute data visualizations to the report. They needed 100+ beautifully designed graphics and data visualizations every month (181 in April alone), delivered within 24 hours of data intake. While this initially seemed impossible—even with our entire design team working on it—we knew we could do it if we figured out a way to dynamically automate the graphic creation process from the data.

Challenges

With boatloads of data and not a lot of time, we faced a variety of obstacles, including:

Handling multiple reports for up to 20 U.S. cities, totaling 181 graphics
Meeting 24-hour turnaround time, from data receipt to final graphic delivery
Creating a quality assurance process to correct any errors in the data
Tailoring custom report design to LinkedIn’s brand guidelines
Automating a lot of the report generation to make this all possible
Designing a system that would scale with LinkedIn’s changing (and growing) needs

Our Approach

We didn’t have to look far to tackle these hurdles. In fact, the solution was closer than we realized. Our software company Visage, a web-based design platform that enables users to create on-brand reports, had been working on a new data-mapping feature that addressed the common challenge of report automation.

In partnership with Visage, here’s what we came up with:

Customized, on-brand designs, including text, charts, graphics, and data visualizations

Incorporated custom templates

Automated workflows that populate graphics and reports, all editable by the LinkedIn team

Updated data that refreshes with one click, through an integration with Google Sheets that connects LinkedIn report data directly to Visage

Accurate, on-brand graphics that are immediately ready to publish

Results

In its second month, the report garnered 8,600+ mentions and significant buzz on social media.

Featured in live segments on CNBC (March and April)
Featured in Inc. Life
Tweeted by LinkedIn’s own CEO Jeff Weiner, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and cited in a tweet by President Donald Trump (March report)

We’re Just Getting Started

We believe strongly in LinkedIn’s mission to connect people to opportunity, so we’re always happy to help them reach their audience through compelling visual content. Luckily, LinkedIn has plenty of great ideas for content, thanks to their goldmine of data. Not to mention, they’re great people. So, we’re proud to get to tell these ongoing stories together.

“From the initial design process—where they offered creative visualization ideas and were responsive to our detailed feedback and requirements—to nailing the quick turnaround and rapidly growing scale of the project, Column Five has been a key partner in the creation of the LinkedIn Workforce Report. The team is incredibly solutions-oriented, and has consistently risen to the occasion to support our evolving needs.”

Hannah Brown