Skill frameworks: definition and use

by Danique Geskus | Apr 25, 2024

It is crucial to continually develop and adapt your skills. Whether you are a professional looking for career growth, an employer looking to attract and retain the best talent, or an educational institution looking to prepare students for tomorrow’s challenges, understanding and effectively applying skill frameworks is essential. Let’s take a closer look at what skill frameworks are, why they are important and how they can be used to empower individuals and organizations.

What are skill frameworks?

Skill frameworks are structured and systematic approaches to identifying, organizing and evaluating skills needed for success in various occupations, sectors and disciplines. These frameworks can range from general, overarching models to specific, subject-specific schemes.

A well-designed skill framework typically includes:

  • Core Skills: Fundamental skills that are essential to almost any profession or industry, such as communication, problem solving and collaboration.
  • Professional skills: Specific knowledge and expertise required for a particular field or profession, such as programming languages for software developers or medical procedures for physicians.
  • Soft skills: Also known as transferable skills, these include such things as leadership, critical thinking and creativity, which are relevant to various jobs and situations.
  • Industry-specific skills: Skills specific to certain industries or professions, such as financial analysis for bankers or negotiation skills for real estate agents.

By defining and organizing skills in a structured way, skill frameworks can help individuals identify their strengths and weaknesses, employers match talent to job requirements, and educational institutions develop curricula relevant to the labor market.

Why are skill frameworks important?

Career growth and development:

For individuals, skill frameworks can serve as roadmaps for professional development. By understanding what skills are needed for their desired career path, they can make targeted efforts to acquire and strengthen those skills.

Talent management and recruitment:

Employers can use skill frameworks to set clear expectations for candidates and to more effectively recruit, evaluate and develop talent. It allows them to put the right person in the right position.

Education and training:

Skill frameworks are valuable tools for educational institutions to design curricula relevant to the labor market. By teaching students the skills employers are looking for, educational institutions can better prepare their graduates for successful careers.

Standardization and comparability:

By providing a common language for discussing and evaluating skills, skill frameworks can help organizations assess talent in a consistent and comparable way regardless of industry or location.

What can skill frameworks be used for?

Personal Development:

Individuals can use skill frameworks as self-assessment tools to identify their strengths and weaknesses, set developmental goals and plan targeted learning activities.

Learned UI showing how a Marketing manager was assessed by three people on different skills

Evaluations within Learned are conducted based on the employee job profile, which identifies critical performance indicators (KPIs) and expected behaviors for relevant skills and competencies. Would you also like to get started on this? Try Learned now for 14 days for free.

Recruitment and selection process:

Employers can integrate skill frameworks into their recruitment and selection processes by defining clear skill requirements for open positions and evaluating candidates based on these criteria.

Training and development:
Organizations can use skill frameworks to guide the design of training programs tailored to the needs of their employees and aimed at strengthening relevant skills.

Career Pathway Planning:

By integrating skill frameworks into career planning, organizations can help employees identify growth opportunities within the organization and plan steps to achieve their career goals.


What is the difference between skill frameworks and competency matrix?

Skill frameworks focus specifically on skills needed for success in a particular occupation or industry, while a competency matrix covers a broader range of characteristics, including knowledge, attitude and behavior.

Are skill frameworks static or can they evolve?

Skill frameworks can certainly evolve to keep pace with changes in industry, technology and society. It is important that they are regularly reviewed and updated to remain relevant.

Are there standard skill frameworks available or do organizations need to develop their own?

Both general and industry-specific skill frameworks are available, but many organizations choose to develop their own frameworks tailored to their specific needs and context.

How can individuals evaluate their skills using skill frameworks?

Individuals can evaluate their skills by conducting a self-assessment comparing the skills in the framework with their own experience and competencies. External evaluation.

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