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Making job adverts more open

Posted by: and , Posted on: - Categories: Open standards

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In GDS, and in particular in the Open Standards Board, we have been doing a lot of thinking about jobs: how they’re posted and how people find jobs they might want to apply for in the digital age. This has been prompted by the work and thinking of the Department for Work and Pensions in this space.

All this thinking about jobs has started a process that we hope will have a positive outcome for jobseekers. We would also like to show how we persuaded a standard developing organisation to be more open.

Better metadata: better connections

One way job seekers can be matched with job postings more effectively is through the use of metadata. When structured metadata is added to online job postings, search engines can better find those postings and display structured results to end users more efficiently. This can mean the difference when connecting people with a job that matches their skills.

Ensuring that this metadata is understood by as many search engines as possible, and ensuring that its use is not conditional on any prearranged commercial terms or licensing, helps get jobs listings to more people more effectively.

The job posting schema

Earlier this year, the Open Standards Board took up the challenge to find a well-used metadata schema for publishing vacancies online. It was chosen by the Board as an important challenge to meet as making job advertisements better brings economic benefit. Online Job searches will result in finding more relevant positions.

The Job Posting schema from was proposed as an open standard that best met the user needs of the challenge. But we were concerned that as an organisation was not as open as we would like it to be from the perspective of the Open Standards Principles which guide our work. The Open Standards Board sent a letter to asking for clarification on its process. Earlier this month we received a reply which goes a long way towards addressing the our concerns.

The Open Standards Board has taken note of’s publication of their process, including how the work of the W3C Community Group fits with the work of the steering group. This documentation of’s process goes a long way towards satisfying the objectives of the Open Standards Principles and our definition of what makes a standard open: collaborative, consensus-based process, documented process, fair access, market support and royalty-free licensing terms.

As a result the Board has decided that it is now possible to adopt the schema as an open standard for government.

We would still like to see move more towards the ideal documented in the open standard principles, but we see this as an important first step.

Selecting and mandating this standard is the start of a new process.We are looking for people involved in posting job vacancies to come together to help form best practice guidance for Job Posting. If you are interested in taking part please leave a comment.

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  1. Comment by Richard Marsh posted on

    HI Liam and Dan, thanks for the update. As the product manager for Civil Service Jobs we looked at the job listing schema from and thought it was an interesting direction so please do involve us in further discussions.

  2. Comment by Francis Irving posted on

    This is fantastic! Particularly impressed Government is improving the process.

    What are the first practical consequences - e.g. Government jobs all listed using the standard?

    How to get large scale commercial adoption is the real question... This seems a good step towards that.

    • Replies to Francis Irving>

      Comment by Dan Applequist posted on

      Thanks, Francis. We're getting in contact with the relevant departments to get started on exploring implementation options. Watch this space for further info.

  3. Comment by M posted on

    Where can developers find the specification for access to the open jobs data?

  4. Comment by Malcolm Stirling posted on

    My particular interest in this initiative is Labour Market Information. There was an attempt to Kitemark job postings some years ago but the recruitment industry was not inclined to adopt the standard. Other organisations exploit the variety of formats and provide custom APIs allowing companies to make multiple site updates from a single posting. The other challenge will be populating fields in a consistent way so that like can be compared with like.
    I would be pleased to contribute to this initiative.

  5. Comment by Gail Ramsden posted on

    Hi Dan. This is good news. I hope that you are including some of the smaller bodies and Agencies in your exploration. Having laboured, often painfully and unsuccessfully, to recruit to digital and technology positions over the last three years I would really welcome anything that improves job seekers ability to find our digital and IT jobs.