In this previous post, we described how we can use the Revealed Comparative Advantage (RCA) method, as borrowed from international economics, to gain quick and important insights into key skills and work content for individual, or groups of, occupations.

Another important tool for us is to use RCAs in calculations of skill complementarity.  Skill (or, more correctly in O*NET terms, skill, ability, knowledge etc. – i.e. element) complementarity is the conditional probability of a pair of skills being effectively used[1] by the same occupation.

Let us take a simple example: we noted recently a paper[2] written by The Brookings Institution in the US in which two O*NET elements – knowledge of Computers and Electronics, and the work activity Interacting with Computers – were used to examine the degree of digitalisation of occupations.  Our chart shows that these two elements do indeed have a high level of complementarity (84% conditional probability of them occurring together as effective elements within the same occupation).


At BMI, we use RCA and complementarity calculations as important analysis tools in the kind of work we are describing in in this series of blog posts on Insights through O*NET.


[1] We define effective use of a skills as one which has RCA > 1 in an occupation.