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Gain and Drain Methodology
Gain and Drain Methodology
Updated over a week ago


Gain and Drain are the terms that Lightcast uses to describe the directional flow of job transitions found in online profiles and can be viewed by company, occupation, and industry. When the research focus is on a particular company, occupation, or industry, the Gain and Drain helps infer where people are coming from (Gain) and moving to (Drain).


Every role in each profile in our dataset is tagged with a given job title, occupation, industry, company name, and more. In Profile Analytics, reports are based on the information found in the most recent job in the profile, providing a snapshot into the talent available in a given market. In Gain and Drain, reports are based on the transitional information from the previous jobs in the profile. This unique dataset gives us the ability to view job transitions through the lens of each of the profile tags.

Note: in order to maintain reliable sample sizes, the data is only presented at a national level over the course of past 5 years and through the lenses of company, occupation, and industry.

By Company

Let's say that we wanted to focus our attention on a single company like Apple. By analyzing the profiles that have Apple listed in their job experience, we can see that over the past 5 years Apple has gained talent from companies like Intel, Amazon, and Google, and it has also been drained of talent from companies like Google, Meta, and Amazon.

But Apple employees workers in several different type of occupations, like Software Developers, Mechanical Engineers, Marketing Managers, and Customer Service Representatives. Let's say that we were only interested in the Sales Managers at Apple. If we narrow our search, we see that the Sales Managers at Apple are generally coming from Cisco, Microsoft, and Samsung and they are generally leaving for Google, Amazon, and Tesla.

The Gain and Drain by Company is available in the Company Talent Profile report.

By Occupation

If we wanted to narrow our research on Sales Managers and see what people's general career pathway has looked like for this occupation over the past 5 years, we would notice that the Marketing Managers occupation and the General and Operations Managers occupation are the top two on the Gain and Drain list. This signals that the skills people need for sales management are the same skills needed in marketing and operations management.

The Gain and Drain by Occupation is available in the Occupation Snapshot report.

By Industry

When changing jobs, people typically remain within the same broad industry. However, if we were interested in seeing the movement of the workforce within subindustries, let's say within the broad industry of Retail Trade, we could see from the Gain and Drain that there has been a significant trend over the past 5 years. About 150M people have transitioned out of the Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses industry and about 160M people have transitioned into the Department Stores industry.

The Gain and Drain by Industry is available in the Industry Snapshot report.

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