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For the UK: Using Labour Market Data and Skills Info for Re-employment

December 3, 2009 by Joshua Wright

Below we have put together a little example to show how you can use labour market data and skills information to find new employment opportunities for unemployed workers.

First, using Economic Forecaster we found areas where substantial job loss has occurred over the past year. Our search revealed that across the UK storage occupations, Personal assistants, Receptionists, Electricians, Metal workers, Woodworkers, and Packers have experienced huge cuts over the past year.

For this scenario, let’s focus more closely on Electricians (highlighted in blue). Electricians lost 6,600 jobs last year or 4% of its total workforce. This is significant and it means that there are many people with this skill set who are likely looking for new employment.

So how can we help them?

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Well, using our Career Pathways tool we can search to find occupations that are “compatible” based on knowledge and skills similarities. We filtered our list to include jobs that have shown at least some form of growth and have wages that would be close to what Electricians normally make.

Our search has revealed the following occupations, all of which have a compatibility of 80 or above (based on a scale of 0-100). Building inspectors is an interesting possibility — mostly due to the fact that the earnings are so much better.

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So now let’s take a closer look at what it would take to move an Electrician to a Building inspector. First, using Career Pathways we can generate a chart that shows a comparison between the “knowledge” (i.e., the sorts of things you learn via training or education) of an Electrician to the knowledge of a Building inspector.

In this example it looks like an Electrician will need to improve his knowledge of Building & Construction, Customer & Personal Service, Engineering & Technology, Public Safety & Security, and Law & Government to really be a qualified inspector.

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Now let’s look at the skills side. For the skills, which represent qualities that are inherent in certain jobs, there is not such a wide disparity. Basic mathematics seems to be the only gap that needs addressing.

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With this information we have a solid foundation and justification for understanding what it takes to transition from an Electrician to Building inspector. This sort of data could be used to help inform program development and can be used to talk to local employers to better understand the skills needs of Building inspectors.

Finally, with this data, colleges can go out into the local community and get more than anecdotal information from unemployed individuals and businesses to better assess their interests, hiring outlooks, skills needs, and overall opinions of these datasets.

Once this is done, the college will have a strong, data-driven understanding of how to help someone from a specific occupational sector find meaningful re-employment. In addition, this sort of approach could really benefit local employers too — because it will help training providers develop more specific programs to meet their actual needs.

For more information on how EMSI can help UK organizations with data and skills info, please contact Mike Church or call 001.208.892.5573.

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