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Article: The Job Market

Summary

This article explains what the job market is and how it can affect you, including at times of recession.

The job market

The 'job market' means the amount and type of jobs that are available. That changes, depending on how well the economy is doing. For example, when the economy goes into recession, more people become unemployed. This means there's more competition for the jobs that are still available.

To save money, governments might decide to cut public sector funding. This can lead to job losses. Some public sector organisations will also stop taking on any new staff.

Generally, things like population growth and technology affect the job market. For example, people might work until they are older, leading to more competition for some jobs. The impact of new technology means that some jobs disappear and new ones come along that hadn't existed before.

Demand for skills

For some areas of work, there are many more skilled and qualified people than there are vacancies for them. That means tough competition for jobs.

On the other hand, there can be a 'skills shortage' in other areas. For example, new technologies can appear very quickly, so it takes time for the education system to catch up and produce people with the skills and knowledge employers need.

This also happens when fewer people are attracted to a particular industry, maybe because of poor pay and conditions, so they choose not to train in skills relevant to that area. Employers then have to try harder to attract people with the skills they need.

What does this mean for me?

Applying for jobs is often hard; you need to be aware that things could be tougher at times of recession or public sector spending cuts.

You need to know about the levels of demand and competition for the jobs you're interested in. This could affect your decisions about studying a particular subject or training in a new skill.

CASCAID products like Kudos, Kudos AD and Careerscape include facts about things such as:

  • numbers of people working in different jobs
  • where people work
  • how much people earn
  • how easy/difficult it is to enter an occupation
  • vacancies that employers find hard to fill

Facts like this are known as 'labour market information (LMI)'. This can help you make important career decisions. For example, would you be prepared to move around the country if the job you wanted wasn't available locally? Would you think about a career change if opportunities were growing in another area of work?

When there's tougher competition, it becomes even more important to show employers that you have the right personal qualities and skills to do the job. That means working on your transferable skills - such as communication skills, teamwork, time management and problem solving.

You might need to get some voluntary work experience or do some training to develop new skills. You could also get some help with your CV, covering letters and application forms from advisers at Jobcentre Plus, to make sure your applications really stand out.

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