Understanding the job market

Understanding the job market 

  • We all face some pretty big decisions in our lives. At some point you may have had to decide which school or college to attend, what courses to take, what career you want to pursue, or perhaps where you might want to set up a new business.
  • Whether you are planning your career, returning to work, writing a business plan, looking for a job, wanting or perhaps giving advice, you will be in a far better position if you have the most up-to-date information.


Why should I understand the job market?

  • Understanding the job market can help you make the best decision when you want to return to work, to change jobs or move to a new place. It can help you find out what the labour market is like for that job or that city. For example, if you are a machinist and you move to a town with no factories, you will have a hard time finding a job. Looking at job market information before you move can help you make a good decision.
  • Understanding of the job market is based on up to date Job Market Information. This is often called Labour Market Intelligence. At its simplest Job Market Information is information about jobs and the people who do those jobs. It can tell us what has happened to the job market in the past, what is happening now, and what is likely to happen in the years ahead.
  • Understanding the job market is important if you want to return to work. The more you understand it, the better equipped you will be to make decisions.


How can it help me return to work or make a career change?

Understanding the job market can help you see:

  • Where the jobs are now;
  • Where the jobs are likely going to be in the future;
  • What skills are in demand
  • the salary or wages paid as a new employee And after five years
  • entry routes into a job
  • the relative value of particular qualifications, experience or training by considering which course should I take,  where should I do that course, and will my experience count?

This information can be a powerful tool. Understanding the local job market can give you a snapshot of your job sector, your area, employers in your area, your colleagues, your education, and your income prospects. You can use this information to make choices, to make changes, and to work towards the future you want.

Where can I find reliable information about the job market?

  • Information about the job market can be found almost everywhere. In addition to formal job market information, which you will find here, in official labour market and in other career-related web sites, there is also a wealth of informal information that can be every bit as important.
  • Television  reports about which industries are expanding or downsizing and which companies are hiring or laying-off are good sources of information.
  • An article on new companies manufacturing, say, low carbon energy products may provide clues to which occupations and industries are likely to be growing and which ones may be in decline.
  • Bear in mind however, that one newspaper story, or a couple of television reports, does not necessarily indicate a trend, so it is important to check out more sources to get the full picture.

Top Tips

  • Keep up to date
    The job market can change often. Join mailing lists, scan monthly labour market reports and  follow news events to keep up-to-date.
  • Don’t rely on hearsay
    Job market Information tries to reflect the whole picture. Anecdotal information may itself be true, but should not be relied upon to draw a general conclusion. Proper research will pay off in the long run.

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