Labour Market Information

Labour Market

What is labour market information?

In a nutshell, labour market information tells you about the local or national demand there is for different skills and from different industries. Labour market information tells you:

  • Which jobs are likely to be easiest or hardest to find in your area
  • Which are the big employers in different areas and which ones have jobs on offer
  • What skills employers are looking for and which are in short supply
  • How much you can expect to be paid in specific jobs
  • What working conditions are like
  • What qualifications will be most helpful if you want a certain career
  • What the jobs of the future might look like and which jobs might disappear

 All of these factors can help you make a more informed decision about what career path to take. For example, if you're considering a career in the fashion industry, research into the labour market might tell you that most jobs in fashion are based in London. Depending on where you live, and whether you’re willing to move, that might mean you need to adjust your career plans.


What's the difference between the national and local labour market?

National labour market information tells you about jobs and industries in the UK as a whole, whereas local labour market information focuses on one particular area, e.g. Manchester. When researching the labour market for specific careers, both local and national information can be helpful.

However, some parts of the UK are better known for certain types of jobs than others. If you’re dead set on a certain career then researching local labour markets can help you find out whether you’re likely to have more success in certain locations. Generally speaking, there tend to be more employment opportunities in cities, so you might find that your preferred career will require you to move to another place.


Why do I need job market information?

When pursuing a career, it's important to have realistic expectations of how much you'll be paid, where you'll be based and how competitive it is to find a job in that industry.

Looking at labour market information while you’re still at school can help you narrow down your career options. For example, you might rule out a job because you realise there aren’t many opportunities in your local area, or because you don’t want to work the hours it requires. Alternatively, you might decide to reconsider a career in science, technology or engineering when you find out that STEM graduates can earn 25% more than graduates from other subjects!

In the next five to ten years the job market will change – there will be many more jobs in some industries than others. Labour market information can help you to make sure you have the right skills for the jobs of the future.

Researching the labour market can also help you make decisions if you want to change jobs or move to a new location.

If you know you don’t want to move very far to get a job, you’ll need to make sure you consider local labour market information when you choose your qualifications, so that you are getting the skills that employers want in your local area.

Looking at national labour market information will give you a good overall picture of the opportunities open to you in each career area.


How to find labour market information

Finding labour market information can be tricky if you don't know where to look. We recommend the following website for finding job market information:


Ways of working

The world of work has changed dramatically in recent years and continues to do so. As well as a range of different jobs and careers there are now many different ways of working. Examples include:

  • Flexi-time: working a set number of hours with variable start and finish times within an agreed range (e.g. 37.5 hours per week, starting between 08.00-10.00 and finishing between 16.00-18.00)
  • Remote working: developments in digital technology mean many people work away from their employer’s location, often from home
  • Temporary/ fixed-term contracts: employers may take on more people in certain sectors (e.g. agriculture, tourism and retail) at busier times
  • Zero or low hours contracts: these involve a great deal of flexibility; workers on zero-hours contracts don’t necessarily know how many hours they will work in a given week
  • Freelance and consultancy work: specialists are brought into a business only when needed
  • Shift work: people who work in hospitals, hotels, call centres, factories, etc. often work shifts to enable out-of-hours or 24-hour services and production
  • Part-time work: some people choose to only work part of a week, for example if they're also studying, but some jobs aren't available as full-time posts; others combine different part-time roles (see also portfolio careers below)
  • Portfolio careers: some people have more than one interest or set of skills - rather than having one full-time job, they do several different part-time jobs at the same time, which might include freelancing
  • Self-employment: nearly two-thirds of young people like the idea of running their own business; areas of work include construction, hair and beauty, finance, computing and catering