Taming Labour Market Information (LMI) in the “Jobs” legacy

By 3 September 2015 No Comments

Steve Jobs once said, “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people are not used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Indeed, nothing short of excellence will guarantee robust and reliable LMI in these digitally driven and hyper-connected times.

An essential element for any modern economy that aims to rapidly respond to the skills and talent needs of employers is LMI that is accurate, localized, and timely. This enables effective talent- and career-related decision-making, thus balancing the supply- and demand-side dynamics of the labour market both near- and long-term. LMI that provides granular information – including employment levels, unemployment rates, required skills and qualifications, real-time job vacancies, demographics, and salaries, among others – at the occupational as well as municipal level assists:

  • Job seekers make short and long-term career planning
  • Educational and training institutions plan, evaluate, and implement programs, curricula, and provide accurate career guidance
  • Employers make effective recruitment, retention, skills development, advancement, and compensation strategies
  • Policymakers design enabling labour market strategies and programs

The list of users also extends to public employment offices, private employment agencies, economic development planners, and many others. The cost of less than accurate labour market information and forecasts can be significant for an economy, in Canada for example the impact of an average unfilled ICT vacancy due to skills mismatch can cost the economy around $200,000 per year, multiply that by several thousand vacancies across the country and the cumulative impact can be significant.

While labour market forecasting can also be done using only historic trends, the underpinning of excellent and precise LMI and forecasts for the digital economy is that it factors in forward looking technological innovations, national and international economic trends, large-scale representative employer survey, vacancy rates and trends, as well as the current industry pulse from established focus groups of industry, educational, and community leaders from across the country. This was certainly the case with ICTC’s recent Labour Market Outlook and Digital Economy Supply reports. The interpretive dimension of all the gathered data and analysis is now portrayed on our interactive online portal, successfully providing unfettered access and easily digestible information for thousands of users every day.

So what’s on the horizon? We have recently partnered with Microsoft Canada to elaborate a national digital talent strategy that is planned for release around the end of January 2016. The report will contextualize Canada’s digital landscape and labour market needs by 2020, and propose policies and programs to position Canada’s digital talent as a comparative advantage in the global economy. This initiative will leverage ICTC’s extensive LMI research and forecasts, programs, and consultations with leaders from industry, education, and policy makers across Canada. Thanks to all those who have expressed interest so far in participating in this strategy, and stay tuned for updates on this important initiative.