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Monday, September 16, 2019
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Tips & Training

How to use labour market information to inform clients’ career decisions

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Labour market information (LMI) is any information related to employment and the workforce. Whether it’s demographic statistics, industry trends, wage data or any of the wealth of employment information that is available, this information can help inform career decisions. Using LMI when working with clients or students can be very useful in establishing a base for which occupations will fit their goals for stability, income, location and skill level.

Key ways to use LMI:
Industry trends

Knowing what is happening in different industries can help clients make more informed career decisions. Being aware of new long-term projects that need hundreds of workers, policy changes that hinder success of an industry locally or skills shortages in a field that a jobseeker is interested in can give them a new perspective on what their career could look like. For instance, a skills shortage may be beneficial to a jobseeker who has skills that are greatly in demand.

It is also important to know about the types of jobs that exist in different industries. For example, your client may have developed a skill set in technology, but also have an interest in agriculture. Researching the types of jobs that are available in local industries will help jobseekers discover if there is a career that combines their different areas of interest.

Wages

When thinking about a future career, we tend to also think about the kind of lifestyle that career will provide us. Wages can be an important part of a person’s lifestyle. To make sure that clients’ expectations of a job are realistic, it is important for them to know what people in that job are making locally. Looking at the median wage and 10th, 25th, 75th and 90th percentile for wages, using the sources discussed below, will let jobseekers know how much they are likely to make when they first enter the field as well as after they have accumulated experience.

Career paths

Once your client has narrowed down their future career possibilities, they may be unsure of how to get there. Looking at the potential career pathway of that job can be beneficial in showing them multiple positions that could be starting points for their career goal. For example, they may have an interest in becoming an industry consultant for the manufacturing industry. Through mapping this career out, they may realize that a marketing background would be a beneficial part of this career path.

WEexplore, a career mapping tool from Workforce WindsorEssex, provides pathway information as well as job descriptions, required skill sets, and associated wages for the Windsor-Essex area. Check for similar tools in your local area.

Sources of LMI
Workforce planning boards and economic development organizations

In Ontario, there are 26 local workforce planning boards that are responsible for collecting and disseminating local LMI for their community. In other provinces, this work is often conducted by local economic development organizations, employment support services or educational institutions. By connecting with these organizations, you will have access to a wider offering of information that is specific to the community in which your client would like to work. These organizations will be the most familiar with unique workforce opportunities and local issues, and will be able to direct you or your client in the right direction when debating future career and education decisions.

Online government sources

Statistics Canada and Job Bank are great sources of LMI for local communities, provinces and the country overall. Statistics Canada provides a wide variety of data of many different topics, including labour, healthcare, immigration and migration trends, and income. Job Bank provides an overview of all occupations, including job descriptions, related skill sets and associated wage ranges. This information can be found for all local communities as well, which allows users to compare wage and employment stability for different regions. Job Bank also includes job postings for available positions, allowing users to research various occupations before applying for different jobs.

Case example: Using labour market information to make career decisions

Kevin is struggling to decide if he should be a lab technician or a machinist. When making this decision, he compares both jobs’ median wages, whether the job is in-demand, and the schooling required for each. After viewing local wage information, he learns that a lab technician makes a median wage of $32.46/hr and CNC machinists make a median wage of $23.21/hr. After speaking with his local workforce planning board, he learns that CNC machinists are in-demand in his city but lab technicians are not. Kevin reviews occupational profiles of the two jobs on Job Bank and is most intrigued by the CNC machinist job description. This job uses many of the skill sets that he is hoping his future career will require. He also learns about the schooling that is offered locally for each of the jobs and finds that he can complete an apprenticeship and in-class requirements locally to become a CNC machinist but he would have to move away for school to become a lab technician. While lab technicians have higher wages locally, Kevin feels he is likely to secure long-term employment as a CNC machinist by completing his apprenticeship. He is excited to start his career and registers as an Ontario Youth Apprentice with his school.

Conclusion

Using LMI to support your client’s or student’s career exploration and job search will ensure that they have all the information needed to make an informed and successful education and career decision for their future. Incorporating LMI into career exploration improves their chances of career satisfaction and long-term career success by widening their possibilities.


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Tashlyn Teskey is the Acting Manager of Projects & Research at Workforce WindsorEssex, the local workforce planning board in Windsor-Essex. She is responsible for overseeing the Local Employment Planning Council projects, while gathering data on the local labour market and educating the community on labour market trends and career pathways. She has a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Windsor and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. During her master’s degree, her research focused on the Canadian Apprenticeship System and its potential for adopting the German model. While at Workforce WindsorEssex, her research has continued to focus on Ontario’s apprenticeship system and how Windsor-Essex can improve recruitment and completion rates of local apprentices. Her research projects focus on educational paths that students can take following secondary school and the importance of skilled trades and apprenticeship in the Canadian economy.
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Tashlyn Teskey is the Acting Manager of Projects & Research at Workforce WindsorEssex, the local workforce planning board in Windsor-Essex. She is responsible for overseeing the Local Employment Planning Council projects, while gathering data on the local labour market and educating the community on labour market trends and career pathways. She has a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Windsor and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. During her master’s degree, her research focused on the Canadian Apprenticeship System and its potential for adopting the German model. While at Workforce WindsorEssex, her research has continued to focus on Ontario’s apprenticeship system and how Windsor-Essex can improve recruitment and completion rates of local apprentices. Her research projects focus on educational paths that students can take following secondary school and the importance of skilled trades and apprenticeship in the Canadian economy.
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