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Use Labour Market Information to Boost Your Career

Discover how labour market information (LMI) can help you make good education and career decisions. LMI helps you find trends and opportunities when you are starting a new career, changing jobs, moving to a new place, or improving your skills.

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What is labour market information?

Labour market (job market) information is the data and facts that give a broad view of employment in a region. You can use labour market information to help you make informed decisions about your future. It tells you:

  • What industries are hiring
  • Which regions of the province need workers
  • The skills employers are looking for and the education you need
  • Whether certain jobs are easy or hard to find
  • Forecasts about which jobs will be in demand in the future

The term “labour market information” may be new to you, but you are probably familiar with the concept. If you’ve heard news about who is hiring or downsizing, or talked with friends about the industries they work in, you’ve learned about labour market information.

Factors that affect the labour market

Many factors affect the labour market. Understanding how these factors impact the labour market, can help you predict the types of skills that industries will need and the kinds of work that will be available in the future. Alberta’s labour market is influenced by factors such as:

  • Demographics. These are the traits of a population, such as the average person’s age or highest level of education, the population’s size, and how it is expected to grow.
  • Technological change. This is the process of innovation that can help companies work more efficiently and effectively. It can even lead to new or improved products or services. New technology can also impact employment opportunities in a company or across an industry.
  • Local, provincial, and national economic situations. These things influence the ups and downs of the labour market, including the strength of specific industries and changes in employment rates.
  • Industry or sector activity. This is the change in growth and job outlook in Alberta’s major industries.
  • Labour market trends. These trends describe the combined effects of all the influences in this list.
  • Key occupational needs and requirements. This is about what jobs are in demand and what skills you need to do those jobs.

How can labour market information help your career?

Understanding labour market information can help you make decisions about your career path. For example, it can help you:

  • Choose an occupation. If you’re going to spend time and money preparing for an occupation, you should do some labour market research about it first. In your research you'll learn about jobs that are in demand, long-term employment prospects, a typical day on the job, and the average salary. Explore occupational profiles to learn what you can expect in each occupation.
  • Identify training and education programs. Find out the credentials employers are looking for and the schools that offer the programs you need. Labour market information will help you make a wise choice.
  • Tap into the hidden job market. Labour market information can help you access the 80% of jobs that aren’t advertised. For example, if you learn that a specific industry is expected to grow in the near future, you can begin networking within that industry to find a job through a referral.

Labour market trends can present you with opportunities

Here's a sample of labour market trends that might affect you:

Retirement of baby boomers

Many Albertans born between 1945 and 1966 are retired or close to retiring. But many of these baby boomers have decided to keep working. Employers worry about losing knowledge and experience as the boomers retire. They are looking for ways to keep them.

  • If you are a baby boomer, can you benefit from the demand for your experience?
  • If you are in school or training for a job, will the baby boomers have retired when you enter the workforce?
  • When they retire, demand for services for seniors will probably increase. Can you benefit from this trend?

Globalization

Globalization means that companies can operate all over the world and around the clock. One labour market outcome of globalization is the growth in the development of call centres. Globalization could create new competition in your field. But it could also open up new markets for goods and services.

  • How will globalization influence your field or industry?
  • Do you have experience with other cultures?
  • Do you speak languages other than English?
  • Could your experience give you new work options?

Computer and online skills

Computer skills are a basic job requirement. More and more employers also want workers who can use social networking. And they need workers who know how to use mobile devices like smart phones and tablets.

  • Will your computer and online skills help you find work?
  • Can you improve these skills?
  • Is there a small businesses you can help with online marketing so they can reach more local customers?

Growth trends of specific industries

  • Labour market information can show you which industries may be growing and what the job and wage outlooks are. Is your industry growing quickly or slowly?
  • What does that mean for your career?
  • When planning your career, you might want to consider jobs that are needed in more than one industry? For example, a dietician can work in many different fields, including health care and business. An elementary school teacher is likely to be limited to the educational services sector.

Use labour market trends to keep your career on track

Let’s say you’ve found your dream job. Do you still need to know about labour market trends? The simple answer is yes!

You could learn how your employer is doing compared to the competition. Follow the news about changes in the economy. Keep up to date with workplace trends. All of this will help you continue to make good education and career decisions.

Where can I find labour market information?

Every week, governments, policy institutes, and news media publish labour market information.

One of the most complete sources of labour market information is the Internet. It puts just about everything you’d ever want to know about occupations, employment, and the workplace right at your fingertips.

Here are a few guidelines to help you find the labour market information you need.

Start with alis

Alis is an online gateway to Alberta-specific information about all aspects of career, education, and work search. It’s a great place to start your online search for labour market information.

Start by reading:

Explore further

Here are some other websites, hosted by government departments, industry organizations, and businesses, that offer reliable labour market information:

Use other online resources

Explore other potential sources for labour market information:

Broaden your online search

One website will very often lead you to several more. Here are some tips to find more information:

  • Use keywords related to the labour market information you need.
  • Narrow your search by adding a location or a specific industry to your search terms. For example, you could use “labour market information Drumheller” or “labour market information oil and gas.”
  • Consult the Help menu on the search engine you’re using to learn more about search techniques.

Avoid information overload

There’s so much labour market information online that it can be a bit overwhelming. Before you start, keep these tips in mind to avoid information overload while you’re searching the Internet:

  • Always stick with reliable sources. Read Separating the Best LMI from the Rest to figure out whether or not a source is reliable.
  • When you link from reliable sources to related websites, check to make sure you’re still looking at information that is relevant to your region as well as reliable. Most websites include a profile about the host organization.
  • Limit your search to labour market information related to the geographic areas, such as Alberta or Canada, that you are interested in working and living in.

No one can predict exactly what will happen with the labour market, but LMI can help you make educated decisions to prepare you for whatever the future may hold. 

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