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Understanding Labour Markets In The Job Search Process

Labour Market Statistical Analysis, once the domain of Human Resource departments and recruitment organisations for the purpose of identifying, exploring and capturing talent, to structure remuneration (pay) and benefit frameworks to obtain and retain talent; to identify current and emerging labour market trends to navigate an organisation forward in an ever-changing workforce. Labour Market knowledge and the application of same was and still is an imperative functionality of the recruitment, selection and talent management process.

Why It’s Important For You To Understand

Thus, it is imperative that individuals particularly job seekers understand the fundamentals of labour markets in order to effectively identify and capture opportunities and negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment.

Whilst many may be aware of the current national unemployment rate, 5.4% (June 2018), and that currently more jobs are been created thus consistently decreasing the unemployment rate over a period of time. That is usually where the average individuals’ knowledge stops with respect to labour market knowledge.

Available Labour Market Information

Did you know that it is possible for the average individual to source and review a wealth of labour market statistics at the click of a mouse for example it is easy for you to:-

  • Determine the most common industries and occupations in a suburb, region or state in Australia
  • Compare and contrast Australian and State Labour Market statistics on a wide range of topics
  • Identify the minimum qualifications and average weekly remuneration (pay) scales for occupations in a particular suburb, region, state or territory
  • Pinpoint skills shortages in Australia

and so much more; dependent on the information available at the time and the individual site(s) you access to source and analyse your labour market information.

Why Is Labour Market Analysis So Important?

Simply put the process will provide you with a solid baseline to identify, compare opportunities based on facts not wishful thinking, conjecture or biased influence.

In addition to the above, an effective labour market analysis will also help you determine a wide range of career, education and employment factors including (but not limited to):

  • Am I in the right suburb, region or state to maximise employment opportunities in my preferred or desired industry(ies); if not should I relocate to another area or consider other in-demand careers within my current area
  • What is the areas employment mix compared to other areas; explaining why there maybe fewer permanent roles but more part-time opportunities available or vice a versa
  • Is now the right time to move, stay put, invest in education or expand my career horizons?
  • The industry remuneration (pay) norm for individuals with your experience and qualifications
  • Determining if you are you over reaching or underselling your self in terms of remuneration (pay) based on your qualifications, skills and experiences
  • How you are travelling in your career compared to your contemporaries
  • In your preferred industry is the position you are applying for considered a Key or Secondary (Support) role.
  • Where are the skills shortages – demand areas in your area of the country; and whether you perceive it to be beneficial to upgrade your training or to start again – retrain.

Not to mention that by understanding the labour market statistics for your individual situation and area that you will be in a stronger position to negotiate your remuneration (pay) structure, terms and conditions of employment.

Practical Application of Labour Market Information In The Job Search Process

Let’s start with looking at the top 4 industry sectors in Australia, using Blu Ripples National, State and Territories Comparative Analysis.

The four top industry sectors are: —

  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Retail
  • Construction; and
  • Education and Training

Except for the Northern Territory and ACT, Health Care and Social Assistance is the most common industry across Australia to gain employment currently.  Thus, showing us a high growth and needs area across the majority of Australia; with South Australia having the highest percentage of workers in this sector.

Now, that is great if you live and work in South Australia and want to work in that industry but let’s say you work in NSW where would the opportunities be in this state.  Let’s look at Blu Ripples Labour Market Analysis Comparing and Contrasting 5 NSW Regions data and you will note the key opportunities for this sector are not in Sydney but in fact are in Newcastle and Wollongong.

Thus, if you lived in NSW and were searching for a job in this sector would you consider moving out of Sydney or another location if the opportunities were in Newcastle or Wollongong; or if you are not willing to move out of your preferred location but are failing to get interviews would you be willing to travel or possibly use your skills, experience and education in a secondary industry or occupation (a complementary field).  If so, this is where key transferable skills would come into play.  Thus, it is essential that you know how to market yourself effectively across multiple industries – occupations utilising these key skills, experiences and qualifications.

OK, lets go back to the 5 NSW Region analysis data for a moment and look at the predominant qualifications for individuals working in Wollongong and Newcastle.  Based on the statistics shown most individuals in these areas do not have any qualifications (post-secondary); however, the second most common qualification in Newcastle is a Bachelor’s Degree whereas Wollongong it is a Vocational qualification.

What Does It All Mean?

Now, what do you perceive this data is telling you?  Perhaps it is saying that the opportunities for degree qualified professionals are higher in Newcastle, or maybe that there would be an expectation by employers and recruiters that individuals living in this area would have a bachelor’s degree or higher.  All we know is what the data states; however if it is true that there is an expectation that individuals in Newcastle will have a Bachelor or higher level qualification to enter the Health Care and Social Assistance field then this will become the minimum requirement and the number of jobs that are advertised will likely have a higher number of applicants with same/similar qualifications whereas in another area, such as Wollongong, where the next most common level of qualification is a vocational qualification you may have less competition for the same degree qualified job – given the statistics.

Now it is important to remember that the above is just a hypothesis based on statistical data available at the time of preparing this article.  However, by been able to access and review labour market statistics you can start to form a big picture to determine where relevant employment opportunities are for someone with your interests, qualifications, skills, knowledge and experience; how much you are likely to get paid compared to a contemporary (peer) of equal standing, who your competition is and how you can differentiate yourself in terms of your unique selling point.

Once you have the big picture you can then start to work out the small steps, assess opportunities online within your preferred criterion, write compelling online profiles and or employment documentation including Resumes – CV’s, Capability Frame Works, Selection Criteria and/or Cover Letters to capture the recruiter or employers attention; effectively ask questions at an interview, negotiate terms and conditions of your employment with your prospective employer.

In closing, it is highly important for you to understand, interpret and apply labour market statistics knowledge as the adage states, knowledge is power and so make sure you research, analyse and use labour market knowledge to empower yourself through the job search process.

Blu Ripples offers Labour Market Analysis service both as a 1 on 1 stand alone report service and also as a function of our Career Development Report Process. 

Should you have any queries regarding Labour Market Analysis Report and the Job Search process please do not hesitate to contact Katherine.

Katherine Foster Blu Ripples Founder Professional Member CDAA Member of ACA and Published Author
Katherine Foster - Blu Ripples Founder; Professional Member CDAA, Member of ACA and Published Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (2018 Version)

Katherine is the Founder of Blu Ripples a specialist Career Counselling and Consulting practice located in Port Stephens NSW. Katherine is a nationally registered Career Development Specialist and Counsellor; is a Professional Member of the Career Development Association of Australia, Member of the Australian Counselling Association. Former CDAA NSW Committee Member; Graduate of RMIT and AIPC.

Katherine has worked in private practice since 2003 and prior to that worked in the corporate sector for a period of 12 years predominantly in Human Resources and Administration.

© 2018 - Katherine Foster T/as Blu Ripples 
Updated Version: 18 Feb 2024; Original Posted 1 Oct 2018
Katherine's Photograph: 2023

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