Piloting a new online job-scraping tool

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As part of extending the data available in LMI for All, the team at IER is currently piloting a new web scraping technique to collect UK vacancy data. LMI for All brings together different sources of labour market data, but a complete and reliable vacancy dataset has been difficult to find.  Over the last few months, the LMI for All team has been busy developing a web scraping method to create a constant stream of updated vacancies and to map these to the UK occupational classification system. Web scraping consists of a computerised method to automatically collect information from across the Internet (e.g. job portals).

For the LMI for All pilot, the vacancy information is being scraped daily from three significant job portals in the UK. These job portals are significant because they receive a high number of visits per day and include lots of information about the jobs being advertised.
The pilot data will be released in Autumn this year and further refined over the next few months (we will probably have some gaps to fill and we refine our programming!). The dataset will include current vacancies and links to the advert, as well as some useful variables including occupational classification, location of job at local and regional level, education level required and salary offered. We are also working on identifying the skills in the advert. The aim is for users of LMI for All to be able to ask for vacancies by occupation, location and skills.

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Analysing the trend data
Whilst these data will enable vacancy data to be added to the LMI for All database, extending the service, it also enables the creation of trend data to analyse real-time labour demand in the UK. So, we have been playing around with the data. Professor Chris Warhurst and Dr Jeisson Cárdenas-Rubio from IER did some analysis earlier in the year, see A tale of two job vacancies: waitering and nursing.

Occupational variation in vacancies
New labour market data released by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows a continued rise in unemployment levels. The collapse in job vacancies earlier this year was a strong indicator of the massive unemployment to come and this is now seen in the statistics. However, the aggregate vacancy data masks some significant variations by occupation and analysis of the vacancy data reveals falling and increasing demand for different jobs in the UK labour market.
The data showed some very bad news for some occupations. The obvious example was waitering jobs, as vacancies for these jobs have collapsed during the Covid-19 crisis. There was some good news and other jobs showed a step rise in job vacancies. Not surprisingly given the health crisis, nurses have been in big demand, with a steep rise in the number of job vacancies. More broadly, this vacancy data shows that the shape of the UK workforce is likely to change and the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on jobs will not be even. The stock, or volume, of some jobs will decline, others will increase.
Over the coming months, the LMI for All team at IER will be analysing these data to capture changes and providing key insights into the UK labour market.

Can Big Data fill your data vacuum?

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Traditional data sources do not have the timeliness or the level of detail that many organisations using labour market information (LMI) need. NESTA is funding a project on novel sources of data that can yield reliable LMI in real time and at a level of detail (granularity) that can satisfy even local area organisations such as Skills Advisory Panels, Local Enterprise Partnerships and learning providers.

Derek Bosworth from IER is leading this work and would like to invite you to identify your data needs by filling in a very short questionnaire, which can be found here.

Labour market and skills projections: 2017 to 2027

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The latest ‘Labour market and skills projections: 2017 to 2027′, undertaken by IER’s Professor Rob Wilson and his team, including IER’s Sally-Anne Barnes, Derek Bosworth and David Owen and researchers at Cambridge Econometrics, have just been published by the Department for Education. Working Futures 2017-2027 is the latest in a series of quantitative assessments of the employment prospects in the UK labour market over a 10-year horizon. It presents historical trends and future prospects by sector for the UK and its constituent nations and the English regions.

The study shows that overall the number of jobs in the UK is projected to rise by around 1 million over the next decade with more of these jobs expected to be taken by female workers than male. The unemployment rate is expected to rise slightly and the expansion of the UK’s labour supply is forecast to slow over the next decade, curbed by slower population growth (than during 2007-2017) and an ageing population. The reports are now available to download.
Follow the LMI for All twitter account for updates on other published outputs from the study, including the release of updated data in the LMI for All database.

Professional identity transformation: supporting career and employment practitioners at a distance

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The need for countries to provide appropriate support to all individuals making labour market transitions into, and through, volatile and complex labour markets is uncontroversial.

What is controversial is, despite this, that the professional identity of career counselling and employment practitioners across Europe remains somewhat fragile, partly because of the need to balance tensions around funding targets and reducing unemployment, with the individual needs of clients.

Maintaining professionalism can similarly prove challenging because time poor practitioners find it difficult to update their learning needs, continually, in the face of operational pressures, placing at risk their ability to familiarise themselves with new theories, research and ways of working.

This article by IER’s  Professor Jenny Bimrose and Professor Alan Brown examined how career guidance counselling and employment practitioners can be supported at a distance using technology, to facilitate their professional identify transformation. Drawing on empirical results of European research (2014 – 2018), the article presents findings from an international online learning course designed to support practitioners’ professional identity across Europe and discusses the implications for practice. Fifty free downloads are available here.

LMI for All team meets Studiekeuze123

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As part of a knowledge exchange and sharing good practice, Sally-Anne Barnes, as part of the LMI for All team, met with the Stichting Studiekeuze123 team from the Netherlands. Studiekeuze123 had just won three #LovieAwards for their website Studiekeuze123.nl, which is the official Dutch platform to support students in their study orientation and choices. Sally-Anne and the Studiekeuze123 team had a great morning talking about careers LMI, course and occupational mappings and widgets! The LMI for All team look forward to future opportunities to work together.