Labour Market Information for Parents and Guardians


Children and adolescents will rely upon their parents and guardians for information about jobs, careers, and study options. Accordingly, it is important that parents and guardians have access to readily interpretable information about the labour market.

Parents and guardians might be asked a range of questions about:

  • how to select a job or career in which they are interested
  • what people do in any given job
  • the ease of finding a particular kind of job
  • the future prospects of working in a job
  • how to obtain the qualifications and skills to find a job

How information can be supplied which will help parents and guardians provide advice to those in their care is provided below. In summary information needs to be available to parents and guardians that will allow them to work through the cycle outlined below.

Choosing a Career

Person at a crossroad with some signs symbolizing the career choice to be made

A young person entering the labour market today at, say, age 20, might be expected to remain in work until they are 67 or 68 years old. It is important that individuals are able to enter a career which matches their interests given that work is likely to occupy a substantial part of their lives over many years. As well selecting a job that meets a young person’s interests, it is also important to think about the ease of entering such a job. Choices are likely to be constrained, in most instances, by the job openings available. This is returned to below.

To start with a young person may well want to find a job which matches their interests and aptitudes. A starting point is the Skillsometer on the LMI for All website. Here users – which may be young people or their parents / guardians – will be asked to reflect on a series of statements about their likes and dislikes in the form of a quiz. This is used to provide a list of jobs suited to the individual’s preferences. Information is also provided on job content, pay, and hours of work. This provides the information required to clearly indicate what a person will be expected to do in their preferred career and the returns they will obtain from doing so. Depending upon their interests, young people may change their mind once their awareness about what is involved in their chosen career is made clear to them.

Further information about a particular job, including detailed descriptions of what is involved, can be obtained from the Careerometer also on the LMI for All website.


The Labour Market Dimension

Thinking about the job one would like to do is the start of the process. Further consideration might also be given to the labour market dimension. In other words, are there jobs available which match the individual’s career preferences.  This may be either at the national or more local level.

What information might a parent or guardian want to pass on to young people about the current state of the labour market? Useful information includes:

  • the current level of labour demand for people to work in the occupations and industrial sectors which match the young person’s career preferences. This will include the number of people working in the occupation or industrial sector currently, along with some information about the trend in employment (is it going up or down?).
  • the number of job openings as revealed by job vacancies (i.e. are employers recruiting people to work in the occupation or sector?);
  • the extent to which some vacancies prove hard-to-fill because employers experience difficulties finding people with the skills they require (i.e. is it a job which in which it be relatively easy to find employment other things being equal);
  • pay and conditions of work.

Depending upon the young person’s willingness to work locally or take a job anywhere in the UK, it may be more or less important to focus on conditions in the local labour market rather than the national one.

LMI for All data documentation webpage contains a large amount of information on the demand for people to work in various occupations and sectors at both national and local labour market levels. Information on vacancies is also available here, along with information on pay and conditions of work.

Further information can also be obtained from the Office of National Statistics via Nomis. This is a data site. It provides labour market statistics but not labour market intelligence.


Thinking about the future

JOB on a computer screen and a magnifying glass

If the emphasis is upon careers then implicit is the notion that the person will be looking to develop their future in a specific occupational area. Information about future labour market demand is important in this regard. There are at least two indicators which are important here.

  1. Expansion demand. This captures changes in the overall level of demand over the medium-term (i.e. is employment expected to increase or decrease and by how much?).
  2. Replacement demand. This refers to the number of additional people who will be required in an occupation over the next ten years or so. For example, employment in an occupation might be expected to fall over the medium-term. This might put off people otherwise considering a career in that occupation. But the level of replacement demand might be exceedingly high because a large number of people working in the occupation today are expected to leave it occupation over the next ten years for reasons such as retirement. An occupation that is expected to experience a fall in the overall number of people employed, may still have a substantial number of job openings to be filled.

It is important that young people, and their parents and guardians are not put off a career or occupation just because they think overall levels of employment are falling.  There will still be many job openings as employers look to replace people who are leaving.

LMI for All provides information on future labour prospects at national and local levels with information derived from the Working Futures series of labour market projections.


Gaining access to a career

information and choices available

Once a decision about the career or careers of interest, a young person, their parents or guardians will need information about the qualification and skills required for entry. Information on the LMI for All website provides information about the level of qualification associated with a given occupation. Other sites provide more detailed information about specific courses, including: 

  • The National Careers Service
  • Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education provides a series of occupational maps to show how occupations are linked to a range of technical education options
  • UCAS provides information about undergraduate, post-graduate, and degree level apprenticeships


Aggregations and Disaggregations

LMI is available at a number of levels. If one takes occupation, as an example, LMI for All provides information according Standard Occupational Classification from the 1-digit level (nine occupations) to the 4-digit level (around 400 occupations). Similarly there are data available at different spatial aggregations – potentially from wards to regions to nations.

From a career perspective, there is a need to bear in mind that a person may develop their career through taking a number of different jobs. This may mean that data are presented at suitable level of aggregation. The 4-digit level may be too detailed in this respect, whereas the 1-digit level groups together many disparate occupations.

Geography matters too. In many instances young people will be looking to develop careers in the local labour market – the travel to work area which corresponds with the town or city in which they live. Other jobs, typically ones requiring relatively highly skilled and qualified personnel, will exist in the national labour market with people willing to move to take-up employment.


A checklist

figure symbolizing a checklist
  • What job does a young person want?
  • What skills and competences are required in preferred jobs?
  • Are many people employed in the job or occupations which corresponds with their career preferences?
  • What does future demand look like?
  • How do I find a course that will provide the qualifications and skills needed for entry?