Working Better: Using data for inclusive system for jobs

As part of NESTA’s one-day conference, Working Bettter, Sally-Anne Barnes presented on LMI for All alongside international speakers talking about research and innovations in using data to create open labour market systems. The event comprised over 100 experts, policymakers and practitioners to explore new approaches to anticipate changes in the demand for skills and help people navigate into jobs that are right for them.

More information on the event and presentations from the day are available on the NESTA website. The following is the presentation given by Sally-Anne.

Jordan British Council and AQACHEI visit LMI for All team

Photo of AQACHEI team

The LMI for All team welcomed members of the Jordan British Council, the Accreditation and Quality Assurance Commission for Higher Education Institutes and the higher education sector (AQACHEI) to IER. The delegation was comprised of key members responsible for the implementation of the Jordan National Qualification Framework. They came to find out more about LMI for All and how it is supporting careers education and guidance within the education sector. The event was organised by Lisa Collett from Cotswold Research who has been managing the Action Learning Forum project in Jordan.

What is a graduate-level job, and how much should graduates expect to be paid?

What is a graduate-level job, and how much should graduates expect to be paid? This was the theme of a talk that Daria Luchinskaya to undergraduate students at the University of Warwick as part of an event focusing on career planning, ‘Scholars’ Personal and Professional Development Day: Forward Thinking’, held earlier this year.

The event was aimed at undergraduates in different stages of their degree, from across the University. Students attended a mix of interactive sessions and presentations, including how to make the most of careers fairs, writing an ‘elevator pitch’, the role of extracurricular activities. The aim of the event was to offer students, especially those from widening participation backgrounds, information about career development that students from more privileged backgrounds often take for granted.

Daria’s presentation focused on three main points – what do graduates do, how can we say what is or isn’t a graduate-level job, and where we might find out information about earnings. Different sources of data were highlighted throughout the presentation. Using ‘What do graduates do?’ data from Prospects, we looked at the breakdown of the most frequently held types of job six months after graduation. The top three destinations were health professionals (of graduates in employment, around 20 per cent worked in these roles), business, human resources and finance professionals (20%), and retail, catering, waiting and bar work roles (10%).

But how can we distinguish between what is an is not a graduate job? A graduate scheme might come to mind, but these are just one type of graduate jobs. We might think about the skills and knowledge used at work. Indeed, the ONS measure of graduate jobs uses a definition developed by Professors Peter Elias and Kate Purcell at the IER, which emphasizes that graduate jobs “normally require knowledge and skills developed on a three-year university degree to enable [job holders] to perform the associated tasks competently”. Based on this definition, 100% of the SOC 2010 professional occupations are classified as ‘graduate-level’, followed by three quarters of managers, director and senior officials, and around half of associate professional occupations. None of the retail jobs is classified as graduate-level, however. Thinking about the use of knowledge and skills at work provides a more nuanced definition of graduate jobs than the ‘high-skilled work’ definition, which applies to all managerial, professional, and associate professional occupations.

Last, we might consider what is an appropriate graduate-level salary. Students were invited to shout out their guesses – these ranged considerably, but were not far off the ballpark (inasmuch as a ballpark can be said to exist). Estimates circulated in the media range between £28,000-30,000 per year (e.g. supported by figures from High Fliers and the Institute of Student Employers, but these tend to be geared towards large companies that tend to run graduate schemes) to £19,000-22,0000 per year (supported by DLHE data and graduate-jobs.com). Pay also tends to vary by location – Daria asked the students to guess the regions for the top and bottom starting salaries in UK regions. The top one was London, at almost £25,000 (easy!), and the bottom? Wales, at £20,600, narrowly behind Northern Ireland. Graduate salaries also vary quite widely by industry, so it may help to have an idea of industry norms. The presentation suggested useful links for further information.

To show some of the rich data available, Daria demonstrated the LMI for All Careerometer widget, that was very popular with the students and with the Careers Services facilitating staff. The students offered suggestions for jobs to explore (careers adviser was one of the suggestions – there was a good sense of humour in the room), and Daria showed how different aspects of different jobs could be compared, in terms of pay, number of hours worked, and future trends. Students thought that the widget was very useful because it offered a range of information and it was easy to do an ‘at a glance comparison’.

Overall, the event was very successful, and the students though that it was very useful. The data capabilities of LMI for All are clearly well appreciated, and there is demonstrable appetite for similar, easy-to-use comprehensive information about jobs and future trends.

D Luchinskaya

Blog post written by Dr Daria Luchinskaya now working at the University of Strathclyde.

 

 

 

 

Further reading

The future of Digital Skills

There is currently a great deal of debate over what digital skills are needed for future jobs.

A new report written by Erika Kispeter about the current and future demand for digital skills at work has just been published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) – “What digital skills do workers need to succeed in the workforce in the next ten years”.

Although much of the relevant literature discusses ‘digital skills’, this term is used as a shorthand to mean, among others skills, knowledge, behaviours, attitudes, competencies, capabilities, and character traits. Current frameworks for digital skills include a handful of key areas of skills and competencies, namely Information and data literacy, Digital communication and collaboration, Digital content creation, Digital safety, Digital identity and Awareness of digital rights at different levels of proficiency. Digital skills also include non-technical, so called ‘21st century skills’, which can be grouped under a cognitive, intrapersonal and interpersonal domain.

While there is a trend to create comprehensive frameworks for digital skills, these attempts to give a general definition of ‘digital skills’ has been criticised. There is a call for more context-specific definitions.

The review has found that it is difficult to establish the boundary between essential and more specialised digital skills for the general workforce and identify a list of digital skills beyond the essential level. Descriptions of digital competence as a ‘T-shaped skill set’, in which individuals possess in depth knowledge in one area and good knowledge across many other areas may be useful here.

The future demand for general digital skills points at 21st century skills, especially interpersonal skills and cognitive competencies and learning strategies. It is argued that occupations where workers use digital skills creatively and to solve problems are likely to grow, while occupation where digital skills are used for routine tasks are likely to decline.

The drivers of change are suggested to be the effect of automation on future occupations, but there is much debate as to whether jobs will be fully automated or whether there will be a major change in task composition.

the report can be downloaded from the UK Government publications website.

Department for Education LMI workshop

Earlier this year, sixteen experts in the field of careers and developers of digital careers tools attended a labour market information (LMI) workshop, hosted by the Department for Education (DfE).

The aims of the workshop were to:

  • Inform and update delegates about the LMI for All service.
  • Provide a forum for careers experts and developers to share their views and experience.
  • Encourage the development of user-friendly careers tools, which can be used in a tailored way with people who are less confident using digital tools.
  • Explore how the LMI for All service and DfE could better support the needs of current and prospective developers.
Photograph of LMI workshop

The workshop started with Sally-Anne Barnes and Jenny Bimrose from the Institute for Employment Research (IER) at the University of Warwick giving a presentation about the LMI for All service. They explained the role of LMI in careers education and guidance before providing an overview of LMI for All. For all delegates, this was an opportunity to find out about the datasets which are used and upcoming activities. After a question and answer session, delegates discussed how they currently use LMI and how they could start or continue to use LMI for All.

After lunch, Rebecca Towner, Medway Youth Trust spoke passionately about the careers information that students are accessing, the issues they face and what changes can be made to meet their needs. From further discussions after the talk, the group agreed that careers tools should provide real life examples and context, whilst having a clear audience and encourage exploration. The group also agreed developers should be aware of avoiding confusing language and of creating online only resources, as this may limit who can use the tools.

Delegates provided useful feedback about how LMI for All and DfE can better support them to develop and use high-quality careers information tools. The feedback given at the workshop has been used to inform the re-design of the new LMI for All website to make it as accessible and user-friendly as possible and improve IER’s stakeholder engagement.

Photograph of Amy Hams

Blog post written by Amy Hams from the Careers Policy Unit, Department for Education