Part 2 in a series of short articles exploring labour market information and its role in supporting education planning and economic development. Read part 1.
What is the common currency of the labour market?
The fundamental currency of LMI is employment. There are two main ways of looking at employment: (1) the number of people with jobs and (2) the number of jobs.
People aged 16 or over are classed as in employment if they have done at least one hour of work in return for wages, salary or for a benefit, or if they have a job that they are temporarily away from. People who do unpaid work in a family business and people on government-supported training (GST) and employment programmes are also included according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention.
Understanding the labour market is so much more than just observing the profile of businesses within the community. To truly understand the nature, opportunities, and challenges of a labour market you first need to understand the profile of jobs that make up that labour market, how those jobs are distributed across industries and occupations, and the growth or decline in those jobs.
How do you classify jobs?
To provide clarity and understanding when observing trends in employment, jobs can be defined by two main classifications.
The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) classifies business establishments and other statistical units by the type of economic activity in which they are engaged. The classification provides a framework for the collection, tabulation, presentation, and analysis of data, and its use promotes uniformity — a convenient way of classifying industrial activities into a common structure.
The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) is a common classification of occupational information. Jobs are classified in terms of their skill level and skill content. The SOC is used for career information to labour market entrants, job matching by employment agencies, and the development of labour market policies.
Excerpts from: The Labour Market Handbook: An Introduction to the Labour Market, South West Observatory Skills and Learning Module, 2010. And www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/index.html