The news that the Canadian-owned aerospace manufacturer, Bombardier, is set to cut over 1,000 jobs at its Belfast plant in 2016 and 2017, will have come as a huge shock to those being made redundant. The question in many people’s minds will be “what now?”
We were contacted by the Belfast Newsletter to answer this question, and you can read that report and our comment here. As we said in that piece, perhaps the best way forward for someone in this kind of situation is to start by asking the following questions:
- Are there any other industries which employ my occupation?
- What occupations are there out there which require a similar skillset?
To the first question, the answer is usually yes, but we often don’t necessarily think of it in these terms. Take carpentry, for instance. It would be natural to assume that carpenters are employed in the construction industry, wouldn’t it? Well yes they are, and overwhelmingly so. However, there are also a good number of carpenters employed in other industries such as Renting and operating of own or leased real estate; Public administration and defence; compulsory social security; and Manufacture of office and shop furniture.
In other words, a good place to start for someone who has lost their job, especially in a declining industry, is to ask what other industries they might be able to find work in the same occupation, and to seek out employers in those sectors. Of course, the success of this approach will be down to whether such employers are looking to take on new employees, and if they’re not what then?
The second question posed at the top of this piece relates to transferrable skills. If there are no jobs in the occupation a person is trained in, even in other industries, is it better for them to start from scratch in a completely new occupation, or to first think about what skills are involved in their present job, then to look for occupations that are most closely aligned and upskill to bridge the gap? That’s not a particularly hard question, but the hard part is in actually matching one’s own skillset to those in other occupations. How can that be done?
We believe we have a good solution. Incorporated into our data is a U.S. database — O*NET — which ranks the knowledge and skills needed for any occupation, based on a large survey of employers. What this means is that users of our data can compare the knowledge and skills in one occupation with those required in another, in order to find out which jobs are most similar in terms of required skillset, and also where the skills differences are between those occupations. Such information could well prove invaluable to someone looking to upskill, rather than to retrain from scratch. To find out more about how this works in practice, and how it can be used by organisations involved in directing people into new careers and occupations, there is a much fuller explanation in this piece.
Getting answers to these two questions — “Are there any other industries which employ my occupation?” and “What occupations are there out there which require a similar skillset?” — could make a major difference in the lives of those who are set to lose their jobs in Belfast.
If you would like further details about how our data can help with transferrable skills, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.