In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift in the way employers view potential employees, with skills components, rather than simply qualifications or job titles, taking on a far more prominent place in hiring considerations. This has important ramifications for providers and their provision, and in this step we’ll show you how skills demand can be identified, and used to build a business case for developing new courses.
Occupations and Job Titles
Although we’ll continue looking at occupations related to the Engineering course area in Leeds, this time rather than looking at our structural Labour Market Insight, we’ll look at Job Postings Analytics, as this can give us some fascinating details about what employers are looking for, particularly with regard to skills. The graphs below show the Top 10 occupations and Top 10 job titles connected with the Engineering course area that employers in Leeds have been looking to hire over the 12 month period from August 2017 and July 2018:
As far as occupations are concerned, there has been significant demand for IT business analysts, architects and systems designers (2,257 unique postings); and Metal working production and maintenance fitters (1,909). In respect to actual job titles, Maintenance Engineer has seen particularly high demand with 382 unique postings.
Hard Skills and Soft Skills
Identifying occupations and job titles gives us a good sense of what employers are looking for, but as we said above, increasingly employers are seeking to go beyond just looking for people with this or that qualification, or this or that job title. They want to know what skills people have.
Again the data can help. By looking at Job Postings Analytics for Engineering occupations in the Leeds area, we can not only break down what employers are looking for in terms of occupations and jobs, but also in terms of the skills they say they need.
The two graphs below show this very clearly. In the first graph, we have shown the Top 10 hard skills that employers say they are looking for, according to the number of postings that name these skills. Unsurprisingly, Engineering is right at the top, but there are many more that perhaps do not come to mind quite so readily, such as Infrastructure and Architecture. The chart underneath that then shows the Top 10 soft skills, and again, there are some interesting skills components included.
Who is Looking to Hire?
Having looked at the job titles and occupations that employers are looking for, and then the hard and soft skills, there is one more crucial question that can be answered by the Job Postings data: who’s hiring? Again the data below is for Engineering in the Leeds region from August 2017 to July 2018:
We can even dig a little deeper than this. For instance, if we look more closely at the top company on the list, William Hill, we find that the last five job postings they have put out were for Integration Solution Architect; Cloud Architect; Solution Architect; Data Architect; and Cloud Engineer Architect. In a sense, this goes beyond curriculum planning, and into the realm of employer engagement. However, by knowing what the likes of William Hill are looking for, not only does this give a provider a sense of who to engage with, but it also gives them the confidence to go into that engagement with insight into what their company needs are, and this can then feed back into planning courses that are more aligned with those needs.
Build Your Business Case
The insight and ideas we have presented throughout this guide, whether the structural Labour Market Insight in Step 1 and Step 2, or Job Postings Analytics in this Step, are ultimately about building a business case for making changes to your overall curriculum, adding new elements to existing courses, and adding new courses. Ultimately, they are about answering the following questions:
“Why do we need to reduce this provision?”
“Why should we be adding these courses?”
“Why are we thinking of including these skills in our courses?”
The answer to all three questions is this:
“Because the data is telling us that this is what employers in our region need.”
In other words, it’s all about building a business case to make changes, not on a whim, or even just on anecdotal evidence, but rather on the basis of good, robust evidence.
By following the steps in this guide, you will have the confidence to make important curriculum decisions – ones that will make your courses more relevant – in the knowledge that you are basing them on the best insight about your region.
You can now download our Three Step Guide to a More Relevant Curriculum by clicking here or on the cover image above. But even more excitingly, we’ve just launched a new tool that will help you to achieve these three steps, quickly, simply and effectively. Tune in on Monday where we’ll be revealing more.