This is the third part of a four part series (Parts 1 and 2 are here and here) leading up to a webinar on 9th June — Preparing Your College for the Future — in which we’ll be demonstrating our new tool for colleges, FE Analyst, from which all the data in these pieces has been taken. To register for the webinar, click here.
So far, we’ve seen how colleges can use the data in our new FE Analyst tool to understand both the overall shape of their local economy, and how their current curriculum and courses reflect employer demand. The next step is to dig much deeper into that employer demand, to answer questions about who is hiring and what they are looking for in terms of job titles and skills. Not only will this further help in shaping curriculum and courses, but it is also of massive value to a business development team, since it can enable them to identify the employers they need to be talking to, and to then go into conversations with those businesses knowing far more about their particular needs, and how the college can help them. To demonstrate this, we’ll look at data for one particular course area — Care — in the Heart of the South West (HotSW) LEP region.
Overall job numbers in Care in the Heart of the South West
We have mapped Care to 14 different Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) occupations, and according to our data together these make up 70,620 jobs in the HotSW area — 11% higher than the national average, which is no doubt a reflection of the relatively high concentration of care homes in the area. The chart below breaks this down into those 14 occupations, showing that the biggest job numbers are for Care workers and home carers; Nurses; and Nursing auxiliaries and assistants:
As the economy goes into recession, however, these job numbers are likely to change significantly, and whilst it could be that some will rise, given the current demand for some of these jobs, it may well be that others will decline as redundancies are made. Certainly, when we look at the employment landscape as a whole in the HotSW, it has been one of the hardest hit areas of the country, as we can see from the map below, which shows the percentage rise in Claimant Counts from January – April 2020, with some local authorities seeing increases of over 130%:
It will be a long time before we get official data on employment numbers in specific occupations, but what we can do is use Job Posting Analytics (JPA) to get a sense of current demand, including who is hiring and what they are looking for.
Who is Hiring?
Using our JPA data, we can identify the employers that are hiring for those 14 occupations associated with Care. In the chart below, we have pulled out the Top 20 employers in terms of volume of hiring activity (unique postings) from January to April. As we would expect, there are a lot of NHS Trusts showing up in the data, but by far the most activity is from Newcross Healthcare Solutions, which is a national provider of staff, clinical expertise and administrative support to help care for sick and vulnerable people, headquartered in Totnes:
What jobs are they hiring for?
Having established the employers that are hiring, we can then unpick the data to find out what it is they are actually looking for. Focusing on Newcross Healthcare Solutions, for example, we can use the data to find out which actual jobs they are looking to fill in the HotSW area, and in the chart below we have picked out the Top 10, with Personal care assistants being by far the most in-demand, followed by registered nurses:
Which skills are they seeking?
But perhaps the most exciting element of the JPA data is where it can be used to identify skills demand. As we set out in our recent blog on the Language of Skills:
“The current crisis has accelerated the [skills gap] issue even further, and although we still await data on the extent of the damage to businesses and jobs, it is likely that many of the worst hit in terms of job losses will be in the low to mid-level skills range, many of which were already being hit by other issues, but some of which may simply disappear as businesses suffer and working practices change.”
For a college looking to train, retrain and upskill people in its area with the skills they need to gain employment or get back into employment, and to engage with employers around their skills needs, the JPA skills data really is gold. For instance, again looking at Newcross Healthcare Solutions, we can identify the common skills they are looking for, as the chart below shows:
We can also do the same exercise, but this time to identify demand the organisation has for more specific hard skills:
With this kind of skills data, a college not only has a great way of shaping their course content, but also to engage with employers, understanding their needs, going into conversations forearmed, so that they can work together to provide the kind of training that will really benefit local people and local employers.
Coming soon: FE Analyst
The great news is that our new FE Analyst tool puts this kind of data into one simple and intuitive workflow, and is designed so that colleges can use the data more widely across the institution in different departments. In our final part in this series, we’ll show you the tool, including a new Recovery Module that will help colleges navigate their way through this time of crisis.
You can also sign up for our webinar on 9th June, where we’ll be talking about how your college can prepare for the future with the help of FE Analyst.