Labour Market Information

This Article is a part of:

In careers guidance we need to recognise and use LMI to help our clients make sense of local employment opportunities.

Providing access to up-to-date and useful Labour Market Information has become a major concern within contemporary careers guidance. The theory behind this is that clients, regardless of age, can use this information as evidence on which to base long-term decisions around education, training and career development. However, whilst local knowledge may be used to develop LMI resources dealing with the regional level, a challenge for many is finding reliable, accurate information more targeted to a national or international level.

The impact of global LMI on national and regional issues.

Yet, the increasingly global nature of the labour market means that the regional level cannot be considered in isolation. Instead understanding global trends can help explain localised labour market changes. It also opens more opportunities to workers who are increasingly mobile when it comes to finding employment. International companies make decisions at a global level which can have a profound affect on local markets and workforce. Our clients need local LMI but we as advisers need an overview 

This multifaceted view of the labour market is reflected in our project work, where a growing focus is on developing tools, resources and information on how guidance practitioners can best harness LMI from an (inter)national level for use in everyday sessions with local clients. This includes resources to be used independently (or as part of supported guidance by clients), as well as tools for practitioners themselves, to aid professional development.

The good news is that the rise in digital technology is making access to LMI from different sources across Europe far easier. However, at the same time, this wealth of information available means that sorting through sources to find useful, relevant information which explains labour market forecasts, skills needs etc. in an accessible way can be difficult.


A good place to start is to understand the sort of LMI which you are looking for.

Broadly speaking LMI can be split into two categories – hard and soft. Both types of LMI contribute towards the LMI we use in our day to day work. This graphic form the USA explains the process.

Hard LMI is data from reports etc. published by government departments or other labour market actors, whilst soft LMI is information gleamed from newspaper reports or spread word-of-mouth from colleagues. Whilst both can be incredibly powerful, the best LMI guidance draws on a combination of hard and soft sources.

In terms of hard LMI, much work is being carried out on a European level by actors such as the European Commission and CEDEFOP to develop resources which collate LMI data from across the continent. This includes skills and sector-specific forecasts, as well as information on wider changes and needs across European member states. For example, CEDEFOP oversees the Skills Panorama website, which offers useful information on the changes in labour market demand predicted to take place (both within member states and across sectors) over the next 10 years. The benefit of this site is that it produces easy to digest, visual graphs, which can be customised to a high level – with segmented data meaning that the website provides an overview which covers the national and European level. Yet, a down side is that the website’s main target group is decision makers, and so it lacks the supporting guidance which would allow clients to use it independently.

Soft LMI which covers a European, rather than a local or national level, is harder to find. As very few news agencies focus on pan-European stories, practitioners are left scouring the European sections of newspapers to gain insight. Therefore, the best way of obtaining soft LMI is through active involvement in European networks, which allow for updates and insights to be shared by practitioners across Europe. Newsletters produced by services such as EURES (the European Job Mobility portal) and Euroguidance (the European network for the careers guidance sector) are a good place to start, as they act as an introduction to the different networking opportunities open to practitioners on a European level.

Once you have found useful LMI resources, the challenge then is being able to interpret and translate these into labour market intelligence which can be used by clients to gain a better understanding of opportunities, growth areas etc. within the labour market. For many practitioners this step poses as big a challenge as finding the information. Therefore, with this in mind, we have been working in collaboration with CEDEFOP to produce training and support material aimed at upskilling practitioners to help them become more confident in using LMI in their guidance work. This training is available here through CEDEFOP.

For advisors working across Europe the wealth of information surrounding the labour market available from digital and online sources can be overwhelming. However, by learning to curate and interpret LMI from a regional, national and international level, practitioners will enrich their guidance work, providing support for clients which helps them make informed decisions suited to the increasingly global world of work.

Go to our DATA RESOURCES page for more LMI hyperlinks

Skip to toolbar