What Employers Want - The role of LMI

What Employers Want - The role of LMI

Monday 6th May 2019

How long is a piece of string? Answer twice as long as half of it's length. OK a smart a*se answer to a flippant question which has no real answer.

A similarly tricky question as what are employers looking for in a first job candidate. Answer, it depends on the job, the employer and so on. So how do we prepare our students in order to give them the best chance of gaining positive destinations after leaving our schools, colleges and universities?

Using research to inform our practice

CEDEFOP has just published this research which collates the skills required in online job advertisements throughout the EU. The short report, starts by referencing the shift happens analysis (For those of you, who haven't seen the video of this work, I've included it below - OK probably everyone has seen it as I think every teacher in the world has been shown it,) Then CEDEFOP goes on to report that 43% of workers have seen significant changes in their working technologies and 47% changes in working practices over the last five years. Thus we can conclude that whatever skills we help instill in our students, they will see a change in the skills they use and equally there will be a change in the skills that they need over their working life.

Future proofing our students - the importance of LMI

The rapid pace of change requires us to forecast what skills will be necessary in the future. After all, even if you're teaching year 8 pupils it may be 10 years till they hit the workplace and have to negotiate the skill needs of that time. LMI (Labour Market Information) is an important indicator of the skills we need to incorporate in the teaching of the curriculum, not just 'careers lessons'.

Adaptability and problem solving seem to be the vital components of a skills toolkit. With the gradual decline in manual and physical jobs and the rise in creative and intellectual roles we have seen due to the rapid advances in AI and mecanisation. However, gathering of data has often been time consuming and thus the results out of date before they are published. This led CEDEFOP to investigate how skills intelligence is changing in a more time friendly way, i.e. analysing online vacancies. The report is well worth the few minutes that it takes to read. I'd suggest signing up for updates.

What employers want - the picture now

Finding LMI that is pupil friends is often difficult and I've long recommended the excellent ICould website which has recently become part of the Education and Employers organisation. However, from time to time there are useful surveys which highlight certain areas, one such survey is that of the Fresh Student Living company which highlights employers valuing of internships and working whilst at university. These often make excellent displays or discussion starters.

Supporting Gatsby Benchmark 4

LMI can be used in many ways across the curriculum. Indeed it's vital that we think outside the box as few schools have enough time to devote to discrete careers lessons. Yes, it requires supporting subject teachers to expand their boundaries and build their confidence and comfort with how their subject is used in the real world. That is one of the vital roles of the Careers Leader.

Maths and Geography are the most obvious places, but how about

  • Art? or D&T Giving pupils data to display effectively.
  • English to examine types of language used in LMi.
  • MFL to look at the differences in countries employment cultures
  • History to look at changing employment trends

I'm sure there are far more that you can think of - Perhaps you'd like to share them in Twitter? Tag me @CareersDefemder and I'll add them to the list.