As communities rebuild from the economic fallout of 2020, the role and importance of workforce development is in the spotlight. The focus has been twofold: 1) leveraging the existing infrastructure of workforce development organizations to rapidly reemploy dislocated workers and 2) using this moment as a catalyst for reimagining how the workforce development system supports jobseekers amidst the constantly evolving nature of work. In this post, we’ll focus on some of the ways data can help with the first focus.
Clients use Lightcast data in a myriad of ways, but in the end they all have the same goal: make the communities they live in better. Workforce development does this by helping people find good jobs (and helping businesses find the right talent). Right now this means assisting the influx of dislocated workers in search of opportunities.
From the early stages of the pandemic to now, millions have lost their jobs, with the impact felt most in hospitality, food service, and retail. Many of the jobs people lost have yet to come back and some may be at risk of getting phased out by automation.
Meanwhile, other industries and occupations have remained strong or seen growth during the worst of the pandemic and in recent months. But while there is a plethora of trucking, delivery, and driving jobs, not everyone can be or wants to be, a truck driver. Fortunately, roles in marketing, insurance, logistics and others continue to see strong job postings.
Determining opportunity areas such as these, as well as local industry and occupation trends, is key to workforce professionals supporting dislocated workers. Often with great human skills but lacking in technical skills, the right data and market insights help determine how a jobseeker’s skills translate to an in-demand occupation or what re-skilling is needed.
To successfully support jobseekers in your community, here are five things to know.
1. Which industries are expected to see job growth
In-demand jobs are going to be in expanding industries. Estimates of expected jobs will point you in the right direction and prevent clients from pursuing jobs in industries with limited growth potential. We’ll use the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro MSA as an example. Of industries estimated to have at least 5,000 jobs in 2026, we can see those that have the largest percentage job growth over the next five years.
It is important to remember that Lightcast's projections are based on past employment trends. The effects of the coronavirus-related layoffs began appearing in Lightcast dataruns as of Q4 2020. Thus, current projections do include COVID-19 impacts. But as additional employment impacts come to fruition and policy changes alter recorded employment, projections will continue to update.
2. What makes growth industries tick
Once healthy job growth is determined, it’s important to understand other components of the industry. GRP, average earnings, demographics, and number of business locations paint a more complete picture of the industry in a local community. This will be important when making the case to prioritize the industry for job placement and training. Knowing Individual and Family Services is expected to have 27% job growth, we can look under the industry hood a bit more.
3. Which occupations comprise growth industries
The reason for understanding growth industries is that’s where current and future talent demand lies. However, not all jobs within an industry will have equal demand and growth. While the Individual and Family Services industry may be expected to grow by 27% in the Portland region, that doesn’t mean all roles in the industry will have that growth. Understanding the occupation mix of an industry allows you to identify jobs resulting from its expected growth for your clients. Staffing patterns tell us the percentage of total jobs in an industry along with earnings, entry-level education needed, and work experience required.
Job posting data reveals more details about an occupation and also has the advantage of being in real time. From job postings, we learn the most common titles used for the Social and Human Service Assistants occupation over the last year and which ones had the most unique postings, their posting intensity, duration, and frequency over time.
Additionally, advertised wage trends from employers in their online job postings provide a real-time look into the median annual wage being offered in the market.
4. Whether growth occupations are a good fit for your client
Home Health and Personal Care Aides make up the largest portion of the growing Individual and Family Services industry. Occupation wage data tells us the median hourly earnings ($13.81).
While this occupation is expected to see the largest growth in the coming years, if the earnings aren’t in line with a client’s needs, other occupations within the industry can be explored for compatibility. Lightcast’s Compatibility Index scores the compatibility of two occupations in terms of the knowledge, skills, and abilities they require. For example, if a client’s primary work experience is as a Recreation Worker in Portland, we can see Social and Human Service Assistants are highly compatible and offers a higher wage than Home Health and Personal Care Aides.
By comparing the competency requirements of a Recreation Worker with that of a Social and Human Service Assistant, the overlap of knowledge, skills, and abilities reveals the transition is likely a good one. But the information is also valuable for advising clients on necessary training.
Even Census tract data can be leveraged to understand where jobs are located, telling clients how potential jobs may or may not align with their living and transportation situation.
5. What the skill requirements are for in-demand occupations
Skills describe a person’s knowledge, experience, and abilities. They’re made up of human skills (soft skills), technical skills (hard skills), and certificates and licenses. Skills are the common language used everyday by people and employers. Because of this, it’s the best way to understand what jobseekers have, what employers are seeking, and where gaps exist.
Lightcast's library of more than 30,000 skills is sourced from hundreds of millions of online job postings, profiles, and resumes. Using this library, we’re able to ascertain the skills being sought for specific roles. This data is vital when counseling jobseekers on necessary up-skilling. Furthermore, it unearths in-demand skills a jobseeker may already have, but not have realized were sought and valued.
The whole picture
By knowing each of the above, workforce organizations are able to direct clients to more successful outcomes. And the success of individual jobseekers is success for the regional economy. Localized data helps communities make specific recommendations to in-demand jobs which meet the demand of growing industries.
The job market has changed a lot over the last year. Many dislocated workers are unsure of how to proceed in such uncertainty. By presenting the whole picture to clients at the beginning, the likelihood of success following a training program or job placement increases.
Get in touch to learn more about this data and additional tools to support your workforce development efforts.