Throughout this website you will find many references to the labour market and to labour market research or occupational research. Part of our role as an employment resource centre is to help you make the best decisions about your job search choices. Every choice is an individual one with each individual’s own set of circumstances, however, it’s important to conduct thorough labour market research to ensure you make the best decisions for yourself in the long run.
There are two main steps to conducting labour market research in the context of your own individual circumstances:
Self-Assessment – What career is right for me?
Many people come in to The Working Centre not sure what kind of work they want to do. Sometimes people know that they want to retrain for a career but aren’t sure what career is right for them. Perhaps they know what field interests them, such as healthcare, but aren’t sure what role is suitable for them within that field.
You’ll need to step back and assess yourself: what drives you in your work?; what are you passionate about?; what skills, experiences, and talents do you bring with you?; what sorts of barriers do you face, such as transportation, physical capabilities, or childcare?
It’s important to get a strong sense of who you are in your work, what your goals are, and what restrictions you will face. From there you can begin to whittle down the potential list of careers to find the one that’s right for you. An employment counsellor can be very helpful in this process and can help to both organize the information and present you with other questions or considerations in your assessment.
Labour Market Assessment – Is this career choice a viable one?
Once you’ve looked internally and gained perspective on what careers interest you, you’ll next need to look externally to learn more about the realities of the labour market. Some positions may be of interest but the hours an employer expects you to work won’t mesh with your own availability, or the training required is more than you’re willing or able to complete. Additionally, there are constant changes in the labour market, and some careers have better prospects than others, especially when location is taken into consideration (for example, a mining engineer may be in demand but may find options limited in Waterloo Region).
Some points to consider in your research include: the extent and cost of training/education required; the working conditions of that job; the skills and characteristics employers look for in that job; the pay and opportunity for career advancement; the local labour market statistics and local employment outlook in that career, including an assessment of potential employers.
The Working Centre’s Job Readiness Checklist can be a very helpful tool to keep track of many of these items. Use it to organize your thoughts and your progress towards your employment goal.
Below you will find many helpful links to conduct your Labour Market Research, including self-assessment tools, career profiles, and information on employment statistics/job futures. Remember: your goal is for sustainable, ongoing employment, so this is a process that shouldn’t be rushed. It needs to be an honest, thoughtful assessment of who you are and what is possible. Your employment counsellor will be available to walk this journey with you.