Guide to using labour market information

WorkBC offers a wealth of labour market information – everything from statistics about wages to data forecasting demand for workers.

While labour market information is extremely useful, the numbers and stats can sometimes seem overwhelming. Read on to gain insight into how to navigate the information to make it work for you.

How can labour market information be of use to me?

If you are a job seeker, an employer, a researcher, a student, a parent or a career counsellor, you’ll find value in our labour market information.

The right labour market information will help you make the best decision, if you are:

  • looking for a job
  • planning your career or considering a career change
  • interested in hiring new workers

What types of labour market information do we offer?

Wage and Salary Data:

Wage:The amount of money someone in a specific occupation makes in an hour of work

We provide three wage statistics:

  • low – what you can expect to make when you are new to an occupation
  • median – what you can expect to make mid-career
  • high – what you might make later in your career

Salary: the amount the average person in a particular occupation earns each year

Labour Demand and Supply Statistics:

Demand: the amount of labour required

Supply: the amount of labour available

Together, these statistics determine what opportunities are available in the job market.

Looking for work in a region or field where demand for labour is expected to increase faster than supply tends to improve your employment prospects. On the other hand, finding work in a region or field where labour supply is greater than demand may be difficult.

Worker Demographics:

Demographics: statistical data about a population, such as age, level of education, immigration status and family makeup

The demographics of the workforce play an important role in labour market trends. For example, in regions or in occupations where workers are older, more retirements will soon occur. This will lead to more job openings.

How can I use WorkBC’s labour market information?

  A Job Seeker Planning your career An employer
Wage & Salary data can help you to: - Know how much you can expect to earn in a job
- Know how high a salary you can reasonably request from a potential employer
- Decide where to look for work, by identifying which regions offer the highest pay in your field
- Decide which careers will meet your earning expectations
- Decide if it is worth investing in upgrading your education to pursue a certain career
- Determine the amount you will need to pay to attract applicants with the skills and experience you require
- Map out your organization’s human resources budget
Labour Demand and Supply statistics can help you to: - Decide where you’re most likely to find your Dream job - Make informed decisions about your field of Study and training
- Assess the likelihood that your passion will evolve into a lucrative career
- Choose a career and a region where demand for workers is expected to be relatively high
- Plan ahead to ensure you can meet your Human resources needs
Demographic information can help you to: - Determine where your best job opportunities lie
- Assess your competitiveness against others in your field
- Learn about trends (e.g., education levels) to assess whether you are prepared to compete in a chosen field - Predict upcoming trends in your industry and plan ahead to ensure that your workforce continues to meet your needs

 

Does the source of the labour market information affect its usefulness to me?

 

How information is collected and how often it is reported can make it more or less relevant to you.

Most labour market information in Canada is collected using either the Labour Force Survey, conducted monthly, or the National Household Survey, conducted every five years. While the National Household Survey uses a much larger sample size and offers data that is more detailed, the Labour Force Survey offers information that is more up-to-date.

For example, the National Household Survey could tell you how much a carpenter in a specific region made – but only as recently as the year before the latest five-year survey. The Labour Force Survey’s information will be more current but less specific. It could tell you, for instance, the earnings of all people in the trades in the last month. Using both sets of information together will help you make better labour market decisions.

Where else can I find relevant labour market information?

You can gather more information about labour markets simply by paying attention to current events. Trends toward globalization, for example, can have a long-term impact on your local labour market. Changes in technology might mean that certain skills become more desirable to employers. A major investment in your area may mean an increase in demand for labour.

Not surprisingly, the more information you have, the better your decisions will be. Seek out as much information as possible. Talk to people in your field of interest, consult news sources and visit sites such as WorkBC.ca. All will help you make the best career and labour market choices.