Knowing what is actually happening in the labour market is often a knowledge gap for people who are looking for a job or considering a change in careers.

While job seekers often tick off many of the key job search essentials such as preparing a market-ready resume; thinking about what sorts of jobs they want to target; and updating their on-line profile; their lack of labour market intelligence can delay and even hinder successful job search.

Understanding the labour market can, of course, be a complicated matter. There is a multitude of information out there such as the big national data outlined in a CareerActually post earlier this year – Where Are The Jobs? There is also information provided by recruitment companies, major banks, employer organisations, trade unions, employment services, research institutes and government departments, just to name a few. Trying to make sense of this is challenging and confusing, and most people planning career changes or looking for a new job, or even considering what course to study, understandably don’t bother.

Here are three ways to improve your labour market knowledge relatively quickly:

MyFuture’s Latest Labour Market Information

One of the best sites I have come across to give you quality information quickly about the Australian job market is MyFuture’s Latest Labour Market Information. []

Within three clicks on this site you can find information about:

  • What the labour market is doing in your suburb, town or city
  • The occupations most people are employed in
  • The top 20 income occupations
  • How employment in particular industries you are interested in compares across Australia
  • Which industries are experiencing most growth

Job vacancy data

A quick browse and search of some of the well-known on-line job will give you insights into what current advertised vacancies by industry, location and type of work – try, and As well, don’t forget that most industries and companies have their own job boards that can give you more specific information, as can a recruitment and executive search companies.

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Networks and contacts

Without doubt some of the best labour market intelligence comes via professional and personal networks. They are often the source of specific job leads and market information that you would otherwise not have access to. Estimates vary but it is safe to assume that the majority of jobs are found via networks and contacts. Identify who is in your network, and be active in connecting to them, remembering all the connections in the world won’t help if no one knows you are looking for a job or considering a career change. A recent post by CareerActually’s Julie Preston – Just a simple hello – demonstrates the simple steps you can take to build your professional network.

Having up-to-date labour market knowledge is a valuable part of anyone’s career tool-kit – it makes you more informed and able to identify the range of opportunities out there.

Until next time, go well!