In this time of budget cuts, job losses, redundancy payouts and career uncertainty, a question at the top of many people’s minds is where are the jobs? It may have been a while since you looked for a job or paid your career any attention, let alone found out what the labour market is doing and, therefore, where opportunities are presenting themselves.

Here are some quick tips to help you discover where the jobs actually are, and how to make the most of this information once you have it.

Look at some big data

Once you start looking around for information about the labour market, you will discover that there is so much out there and that it can be time consuming and confusing making sense of it. It can be useful to start with the big picture of national and even international employment trends that provide an overview of where the labour market is heading.

For example, take this piece of information:

Industry growth projections, Australia,  2012-2017 

industry growth

What this graph shows is big picture data about which industry groups are expected to grow  most over the next few years. You will see that by far the biggest  growth is expected in the health care and social assistance, followed by the retail and construction industries. Note that some growth is expected in all industries except for agriculture, forestry and fishing. This is important because it means there will continue to be opportunities in most major industry groups.

Next, take a look at this graph:

Projected employment growth by occupation – Australia 2012-2017

 occupation growth

Source: 2013 Department of Employment, employment projections to November 2017

This graph drills down a little into the detail of specific occupational areas that are expected to grow, showing which occupations are expected to grow at the greatest rate. Not surprising, given our ageing population and the focus being given to disability; aged and disability carers top the list. They are followed by accountants, for which there is always strong demand, and then advertising and sales managers and receptionists.

Its really important to note that this sort of information provides a big picture overview of what is happening in the labour market and it is only one source of information. Does it mean that if you dash out and get an accounting degree that you will automatically find a job? Unfortunately, not necessarily. Many other factors impact employability such as the area you live in, your experience, your ability to market yourself, your knowledge of the accounting industry and what the job niches are; together with your contacts.

If you like to investigate this type of big data, others sources you could try include internet and newspaper vacancy reports; surveys of employer expectations; and graduate employment outcomes. I also recommend the Australian Government’s Labour Market Information Portal – it can lead you to lots of local area information as well.

What jobs are available locally?

What is happening on your patch – in your town or city? Here are five key sources of local labour market and job information which you can use to further identify job trends and fast track your job search.

1. Local newspapers and media – look out for articles in the newspaper and on-line that keep you up-to-date about what is going on. Is an industry planning an expansion? Is a new store moving into your neighbourhood? What is the government planning to spend its money on? Are there new businesses coming on-line?

2. On-line job boards – use their search functions to give you a picture of the sorts of jobs available in the industries and organisations you are looking for. Register with a number of them and sign up for alerts. You’ll get insights into what the market is paying and what skills and experience are required

3. Recruitment agencies – register with those that are experienced in placing people with similar skills to you. Speak to recruitment staff, review their vacancy lists. Even if there aren’t the vacancies there for you now, by being informed about what may be happening down the track you will be much better placed to take advantage of opportunities. As they say, knowledge is power!

4. Professional associations and industry groups have lots of information about their industries and where the demand for jobs are. Some even have specialist career advisers. And local business and community groups can be a good source of intelligence about what is happening at grass-roots level.

5. Personal and professional networks – given that most jobs are not advertised, your networks are critical to finding out where the jobs are. They are often the source of specific job leads and market information that you would otherwise not have access to. Adopting a networking ‘lifestyle’ of connecting to and helping others, will help you find out about job opportunities, make valuable connections in your chosen field, and stay focused and motivated during your job search.

My tip sheet Fast Track Your Job Search, offers further ideas about how to find where the jobs are.

mand with arrows

Do you know what you are looking for?

Job searching can be a ‘chicken and egg’ activity where you sometimes don’t know what job you really want until  you find out what’s out there. On the other hand, knowing (at least sort of) what you are looking for makes finding jobs much more efficient. Often these two things are happening at the same time and that is perfectly normal. Ask  yourself “Where are the Jobs?” ask also “What am I looking for and what am I open to considering?”

To help you work out what job and career you really want to go after, take a look at 10 ways to future-proof your career.

And as always I welcome your questions – I’ve had some really interesting ones  lately, and am always happy to help.

Until next time …. go well