The ‘hidden data’ that could boost the UK’s productivity and job market

Report from Learning and Work Institute and Nesta (UK): “… highlights the complexities of labour market data used to support adults in their career planning…

The deficiencies in the UK’s labour market data are illustrated by the experiences of the winners of the CareerTech Challenge Prize, the team developing Bob UK, a tool designed to provide instant, online careers advice and job recommendations based on information about local vacancies and the jobseeker’s skills. The developers attempted to source UK data that directly replicated data sources used to develop the version of Bob which has helped over 250,000 jobseekers in France. However, it became apparent that equivalent sources of data rarely existed. The Bob UK team was able to work around this issue by carefully combining alternative sources of data from a number of UK and non-UK sources.

Many other innovators experienced similar barriers, finding that the publicly available data that could help people to make more informed decisions about their careers is often incomplete, difficult to use and poorly described. The impact of this is significant. A shocking insight from the report is that one solution enabled careers advisors to base course recommendations on labour market information for the first time. Prior to using this tool, such information was too time-consuming for careers advisors to uncover and analyse for it to be of use, and job seekers were given advice that was not based on employer demand for skills…To address this issue of hidden and missing data and unleash the productivity-raising potential of better skills matching, the report makes a series of recommendations, including:

  • The creation of a central labour market data repository that collates publicly available information about the labour market.
  • Public data providers should review the quality and accessibility of the data they hold, and make it easier for developers to use.

The development of better skills and labour market taxonomies to facilitate consistency between sources and enhance data matching…(More)”