How do you find and reach the skilled people who will make up your future workforce? How do you decide where to locate to ensure the kind of skills you need?
How can you work with local further and higher education providers and policy makers to ensure you are all looking at the skills infrastructure and ensuring it is providing what you need from your workforce?
These have long been the questions that local employers seek to answer. While finance streams and government priorities have sometimes skewed which courses can and do get funding, meaning an oversupply in some occupations and a serious shortage of others, these decisions are best made by understanding the local labour market and its interaction with the skills infrastructure.
It is only by having a sense not just of the needs of your own business but of the picture across a local area that you can understand where and how to invest in your workforce. But this has been notoriously difficult – until now.
IPPR (the Institute for Public Policy Research), the JPMorgan Foundation and Burning Glass have teamed up to create Where The Work Is.
This tool was created as part of a three year long collaboration called New Skills at Work, seeking to equip the UK to compete in what we now know will be a post-Brexit economy and improve skills infrastructure in the UK. This is an innovative digital tool that looks at supply and demand for occupations in your local area.
The website is completely free to use. The current focus of the tool is on the supply of candidates for mid-skill, entry level roles that require some qualifications.
It helps you understand down to national/regional and many Local Economic Partnership (LEP) levels which occupations are over and under-represented within the pool of potential candidates in your area, what the average salary for those roles is and what competition there is for them.
This will be invaluable in business and workforce planning. Knowing on a real-time basis what the trends are in local employment, where the skills gaps are and what skills are available in your area help you both to plan for your own needs and training and also work with local education providers to ensure these needs are met.
Brexit will put a great deal of additional pressure on employers to increase and use their local skills capacity. It will be essential to close the UK productivity gap and make our businesses internationally competitive in a transformed economy.
Our labour market is adapting to the challenges of the 21st century and these shifts are happening rapidly. The ability to reflect the market as it is, and show trends as they develop, is what makes Where The Work Is a continually helpful and valuable resource, which people working in recruitment and personnel are returning to time and again.
We know that resources and capacity in the current economic climate are tight. In this constrained landscape, every penny saved helps. That is why this tool is completely free to use.
There are no stealth charges or on-selling – it’s just a resource we developed because employers, educators and the policymakers who allocate resources told us it would be helpful.
We also greatly value any and all feedback on your experiences using the tool and how we might improve it. This is a community-focused tool that we want to continue to develop in consultation with its users.
We know that businesses are increasingly looking to make data–informed decisions that help you plan effectively for the workforce you have now and the jobs you will offer in the future. It is to help you do so that we developed Where the Work Is.
Clare McNeil is Associate Director for Work and Families at IPPR. If you have any questions about Where The Work Is or the New Skills At Work programme please email [email protected].