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What is the Labour Market & How Can it Help Your Career Decisions?

05 April 2022   |   by Explore Careers

As soon as you start delving into the world of careers education, advice, guidance and options you might start hearing a term crop up; the Labour Market

Sounds fancy, right? But what does it actually mean and why does it matter when making career decisions?

Let’s find out!

What is the Labour Market?

Great question! Here’s a short definition:

“When you talk about the labour market, you are referring to all the people who are able to work and want jobs in a country or area, in relation to the number of jobs there are available in that country or area.”

Within every community, regional area or city, information is collated around the types of jobs that are available, the industries supplying them as well as potential upcoming opportunities. For example, if a new shopping centre is set to open in the next year, there will be lots of new opportunities for jobs, boosting the labour market around retail, hospitality and concierge roles. 

The Labour Market can provide us with information about:

  • What jobs are available in your local area.
  • How often jobs are being advertised in certain sectors.
  • How long it takes jobs to be filled.
  • The number of applicants for certain jobs.
  • Growth industries in your area – the ones that keep advertising new jobs.
  • Opportunities for training, traineeships and apprenticeships.

How Does it Help With Career Decisions?

The Labour Market is a great resource to review when you’re considering your career options. Because it can provide us with lots of information about who’s hiring, where and how often, it gives you some ideas about the types of work that are sustainable in your area.

Let’s consider a couple of case examples:

Example One

Let’s say you live in a relatively regional area and have decided to pursue a career as a hairdresser. But there are three hairdressing salons in your area and neither of them has advertised a role for over a year. This tells you that while there are businesses in your area, there might not be sustainable work opportunities.

So, you decide to look at the labour market information for the next town closest to you which has a much larger population. You see that there are twice as many hairdressing salons, and some of these regularly offer apprenticeships and work opportunities.

Example Two

You can’t really decide what you might like to study after school or what career you want to do, but you have a few ideas. You know you don’t want to move away and you want to find a job with good prospects. You take a look through the labour market information for your local area and discover some industries that are hiring and growing including hospitality and tourism, early years childcare and teaching.

You’ve always really liked the idea of teaching so you decide to explore your options in this area for further study, work and training.

How Else Can the Labour Market Help?

Labour market data can also help you with deciding on further study!

The Top 100 Graduate Employers annual report examines the workforce for Australian university graduates. The report is published by the Australian Financial Review in partnership with GradConnection, and lists industries popular with graduates, alongside key insights about the current job market.

If you’re keen to enter higher education, but not sure whether your study choices are viable for some of your future career and employment aspirations, this report can be a really useful tool to help build out your ideas.

You can read the report here, including a detailed analysis of the current graduate market and information by sector.

Where Can You Find Out More?

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment runs the Labour Market Information Portal which is the best place to find out more.

It might all be a bit confusing to navigate at first so we’d recommend enlisting the help of a parent, teacher or careers advisor to help you get the hang of things and find the answers to any questions you have!

Find Your Starting Point

If there’s one thing we want to make super clear it’s that the labour market information is just one resource you can use to help you make these key decisions.

It shouldn’t replace your passions, aspirations or dream job goals – use it to help yourself stay informed, manage your expectations and sharpen your focus on how you’re going to get to where you want to be.

And if you’re wondering how on earth you even get started with looking at labour market information when you don’t even know what careers you might be interested – we can help with that.

Our one-of-a-kind Careers Quiz will help you decide what areas might work best for you – so you can crack on with exploring the good stuff.

Give it a go today!


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