Research

Careers and labour market information: an international review of the evidence

Rosie Alexander

Graham McCabe
Mark De Backer

Effective careers advice is impossible without good quality labour market information. Careers professionals and advisers, the people whose job it is to offer and support careers advice in the community or in schools, are key to success. Vital to their work is access and familiarity with a robust and sophisticated body of intelligence about the labour market.

Through the publication of this review we seek to provide clarity and practical insight for two key audience groups – policymakers and practitioners involved in careers services. We draw lessons from the evidence to enable policymakers to create excellent careers services, supported by excellent LMI; and we assist the providers and users of LMI with insight into what constitutes good practice in its creation and use.

We have identified evidence for the following key findings in the literature:

  • ‚ÄčThere is a need for a clear and inclusive view about what is meant by LMI
  • Technology can improve access to LMI but can also create problems in terms of quality
  • The LMI available to service users is not always sufficiently comprehensive 
  • For the end-user, the quality of LMI is more important than quantity
  • Careers professionals need to be appropriately skilled in the use and mediation of LMI and keep their knowledge up to date
  • The use of LMI should be linked to insights derived from the developing 'theory' of careers decision-making

The findings of this review suggest that central, regional and local government action can play an important facilitative and integrating role, creating the conditions for a strong careers service based on good LMI. This report explores steps that could be taken to achieve this.