Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Why Is Labor Data An Important Piece of the Career Development and Job “Landing” Process?

Let’s first address what is Labor Data. Labor Market Information (LMI) includes all quantitative or qualitative data and analysis related to employment and the workforce. In other words, LMI looks at how many jobs are available and the quality of those jobs in the workforce. This is of course a simplified definition. The goal of LMI is to help job seekers, career changers, customers, educational systems and businesses make informed plans, choices, and decisions for a variety of reasons.

So why should job seekers look at LMI? The data can provide confidence, focus and motivation while they are pursuing a new career or career pathway.

Case Studies

Chris B. is considering a career in Information Technology. He has worked in Digital Printing for years. He started out as a technician completing the printing orders and eventually acquired a Bachelors to move up the career ladder. Over time he migrated to fulfillment manager where he managed several areas of the printing operations. He acquired technology skills by working with various software applications and Point of Sales Software to help facilitate operations. Chris is ready for a change but one where he can leverage his strongest transferable skills some of which include technology, engaging and helping others.

Through Chris’ initial LMI research he learned that the IT industry, including the cybersecurity sector, is expected to grow by 18% or 485,000 jobs between 2012 - 2022. The average median annual salary for computer/IT occupations was $81,430 in May 2015 per the Occupational Outlook Handbook. In addition, his research showed that information security analysts, computer systems analysts, software developers, and Web developers will be in top demand.

LMI data from CareerOneStop also showed Chris that with a 17 month to 2 year degree program, his earning potential will be close to 50k in NC and even higher in other parts of the US. For an entry-level Computer User Support Specialist position, which Chris is thinking of pursuing as his entry point, there are expected to be 15,050 Computer User Support Specialist Positions of varying levels added annually within the US.

While Chris doesn’t want to relocate, he knows he can move to another state because this job occupation is in demand. According to LMI data found on OnetOnline.org, Computer User Support Specialist is also known as Technical Support Specialist, Help Desk Analyst, Application Specialist and others.


Chris used Career OneStop to collect LMI on Employers that might hire him when he finished his training at a community college, technical school or area university. According to his research, he learned that over 100 employers had immediate job listings posted for Computer User Support Specialist in his state. These job listings correspond to the Standard Occupation Code (SOC) 15-1151.

With this preliminary data, Chris can begin making steps to pursue an occupation as a Computer User Support Specialist (I, II, III, IV). His motivation is high because he knows when he finishes his training the opportunities are there.

Naomi S. has been working as a Sales Manager for over 10 years. Within her Business Management work, she analyzes her sales projections and calculations by creating spreadsheets and word documents that resembled that of an advanced Excel or MS Word user. She uses macros and created spreadsheets to make operation decisions clearer. She doesn’t have a BS but several certificates in various areas. Using LMI data, Naomi has determined that a career as a Web Developer might be a strong option for her. She tends to migrate toward job functions that allow her to use her hands and solve problems at the same time. She is investigative by nature.

Naomi’s research started with OnetOnline as well. She learned that the average salary for web programmers is $64K and within the next 10 years there will be projected job openings of 58,600. This is approximately a growth rate of 27% for this job title alone. Of the respondents that participated in OnetOnline’s Web Programmer profile research, 20% of the respondents had Associate degrees while another 13% had a post-secondary certificate. Naomi’s confidence increases because she knows that she may not have to spend the time pursuing a Bachelors to enter the field. Her chances are decent for landing a job by acquiring an Assoc or Certificate.

The Occupation Outlook Handbook showed Naomi that there are similar occupations related to Web Developer that she could explore such as computer programmer, software developer and database administrators. While many of these similar occupations may require a BS or higher, Naomi can weigh those decisions prior to investing large amounts of time and money.

similar occupations.png

Naomi explores Career OneStop to collect LMI data related to the Information Technology industry with respect to her local area. Her research shows that in 2013 there were 1569 establishments that specialized in Professional, Scientific, Technical and Computer System Design Services (Industry Group # 5415) in her state. This same industry profile showed that over 42k were employed in North Carolina and the average wages paid in the IT sector was $84,760.

Naomi will begin to focus on companies classified under this number and network within this industry to ensure she is well connected with companies. She can land with one of these companies by the time she finishes her degree/certification.


Additionally, view a complete list of the top IT professions, with salaries and education level required.

If you are interested in working with a career coach, contact Smart Moms info@smart-moms.net