|Labour Market Signals and Indicators - Education Research Paper No. 15 (DFID, 1996, 107 p.)|
1. Major benefits can be derived from relatively small and low-cost improvements in the provision of labour market information (LMI), derived from the more effective uses of labour market signals and indicators.
2. These benefits are only achievable if both demand-side and supply-side organisations have the technical capacity, awareness and the will to make use of LMI in order to improve TVET provision.
3. Such benefits are most likely to be achieved if cooperation and support in the collection and analysis of LMI are obtained from the wide range of intermediate organisations with a stake in a more responsive TVET system.
4. The increasing global significance of the informal employment sector point to the need for decentralised labour market analysis systems and local provision responsive to the sector's changing needs.
5. Preparations for any TVET investment project should include an analysis of the capacity of TVET organisations to make use of LMI. This analysis should incorporate:
- the extent to which institutional autonomy enables curriculum provision to be adjusted to meet labour market needs and income from activities which meet these needs to be retained at institutional level;
- their technical capacity to collect, analyze and interpret appropriate information; and
- their organisational capacity to make use of this information, once analyzed, in planning appropriate curricula and deciding on longer term strategies and investment plans.
6. Where this analysis identifies that training institutions meet the above criteria, they should be supported in five areas:
- awareness of the value of LMI;
- design of appropriate LMI systems;
- training to acquire low cost techniques for collecting LMI;
- training in (and, where appropriate, software for) the analysis and interpretation of LMI; and
- the development of management skills so that LMI might inform institutional policies, improve responsiveness and reform training programmes.
7. Development strategies are required which encourage both employers and government agencies and departments to recognise the benefits to themselves of more responsive training organisations - and the role that the provision of appropriate LMI can play in that.
8. Governmental and other central agencies (such as employer associations) should concentrate on strategies which take account of longer term needs and national global trends, which complement local LMI and provide clear advice and guidance to training organisations.
9. Support should be provided for government and other appropriate agencies in the techniques of collecting, analyzing and interpreting LMI - support focused on the researchers and other technical staff involved in manpower planning and labour market analysis.
10. Support is also required for those with responsibility for using the outcomes of labour market research in order to plan TVET responses to labour market trends and needs.
11. The wide variety of central organisations currently collecting LMI should be strongly encouraged to work together in coordinating efforts, avoiding duplication and sharing outcomes. Where appropriate, a labour market research unit, independent of specific government departments, should be promoted as the most effective means for coordinating existing initiatives.
12. Training provision should include the skills required for efficient data collection using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Training in suitable sampling techniques should increase the reliability (and perhaps reduce the collection costs) of both qualitative and quantitative data. Training in qualitative techniques should include newspaper scanning in terms of job opportunities and wage levels, the effective uses of key informants, the informal gathering of market intelligence, and forecasting techniques based on scenarios projected from national and international policies and trends.
13. Training is required, not only in the use of the appropriate computer technologies but also in those analytical skills which can bring together diverse signals and indicators and draw from them meaningful trends and conclusions. Training programmes for staff from different countries involved in the processing and interpretation of data can reveal the extent to which the skills and approaches promoted through such training are transferable across different national systems.
14. Access to new data analysis technologies in terms of both hardware (computers and networks) and software (data analysis packages) can, when accompanied by relevant training. shorten analysis times and help countries leapfrog some of the barriers arising from insufficient technical staff with statistical skills.
15. Aid projects should include strategies which influence, support and educate decision makers in the uses of LMI. These should include placements, work shadowing and study visits.
16. Consultants working in and with TVET institutions should work to develop good links with employers and their associations and train local staff to gather labour market intelligence which contributes to the curriculum development processes.