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Labour market forecasting

The Institute was a pioneer in the area of labour market assessment and forecasting work in the UK. In various guises, it has been engaged in medium term labour market projections since 1975. Its first detailed employment forecasts were published in Britain’s Medium Term Employment Prospects (1978) and in Economic Change and Employment Policy (1980). Subsequently, the results of the Institute’s annual assessments were made available in the Review of the Economy and Employment with summaries in the Institute’s Bulletin. The Institute has produced forecasts on behalf of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (and its partners) under the Working Futures banner. The latter represent the most comprehensive and detailed set of labour market projections ever produced in the UK, covering all countries and regions and local LSC areas. The projections also provide considerable sectoral detail, including results for the Sector Skills Councils. The focus is on occupations and qualifications.

The Institute remains at the forefront of employment forecasting with an international reputation for the quality of its work. The details of the philosophy behind the Institute’s work in this area and the methods used, have always been in the public domain. (See, for example, the Institute’s contributions to Labour Market Forecasts by Occupation and Education: The Forecasting Activities of Three European Labour Market Research Institutes. (H. Heijke, ed. 1994, Massachusetts: Kluwer Academic). The Institute remains committed to developing projections using the best data and methods available and making the process of forecasting as transparent and straightforward as possible to users. It is currently engaged in a major project funded by CEDEFOP to produce consistent employment projections across the whole of Europe.

The production of such forecasts inevitably encourages a demand for greater amounts of detail. The Institute Forecasting Service provides the mechanism by which those who require more detailed information can obtain data customised to their own requirements. A separate document summarises the kind of information that is available.

Methodological Review of Labour Market Forecasting at National and Company Level - The Institute undertook an international review of such research, covering all European countries as well as many others, including the US, Canada and Australia. This was published under the auspices of CEDEFOP.

IER has an established track record in investigating the interface between labour markets and organisations, and changing employment boundaries and opportunities. We have adopted a multidisciplinary approach to analysing the extent, causes and consequences of skill deficiencies, making a major contribution to national debates. IER has undertaken considerable work on skills distribution and development at national, regional and local levels.

Key projects

  • CEDEFOP Pan European Employment Projections A Pan-European forecast of occupational skill needs and supplies in Europe.
  • Working Futures represents the most comprehensive set of employment projections available for the UK. Working Futures projections are available for: 2004-2014; and 2007-2017.
  • Skills in England 2007 provides a summary of the research evidence on the supply of, and demand for, skills . Previous versions of Skills in England are available here.
  • Local Economy Forecasting Model (LEFM) Software developed by IER and Cambridge Econometrics for labour market forecasting. A custom built computer package designed to enable users to produce their own economic projections for local areas within the UK.

Selected publications

  • Wilson, R.A. et al (2012) Future skills supply and demand in Europe: Forecast 2012, Cedefop Research Paper No. 26, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union
  • Wilson, R.A. et al (2012) Skills supply and demand in Europe: Methodological framework, Cedefop Research Paper No. 25, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union
  • Wilson, R.A., Bosworth, D. and Cambridge Econometrics (CE) (2011). Measuring the economic impact of further education. Report submitted to the Learning and Skills Council and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. London: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS research paper no. 38).
  • Curson, J.A., Dell, M.E., Wilson, R.A., Bosworth, D.L. and Baldauf, B. (2010). Who does workforce planning well?: Workforce review team rapid review summary. International Journal Of Health Care Quality Assurance, 23(1), pp. 110 - 119.
  • Wilson, R.A. and Livanos, I. (2010). Approaches to Modelling the supply of skills. Technical Report no. 003, Cedefop project on forecasting skill supply and demand in Europe. Brussels: CEDEFOP.

  • Wilson, R.A. and Kriechel, B. (2010). Forecasting skill supply and demand in Europe: imbalances and mismatches - reconciling the demand for and supply of skills. Technical Report no. 008, Cedefop project on forecasting skill supply and demand in Europe. Brussels: CEDEFOP.

  • Hay, G., Beaven, R., Faruq, O., Joshi, S., Zhao, Y., Wilson, R., Green, A. E., Owen, D. and Kik, G. (2010). UK Employment and Skills Almanac 2009: Evidence report 12. Wath-Upon-Dearne: UK Commission for Employment and Skills.
  • Wilson, R.A. (2010). Medium-term forecast of skill supply in Europe: overview and synthesis. Technical Report no. 010, Cedefop project on forecasting skill supply and demand in Europe. Brussels: CEDEFOP.

Further publications can be accessed from the IER publication pages.

Recent selected projects

  • Analysis of the future labour supply and demand in Germany, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (2011 - 2016) More Details
  • Forecasting skill supply and demand in Europe, CEDEFOP (2008 - 2012) More Details
  • Working Futures IV, UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) (2010 -2012) More Details
  • Ambition 2020 modelling, UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) (2011 -2012)
  • Regional Labour Market Forecasting Model, Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs (2010 - 2011) More Details
  • Anticipating Skills Needs of the Labour Force and Equipping People for New Jobs, Danish Technological Institute (2009 - 2011) More Details
  • East Lindsey Skills Audit, East Lindsey District Council (2009 - 2010) More Details
  • UK Seafarers Analysis - Annual Estimates of the Number of Seafarers (2008-2010), London Metropolitan University (2008 - 2010) More Details
  • Building, Broadening and Deepening the UK LMI Evidence Base, Cambridge Econometrics (2009 - 2010) More Details
  • New Skills for New Jobs: China and the EU, GHK Consulting Ltd (2009 - 2010) More Details
  • Labour Market Projections: 2008-2010, Scottish Enterprise (2007 - 2010) More Details
  • Medical Tech, Biotech and Life Sciences Sector Study, UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) (2009) More Details
  • Forecasts and Replacement Needs for Proskills Footprint, ProSkills UK (2009) More Details
  • Identification of the Skills Needs and Training Priorities in the Environmental Science Sector for the Next 10 Years, Research Councils' Procurement Organisation (2008 - 2009)
  • Medium-term Forecast of Skill Supply in Europe, CEDEFOP (2008 - 2009)

Links and other information

Key contact

Rob Wilson

Nick Sofroniou

Further information

Forecasting services

Warwick International Employment and Skills Symposium, held on 29 September 2011