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Providing UK employment forecasts to inform analysis and policy development

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. This work has included forecasting work on the UK labour market through the Working Futures projects and on Europe through work funded by CEDEFOP providing regular medium-term forecasts of skill needs (demand and supply).

Working Futures is a quantitative assessment of future employment prospects for UK and is the most comprehensive and detailed model of the UK labour market available. It projects the future size and shape of the labour market by considering employment prospects by industry, occupation, qualification level, gender and employment status. The Working Futures series consists of six waves of analysis and provides high quality information on UK labour market prospects to inform the decisions of policy makers, education and training providers, employers and individuals. They 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.

IER, in collaboration with Cambridge Econometrics, has been producing a new round of Working Futures projections. The main and the summary report have been published in February 2020 by the Department of Health and are accessible here. For the four nations and nine English regions, the main report includes:

  • Future prospects for output, productivity and employment by detailed industry sector;
  • Future occupational structure of employment at an aggregate level and within industries, taking account of the gender and employment status profile within occupations;
  • Future replacement demands by occupation within industries;
  • Future profile of employment by the level of highest qualification held by workers;
  • Future prospects for labour supply.

The report also assess employment prospects at a local level through the production of indicative projections by industry and occupation, including for Local Enterprise Partnership areas in England. The Projections include a detailed analysis of employment prospects with an extension of the occupational results to the full 4-digit level of SOC 2010 to be delivered to the LMI for All project

IER’s forecasting work has had a major impact in the areas of:

  • Development of careers information tools, including UKCES’ LMI for All and Careers of the Future open data tools;
  • Informing collective decisions by employers concerning skills solutions and by employer-led bodies such as Industrial Partnerships to inform their strategic thinking;
  • Facilitating providers’ understanding of future demand in the learning market;
  • National government analysis and policy development (e.g., development of UK industrial strategies) and by local organisations (e.g., Local Enterprise Partnerships) as a source of intelligence for strategy development of the local economies.

The Institute Forecasting Service provides the mechanism by which those who require more detailed information can obtain data customised to their own requirements.

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