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Labour Market and Skills intelligence


IER’s research theme on the labour market and skills intelligence is a cross cutting theme drawing upon our strengths as an interdisciplinary team. It has an established track record in investigating the interface between the labour market and that of the education and training system. We have adopted an interdisciplinary approach to analysing the extent, causes and consequences of skill deficiencies, making a major contribution to national debates at both national and international levels.


IER has an international reputation in labour market assessment and forecasting, and is a leader in this field in the UK. IER has been engaged in medium-term labour market projections since 1975. IER’s forecasts have been undertaken for UK government departments under the Working Futures banner and in Europe for Cedefop. Working Futures represents the most comprehensive and detailed set of labour market projections produced in the UK, covering all countries, regions and local areas. The projections also provide sectoral, occupational and qualifications data. IER 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.

IER has built up a significant reputation in occupational research, in defining and classifying occupations as well as understanding ways of measuring and monitoring occupational change. This work has been combined with in-depth labour market analysis and the design of socio-economic classification systems and related software developments. IER have been involved in the development of the UK Standard Occupational Classification framework (SOC), namely SOC2000, SOC2010 and SOC2020. IER has wide ranging expertise in methods of coding and has developed coding for statistics for higher education and methods of complex coding.

IER has a long tradition of engaging in research around skills. Our skill anticipation, foresight and assessment research is wide-ranging. It includes an analysis of skills supply and demand at occupational, regional and sectoral levels. Important here is being able to identify skill mismatches and prioritise their importance. This has been an important element of the IER’s research in this area.

More recently, IER has expanded its work in this field to big data analysis and real-time labour market analysis. Work has been piloted within the Department for Education LMI for All service where a vacancy dataset has been developed by scraping and classifying job vacancies. Further work, using various techniques, has focused on classifying data to the SOC2020 extension and identifying green skills. Text mining techniques are also being applied to identifying emerging skill needs in relation to certain technologies at the sectoral level.

Research areas

  • Labour market and skills forecasting
  • Labour market assessment and classification
  • Skill anticipation and assessment
  • Skill surveys
  • Skill foresight
  • Big data analysis
  • Real-time labour market analysis