THE CHANGING LABOUR MARKET
Click here for a fun quiz on The Changing
Labour Market in Northern Ireland
The UK has changed from a predominantly manufacturing and agriculturally based economy to one that is increasingly service based. One of the results of this is that the number of jobs in skilled and semi-skilled work is declining. Employers are increasingly looking for people with higher level qualifications to fill clerical, technical and professional level work. If the labour market is in constant flux, this has major implications for Careers Guidance within all schools. Alongside the changing labour market then, it is clear that Careers information, Advice and Guidance also needs to change. We at St Mary's are attempting to bridge this existing gap with a comprehensive, relevent and up to date CEIAG Programme right from Year 8 to Year 14.
So what has changed in the Labour Market exactly?
INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY TO INFORMATION SOCIETY
Manufacturing has shrunk and there is much greater emphasis on service industries. There has been an explosion of IT and we now inhabit a much more clearly knowledge based economy.
NATIONAL ECONOMY TO WORLD ECONOMY
It is clear that we now operate in a global labour market. There is greater mobility of people and goods. Multi-national corporations have global profiles. It no longer makes sense to think only in terms of a local or even national labour market. Even those who choose not to geographically move themselves may be affected by global forces. The availability of cheaper labour overseas leading to factory closures in the UK is one example, or the increasing need to speak more than one language in order to negotiate effectively with suppliers and customers based overseas.
CORE PERMENANT STAFF TO OUTSIZING
There has been a trend to contract out in all sorts of industries. Most of us will have seen or worked in organisations where permanent staff are replaces by contract operators for e.g. cleaning or portering who can be brought in on a 'when needed' basis rather than being retained on permanent contracts.
EXPANSION TO DOWNSIZING
Associated perhaps with the above, there is a trend for smaller, leaner workforces that work smarter rather than harder who are multi-skilled, flexible and able to multi-task.
WORKING ALONE TO WORKING IN A TEAM
There is a great emphasis on the ability to work as part of multi-disciplinary teams to increase creativity and productivity. Very few workers now will operate in isolation and autonomy.
INCREASING EMPHASIS ON TRANSFERRABLE SKILLS
Even if people don't change organisations during their working lives, it is still very likely the nature of their jobs will evolve and change. This being so, a key trend is the need for transferable skills which can be applied to new situations and circumstances if required. A key transferable skill might be verbal communication and a competency might be interpersonal effectiveness.
Next Page: How to meet these challenges head on.