If You Do What You Love, Will the Money Follow?October 24 , 2019

Choosing a career can be a daunting task. Much like trying to define “success,” it can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s about passion. Proverbial advice such as “find what you do best and get someone to pay you for doing it” or “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” guides their career choices. For others, it’s about affecting change and making their mark on society. For others still, it’s about finding the career that will allow them to enjoy a certain lifestyle.

Career decisions are complex

At LMIC, it’s our mandate to help Canadians make informed career-related decisions by increasing awareness, expanding accessibility, and improving the quality of labour market information (LMI). To that end, we began by asking all Canadians about the types of information they use and the challenges they face when making decisions about their careers and education. One interesting finding was the impact of parents, peers, and teachers on students’ chosen career goals and programs of study.

Currently, just over two million students are in full-time, post-secondary education (PSE) and training programs across Canada. To get a better sense of how these future labour force participants make their career decisions, we partnered with Refresh Market Research to launch a qualitative research study to identify the LMI needs and wants of first-year PSE students. The full results of this research will be available soon through a series of three LMI Insights, each dedicated to a particular theme: 1) understanding the most useful wage information for students, 2) understanding what insights into the future students are looking for (labour market outlooks and forecasts), and 3) understanding the skills information that students want.

Understanding the needs of those helping Canadians

In addition to exploring the LMI needs of students, we have also been working with the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF) to collect data on how both career practitioners and those they serve access and use LMI. This includes what information they need but cannot find. As part of this project, we are asking for recommendations on how to improve LMI access, content, and format.

If we aim to improve the information Canadians use to make important career decisions, we must also improve the information career practitioners have access to while supporting Canadians. Our research reveals that professionals too face challenges in making sense of LMI. These results, and others, will launch just in time for Canada Career Month in November.

Closing information gaps

A key finding that emerged from our Public Opinion Research was that students’ number one most sought after type of LMI is wages. That’s why we have partnered with the Education Policy Research Initiative to provide extensive new evidence on the labour market earnings of recent graduates by credential (e.g., college-level certificates, bachelor’s degree, professional degree, etc.) and field of study (e.g., business, health, arts, etc.). This report will be available in the upcoming months alongside several LMI Insights, blogs, and interactive tools.

Looking for more?

Next month, we will partner with CCDF as part of Canada Career Month to deliver a joint webinar on the important role of career practitioners in helping Canadians navigate their choices. The webinar will include an overview of our qualitative research results. Stay tuned to LMIC’s Twitter and LinkedIn accounts for updates on how to register.

At LMIC, we are making important strides in recognizing the labour market information needs and challenges of students. This includes understanding how to access the right information delivered at the right time in the right format. Much remains to be done for students (and all demographic groups) across Canada, and we are excited to continue this journey together. We look forward to sharing our upcoming projects and accomplishments in aiding all Canadians with access to better LMI.

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As an economist with LMIC, Anthony Mantione contributes to advancing LMIC’s mandate through the application of computational techniques to data analysis. 
anthony.mantione@lmic-cimt.ca

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