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Labour Market Information Needs of Sociodemographic Groups

We asked over 15,000 Canadians about how they use labour market information and what they find lacking in the current system. These results are now published on our new pan-Canadian dashboard featuring the key labour market information needs by age group, urban/rural location, and gender.

Exploring the results within these three main sociodemographic groups reveals some interesting findings. First, younger Canadians think labour market information is more difficult to find and understand than their elders. Second, people living in rural areas are looking for the same types of information as city dwellers. Third, women appear to use a broader range of labour market information sources than do men. These findings are discussed below, but check out the dashboard yourself to see what patterns interest you the most.

The Generation Gap

Findings from this new view of our public opinion research results offer important insights into where efforts to improve the labour market information system need to be most focused. By exploring the dashboard, you’ll learn that far fewer young Canadians (aged 15–24) think labour market information (LMI) is easy to understand (58%) than those aged 25–44 (65%) or 45 years and older (70%). Young people were also less likely to think that finding LMI is easy. Only 43% say so compared to 52% and 57% among the two older groups.

No Urban/Rural Divide

On the other hand, there were some clear similarities across the various groups in terms of the types of labour market information they sought. For example, the top five labour market information needs were the same for urban and rural respondents: 1) wages, 2) skill requirements, 3) benefits, 4) workplace environment, and 5) certifications. In fact, there was almost no difference in the frequency with which rural and urban Canadians identified specific LMI needs. The greatest difference was about wages, identified by 62.4% of urban dwellers versus 58.7% of those in rural areas — a difference of only 3.7 percentage points.

Women Ask for Direction

Some interesting gender differences regarding typical sources for labour market information were observed. While both men and women report job advertisement websites and friends/family as their top two LMI sources, women seek information at a much higher rate. Of the female respondents, 47% use job websites for their LMI and 45% rely on friends and family, versus 38% and 39% of men, respectively. Women were also more likely to use social media — 30% versus 26% of men. In general, these results suggest that more females use a broader range of labour market information sources than their male counterparts.

Stay Tuned for More Info

The sociodemographic lens now available on our pan-Canadian dashboard builds on our previous data releases from our public opinion research. Analysis was done for such groups as recent immigrants, students, and parents as well as a separate dashboard on labour market information use by employers. We have also released a number of LMI Insights focusing on the impact of LMI, how easy it is to find and to understand, the top LMI needs, and LMI challenges.

With the data reported in this dashboard, we are launching a deep dive into the survey results to isolate differences in LMI use and effective communication channels across a range of social, demographic, and economic factors. We will be releasing the results of this in-depth research later this year. Stay tuned and stay connected — more is yet to come!


Tony Bonen is LMIC’s Director, Research, Data and Analytics. He leads LMIC’s team of economists, investigating everything from Canada’s diverse labour market information needs to the potential implications of the changing nature of the world of work.

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