When time came for me to apply for university, I had to make a choice of where and what I would study. I was interested in a lot of subjects but was unsure what would be worth 4 years of my life. Ultimately, I met one of my parents’ friend who was studying finance and thought what he was doing sounded “cool”, so I applied to the same program and school as him.
A few years before that, my parents accepted a job in Canada, while knowing very little about the country or what it would be like to work here. Just like me, and my parents before me, most Canadians make numerous decisions – big and small – throughout their lives that come to define their job and career path.
Though in very different contexts, both my parents and I were labour market information (LMI) users – as are most Canadians and newcomers. Ultimately, the decisions we make about our education and career are shaped by, among other things, a flow of information we continuously consume and our diverse social and cultural experiences that influence how we interact with this information.
At LMIC, our mandate is to work with our partners to put relevant and accessible LMI into the hands of Canadians so they can make informed decisions. To do so, we started by recognizing the diffuse nature of LMI as well as the diversity of its users.
To better understand Canadians diverse LMI needs, we are conducting a major public opinion research study to identify how Canadians use LMI and what they find to be lacking in the current system.
What’s the survey about?
In partnership with Forum Research, LMIC is currently surveying over 20,000 individuals and organizations to better understand what information they use to make their education, workplace, and career decisions, as well as their opinions about the quality – of both content and form – of this information.
In total, we are surveying nine user groups: employed people, unemployed people, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants, recent graduates, current college/ university students, parents, career practitioners and employers (see table below). The collection process for eight of the surveys was designed to be representative within each province and territory, and representative of urban and rural communities within the 13 jurisdictions. The ninth survey, focusing on career practitioners (e.g., councillors, career coaches, etc.), is administered through LMIC’s stakeholder the Canadian Career Development Foundation, which is reaching across its pan-Canadian network to help us collect representative data.
Recognizing that most people might not explicitly recognize their use of labour market information, our questionnaires focus on the key decision each group made, is making or will make in planning their education and career pathways. We then move on to ask more detailed information on their use and appreciation LMI types and sources.
The questionnaires were designed in collaboration with specialists from LMIC and Forum and reviewed by subject matter experts from our National Stakeholder Advisory Panel and our LMI Expert Panel. Before data collection, questionnaires were pre-tested to adjust length and wording.
The data collection
Survey responses are collected by Forum Research online and though phone interviews. To supplement the employer survey conducted by Forum Research, a focused group of LMI experts and human resources strategists have been contacted through LMIC’s extensive stakeholder network. Data collection started in August 2018 and will be made available to the public in the fall of this year.
The results will be shared in different formats to serve the different needs of our partners.
The research findings will inform actionable recommendations for better LMI dissemination tools and methods. LMIC will also develop data resources and tools for partners to share with their networks and help get LMI into the hands of Canadians’. Going forward, we will establish ongoing partnerships LMI providers to further investigate their specific labour market information needs.
Emna Braham is a Senior Economist with LMIC. She is currently working to assess the state of labour market information in Canada and conducting forward-looking research in collaboration with stakeholders.