The Occupational Compass
2008 - present
The Occupational Compass is a guidance service with an open-access website that shows prospects for about 200 professions. It is primarily aimed at people who need support in their career choices or work.
Provide job seekers and others concerned with advanced labour market information, in order to match demand and supply of skills. Deliver short-term (1 year) and long-term (5-10 years) skills anticipation for around 200 occupations (80% of the labour market), supported by advisory councils at sector level, alongside a council of vocational experts.
The service provides regional level information about the future prospects for 200 major professions, thus aiming at making information available among job seekers and study and career counsellors that can facilitate an effective matching.
Aim of policy instrument
Main responsible body
The Swedish Public Employment Service (Swedish: Arbetsförmedlingen)
The service is directed to users by the Swedish Public Employment Service. Job seekers, study and career counsellors, providers of education etc can all use the service. The government is funding the service via annual grants to the Swedish Public Employment Service, who is implementing and developing the service, and updating the website.
The equivalent of approximately six people per year works full time with the instrument at the Swedish Public Employment Service. The costs are covered by administrative allocation from the Government to the Swedish Public Employment Service.
Use of labour market intelligence
The Occupational Compass contains forecast information for the next year. The assessment is based on the employment agency's forecasting work and is done at the local level. The results are then weighted for a regional and national assessment. The forecasts are presented in user-friendly interfaces on the Swedish Public Employment Service's website. It contains a short summary of the forecast, a map showing regional differences and a basic 'measuring instrument' that shows overall competition in the profession.
The Swedish Public Employment Service provides the service and it is financed by the government through grants to the agency. No financial incentives are given to the users.
Frequency of updates
The Swedish Public Employment Service makes a forecast for labour market development in the near future twice a year. The forecast is based on interviews with private and public employers, and is presented in reports for the entire country and by region.
The Occupational Compass is constantly improving. This applies to both the forecast work that forms the basis of the compass, and how the information is presented on the web. It is important that the interface is updated so that users perceive that the service as available and modern.
Work to produce job forecasts involves a multi-step process which, in itself, involves risks. Therefore, the Swedish Public Employment Service argues that the staff work very carefully and methodically to make the information as correct and logical as possible. With so many people working in the process of producing job forecasts, and with the different geographic aspects, there is always a risk that the final material may contain errors.
The service is always up-to-date with two updates per year. The instrument has a simple, handy and concrete work model, where local offices help with the assessments. The simplicity is a success factor, as the instrument is based on a clear and logical approach in how the forecasts are created and how conclusions are drawn.
The effect of the instrument is not measured by indicators. The Swedish Public Employment Service has done user tests. The Agency states that they get positive feedback on the instrument from users in general.
Forecasts on demand for different professions are presented by other actors in the country. The innovative aspect of the service is that it provides the opportunity to get a regional and local image of the needs of specific professions. The interface is interactive so it is possible to navigate to reach for more information.
Evidence of effectiveness
No evaluations of the instrument impact is published. However, output of the Occupational Compass is often referred to in media and is often used by regional and local bodies throughout the year to describe the need of a particular profession. This suggests that users appreciate the tool. The Swedish Public Employment Service has done user tests. It has a high value for several target groups and is an important support for the employment agencies in their guidance work. The content of the compass is spread and used, for example, in an app. There is a great interest from other authorities, such as the Swedish National Agency for Education.
Engagement of stakeholders
One of the Swedish Public Employment Service's missions from the government is to help job seekers and employers to find each other. As long as the agency has this mission, the instrument is part of realising that task.
The opportunity to have a comparable regional and local image of the demand for different occupations is important for matching. Other countries can be inspired by the interface and the way it gathers the information.
There is most likely a continuous need for a tool that provides information on the labour market at regional and local level. Data on which the instrument is based is also collected for other purposes as well, so data will probably be available.