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Labour market information tells you about the workplace or labour market. Labour market information describes the condition of the labour market, past and present, as well as future projections. It makes clear where work opportunities are increasing or decreasing, what occupations exist, what you need to study to become a professional in that occupation, what is required to take up an occupation, how one can find a job, change job or progress in a career.


And what about labour market intelligence? Labour market intelligence refers to labour market information that has been analysed and interpreted before presenting it to the public. Essentially most careers information is labour market intelligence. In this toolkit we use the notion of labour market information referring to both labour market information and labour market intelligence.

You can discover the definition of labour market information for lifelong guidance here:


The labour market information for lifelong guidance is defined as information about the following items:

  1. Labour market profile and trends including employment, unemployment and earnings outlooks by sector, occupation. Data should be available at a national, regional and local dimension where statistically reliable information and non-disclosive data are available. Basic principles of labour market regulation, laws and labour market policies.
  2. Trends in skills, including skills needs and mismatches, skills gaps, together with current and future skill demands. The regional and local dimension should be included if statistically reliable and non-disclosive information is available.
  3. Information on occupations including information on skills requirements, educational background, interests, working conditions, skills shortages, pay and earnings.
  4. Entry and progressions routes into and through occupations including job vacancies
  5. Entry and progression routes in education and training in order to gain skills for an occupation, or bridge a skills gap for a desired occupation.
  6. Career planning information on where to find information and assistance
  7. Equal opportunities and diversity issues (support measures), and changing workforce profile

What is good labour market information?

The quality standards for labour market information should be high because labour market information has many dimensions (as was shown in the definition) and is not easy to work with. You can find the quality criteria for labour market information for lifelong guidance here.

What is good labour market information for lifelong guidance?

High quality labour market information should have the following characteristics:

  • Accuracy (eg statistically reliable)
  • Completeness eg in terms of sectors, regions
  • Timeliness: recent data, frequently updated
  • Relevance to user needs and adapted needs of different user groups
  • Attractive and available in different formats (i.e. pictures, infographics, tables, charts, graphs and videos)
  • Accessibility: taking into account different capabilities and backgrounds, easy to understand text, access without registration, at low cost or free of charge as much as possible, plus available in electronic and hard copy
  • Impartial: the information provided is in accordance with the user’s interest only, is not influenced by provider, institutional and funding interests, and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, age, ethnicity, social class, qualifications, ability.
  • Have authority
  • Comparability of data over time, over different geographical levels
  • Include local or regional information in order to show the possibilities in the region where one lives but at the same time in other regions (can encourages mobility)
  • Transparent: sources of data are indicated
  • Be easy to update
  • Forward looking
Example of forward looking LMI

Future employment growth (% change) across sectors in EU in 2015-2025

Source: Skills Panorama, Cedefop


Some specific points of attention are the following:

  • Individuals users expect attractive labour market information. It is important that the labour market information is presented in a visually appealing way in websites, infographs, online tools, brochures, …Moreover, the LMI should be presented in different ways in order to meet different information needs and learning styles (and abilities) of clients.  In addition to this, users like to try things out, to experiment, to do something, to have access to inspiring activities at employer’s premises. 
  • In your work, it can be challenge to find a balance between providing neutral and objective career advice based on impartial labour market information and the aim and strategy of the organization you are working for.
    • Example 1: career guidance and education by a sector federation is focussing on only one sector whereas opportunities usually exist in a number of sectors;
    • Example 2: employment counsellors in public employment services may be forced to seek a balance between case load objectives and fast activation targets on one hand and individual preferences or untapped potential of jobseekers on the other hand.
    • Example 3: there is a risk for biased or selective information in brochures promoting educational programmes
  • Labour market information can be acquired formally and informally. Formal labour market information is spread over many different sources. There is a wealth of labour market information available online in websites, databases, apps, social media, video’s, ….. More specific information on ICT and LMI can be found here

The complexity of labour market information requires good navigation skills. For many clients, it is necessary that career practitioners play a role as an interface between labour market information sources and the clients. Career practitioners adapt, interpret, repack labour market information and use it in to educate, inform, advice and guide clients. How can you do this? Learn more about integration of LMI in lifelong guidance in the next chapter