Vendor Product Review: A Consumer’s Guide to Real-Time Labor Market Information

Author(s): Dorrer, John and Milfort, Myriam.

Organizational Author(s): Jobs for the Future

Funding Source: Joyce Foundation
Lumina Foundation

Resource Availability: Publically available

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Summary

Reviews the products and services, cost, and methodological approach and data-quality procedures of six vendors of real-time labor market data in order to increase transparency for users regarding the data’s provenance, strengths and limitations, and any analyses that have gone into reports or projections. 

Description

“In recent years, a small number of private, for-profit software companies have developed real-time labor market information tools to transform job postings data into analytics. These firms are aggregating and coding data from job postings based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). They are licensing their data to state and local governments, workforce boards, educational institutions, and economic development and research organizations to enhance the understanding of local labor market conditions….Real-time data can help improve the understanding of hiring trends and employer demand, including certifications and skill requirements, by drawing on current information and consistent signals from the labor market….

Unlike most traditional sources of labor market information [(LMI)] provided by government agencies, which must disclose their methodologies and data sources, real-time LMI is the byproduct of Internet-based transactions and produced by private vendors operating in competitive markets. This presents a challenge because users of any data source should be aware of the method used to gather the data, the strengths and limitations associated with them, and the assumptions that go into producing reports and analyses….[Jobs for the Future (JFF) has] reviewed the products of multiple vendors of real-time LMI to assist individuals and institutions considering the adoption of this innovative technology….

[JFF] focused on six vendors, all of which have extraction, analysis, and de-duplication capabilities. To have an accurate picture of online postings, the firms included in this report employ complex algorithms to identify and remove duplicate online job postings. Without this ability, labor demand based on real-time LMI would be greatly inflated. This report evaluates:

·         Burning Glass Technologies (EmployOn/Labor Insight);

·         Wanted Technologies/Wanted Analytics;

·         Geographic Solutions;

·         Conference Board/Help Wanted Online (HWOL);

·         Career Builder/Supply-Demand Portal; and

·         Monster Government Solutions/Labor Market Analytics.

The data for this brief were gathered using a 42-question, open-response survey. The survey focused on three key areas:

·         Products and services;

·         Product costs and licensing; and

·         Methodological approach and data-quality procedures” (p.1-2).

(Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Summary Of Survey Findings[:]

Products and Services
• Respondents provide a wide range of products and services for human resources professionals, public workforce agencies, educational institutions, economic developers, One-Stops, and individuals.
• Respondents spider a variety of websites, including: corporate sites; newspapers; public and private job boards; and occupation-specific jobs boards.
• Products and services cover a wide geographic scope, including city, county, Metropolitan Statistical Areas, and state-level data.
• A small number of real-time LMI firms began collecting job-posting data in 2005. The date range for available data varies by company; analytical data are available between 2005 and 2012.

Product Cost and Licensing:
• Real-time LMI technologies are typically available for a fee. Licensing fees vary by product, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 for a single-user, one-year license.

Methodological Approach and Data-Quality Procedures

• Real-time LMI vendors spider up to 20,000 sites daily.
• Real-time LMI tools parse up to 4 million job postings daily.
• Several firms are investigating or provide “supply side” labor market analyses through the collection of resumes.
• Firms use both automated and manual procedures to scrape and spider job boards, to code various data elements, and for parsing and job matching.
• Real-time LMI technologies employ procedures to de-duplicate 60 to 90 percent of jobs ads collected. The rate of de-duplication varies by company.
• All firms surveyed or researched employ complex algorithms to increase integrity and reliability of data provided for analysis and decision making.
• The firms employ complex parsing, coding, and data-extraction procedures. Proper coding is one of the most critical aspects of turning job ads into analytical reports” (p.4).

The authors “recommend[] that potential clients take several steps before adopting any real-time LMI technology or system:
• Investigate the purchase as a collaborative effort with a consortium or with a network….
• Consider all available real-time LMI tools and systems….
• Recognize that real-time LMI is a complement to, not a replacement for, traditional labor market information….
• Discuss plans with early implementers, including…local and state LMI entities….
• Validate information received from real-time LMI tools...” (p.9).

Please note that this review took place in 2012.

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

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Publication Date: 2012
Posted: 5/19/2017 4:04 PM
Posted In: Workforce System Strategies
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