Looking for a job and hiring has been steadily turning into mostly online procedures ever since the introduction of the Internet. Along with providing multiple opportunities for employers and job seekers alike, online job postings have also created perfect conditions for tracking the labor market. Jobs data is now larger in volume and more accessible than ever before. It is time to look at the ways to leverage it for the most valuable labor market insights.
Online labor market
There are multiple ways to define and understand the online labor market. Each of the definitions provides its own set of tools for analysis. For example, we can look at the online freelance market and research how digital hiring practices affect the gig economy.
Another way to look at it is as a market for digital work. However, whichever way we analyze it, the key to understanding the labor market is job postings data. The information provided in online job sites allows one to look at the labor market from various angles.
Thus, whether you want to know more about how freelancers and contract workers impact hiring trends or the changing demand for digitally skilled employees, job postings data is what you need.
What makes up job postings data
To better understand how job postings data drives different research objectives, let us look at what particular information you can get out of it. The following data points are available in online job search platforms and professional social networks.
- Firmographic data on the hiring firm, such as industry and location.
- Position titles and descriptions.
- Hiring rates for particular positions.
- Hiring trends for specific companies, industries, locations, etc.
And these are only raw data that you can take at its face value to immediately derive important insights. There is much more you can get out of job postings data when you combine it with other pieces of information or analyze it in a broader context. For example, job postings can be part of your investment research to check if a particular startup is gaining traction and which areas they are focusing on.
Using the data
Job postings data is used by everyone starting with universities and governmental research centers, to arrive at strategically important labor market insights. Business research agencies and other companies derive benefits from online job postings in the following ways.
1) Fast and dynamic source of information. Alternative data sources become more useful than traditional ones precisely because they change according to real-life changes. Job postings inform of the current situation in labor markets in terms of what companies are actually looking for.
2) Covers multiple angles of the labor market. With job postings data, you can do any kind of research. If you are interested in business growth in a particular area, look at job postings from the companies in that location. If you want to understand what types of skills are most wanted in the labor market, look at the skills that firms put in their job ads.
3) Tells more about competition than traditional data. Competing companies will keep the most important information close to their chest. Press releases will come rarely and will not tell you much. By analyzing job postings, you will know what the company is truly focusing on at a specific period.
4) Enables headhunting. When a company is looking for a high-profile role to be filled in, you know that they are preparing for changes. This signals that valuable employees are about to be out of a job and available for offers. Yours could be the first and best-prepared offer when you have the right data in time.
These and other ways to use job postings data makes this source of information a goldmine for those interested in labor markets.