How can you be sure that you are teaching your students and postdocs the right things?

Analyzing job listings provides an evidence-based approach to determining workforce needs. The data can be used to guide an institution’s career development curriculum. Moreover, trainees can use the data to identify training opportunities that will best prepare them to achieve their career goals.

The Data

Boston University School of Medicine uses workforce data to help guide their career development programming. Job market reports are generated using a tool called Labor InsightTM by Burning Glass Technologies. The software mines millions of job postings from more than 40,000 sources. This tool provides real-time information about the job market, including:

  • Job titles
  • Employers
  • Skills (hard, soft, computer)
  • Location
  • Trends over time

For example, by looking at Industry Research Careers in 2017workforce data presented below can help answer questions such as:

  • Are there more jobs for biologists or chemists?
  • Which soft skills should we be teaching our trainees?
  • Are there more job openings in Research Triangle (Durham-Chapel Hill, NC) or San Diego, CA?

An informed Career Development Program

These data can aid your program on a variety of levels.

  1. At the institution level, data can be used to motivate or validate the creation of new courses, garner support for career development, and generally impact culture change.
  2. Within career development programs, data can inform the creation of new workshops and panel sessions.
  3. On the individual level, trainees can use data to follow up on Individual Development Plans, use trends to formulate goals, and consider geography in their career planning.