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Technology and Student Recruitment in Higher Ed

Technology and Student Recruitment in Higher Ed

Author: Joyce Bott

This tutorial features a new online Labour Market Information tool that was recently purchased for Brock university and will highlight reasons we believe this tool will help boost student recruitment and retention efforts with prospective and current students. We will also be talking about how this tool can be used for program planning, as well as help close the gap between degrees offered at Brock and Labour market needs in Canada.

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1.0 What is Labour Market Information (LMI)?

Before we talk about Brock's new online LMI tool, we thought it would be helpful to quickly review what Labour Market Information is.

Labour market information tells a story about what is happening in a particular place from the perspective of the supply and demand of labour.

Labour supply refers to the people who are currently working or looking for employment.

Labour demand represents the total number of jobs available in the economy and is driven by the decision of firms to produce goods and services.

Labour market information is typically organized by: Time periods, Sector, Industries, and Geographic areas; and provides a breakdown of the labour force by Age, Gender, Ethnic Background, Education Level and Skills.

Many labour market tools provide detailed information on:

  • Occupations (job profiles by industry/sector, education requirements, average wages, and skill requirements)
  • Trends that may be emerging in the local labour market such as the growth or decline of an occupation, industry or sector

1.1 What kind of Labour Market Information is available in Canada?

In Canada, we can draw on the following public sources of LMI:

  1. Census Canada (2001, 2006, NHS 2011):
    • Annual Employment and Earnings by Class of Worker, Industry, Occupation
  2. Labour Force Survey (LFS):
    • Annual Employment and Earnings by Industry, Province/Territory
  3. Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH):
    • Monthly Employment and Earnings by Industry, Province/Territory
  4. Canadian Business Patterns (CBP):
    • Annual Employment/Earnings by Class of Worker, Industry, Occupation, Province
  5. Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS):
    • Industry and Occupation Employment Projections, Canada
  6. Postsecondary Student Information System (PSIS):
    • Program graduates by institution
    • Program graduates by award level
  7. Online LMI databases:

Although this information is publicly available, it's not very user friendly, especially if you're a prospective student looking for a career. You have to go into the different databases to get different bits of information, and it's not very clear how the labour market information is connected to academic programs offered at PSE institutions.

2.0 Brock's new LMI Web Tool: Career Coach

2.1 What is Career Coach?
Career Coach is a online labour market database that integrates with a PSE institution's website. It basically takes all of the data sources listed above and puts it all in one place. Although the Career Coach interface is similar across all institutions that use Career Coach, what makes it unique for each institution is that the LMI data is mapped to the institution's unique program offerings. So ultimately, Career Coach is a way for us to draw prospective students from a career that they're interested in, to programs offerings at Brock that will help them get there.

2.2 Career Coach Video
Career Coach Explainer Video

2.3 Career Coach Activity

NOTE: If the above link doesn't work, it means we've gone LIVE. Just remove the "demo" from the URL. The LIVE link will be

2.4 Career Coach Activity Sheet


3.0 How Various Departments at Brock can Utilize Career Coach:

  1. Recruitment and Retention
    1. The most common question we get from students is what can I do with my degree? And the parents of perspective and current students are often asking about the types of jobs that our degrees will lead to. These questions are commonly asked at Brock’s recruitment events, during orientation, and throughout their university experience.
    2. Career Coach is an effective tool for supporting Brock’s recruitment efforts. It has been proven to increase webpage visits by thousands of hits per month; it also comes with web analytics that show where these viewers are coming from geographically and what search terms they are using (what jobs are they searching).
    3. For prospective students, having a tangible tool that directly connects personal interests to careers and educational programs will be helpful in their educational decision making process.
    4. For current students, linking careers to degrees is an ongoing challenge. Having a clear understanding of the value of their degrees, and how their acquired knowledge and skills can be applied to the workplace is an issue at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  2. Co-op and Experiential Learning
    1. Career Coach and the analytical features can also be useful to support work integrated learning opportunities. The tool can help identify which industries are actively employing people with particular job skills, which can support outreach efforts to develop coops, internships, and other forms of experiential learning opportunities. It can also identify what skills students need to develop in school to make them more marketable upon graduation.
  3. Program Planning
    1. The LMI database that Career Coach is based on, Analyst (not available to the public), lets us do further analytics around degrees produced at Ontario institutions vs. labour market demand. For example, if we were to come up with a new program proposal for Brock, we could use Analyst to show how unique the program is compared to other universities across Canada (are other universities offering similar programs).
    2. We could also use the Analyst tool to show us where in Canada is the best place to go for a particular job occupation (which region in Canada has the strongest industry for a particular job occupation).

4.0 What's the Controversy and Why is Brock the First University to Use Career Coach in Canada?

  1. Ontario's new Differentiation Framework for Post-Secondary Education
    • Established on November 2013 in response to the following challenges facing Ontario: Declining demographic of 18-20 year olds; huge provincial deficit (need to spend money more wisely)
    • Purpose is to improve Ontario's PSE system by helping institutions build on their individual strengths and reduce redundancies in academic programming (to avoid institutions all offering the same programs and competing for the same pond of fish)
    • Provincial priorities highlighted in the framework include:
      1. Social and Economic Development (jobs and productivity)
      2. High-quality Educational Experience (experiential learning)
      3. PSE Financial Sustainability and Accountability (affordable education)
      4. Access for all Qualified Learners (access for minority students)
      5. Work Class Research and Innovation (sharing knowledge with world)
      6. Collaboration and Pathways for Students (to provide enhanced learning opportunities for students)
  2. Strategic Mandate Agreements (SMA's)
    • Established with 45 publicly funded colleges and universities to ensure Differentiation Framework is carried out
    • Each SMA agreement highlight's the institution's key area of differentiation, differentiation goals, required metrics that show progress towards these goals (ex. Brock's Key area of differentiation is on work-based learning, service learning and small group learning)
    • Any request we make to MTCU (i.e. new program approvals), will be based on the goals we have identified in our SMA agreement.
  3. MTCU's new PSE funding model (to be announced within the next year)
    • Will no longer be enrolment driven
    • Will be tied to the performance metrics identified in each institution's SMA - so a portion of our funding will be held back unless we can show satisfactory progress towards our differentiation goals
  4. Bottom Line: University programs are typically not designed with particular careers in mind. Universities programs are usually designed to encourage collaboration and critical thinking. However, Ontario's new Differentiation Framework makes economic development a priority for all Post-secondary institutions. Career Coach is a tool that will help Brock connect academic programs to careers that are in in demand, to support a growing economy in Ontario.

    5.0 Other Technology used in the Program-to-Job-Occupation Mapping Process

    5.1 Tableau Dashboarding Software - Where are Brock alumni getting jobs?:

    5.2 Fluidsurveys Software:

    5.3 Alumni Profiles on LinkedIn:

    APPENDIX A: Ontario's Differentiation Framework


    APPENDIX B: Strategic Mandate Agreement - Brock University