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Labor Market Data Play Growing Role in Higher Ed

Labor Market Data Play Growing Role in Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed

Jessica Blake
August 1, 2023
Higher ed administrators and researchers say collecting and analyzing labor market data has become increasingly important as big data grows, new analytics platforms emerge and external pressure for transparency intensifies.
University and college leaders across the country are increasingly looking to labor market information, or LMI, to showcase the employment outcomes of their graduates, their long-term earnings potential and the career trajectories of certain majors, among other measurements of postcollege success.
The reliance on such data comes at a time when higher ed is under growing scrutiny by students and parents, state and federal policy makers, and vocal and skeptical critics from various quarters—all questioning the high and rising cost of college and whether it provides a return on the investment.
A recent study by the Rutgers University Education and Employment Research Center found that LMI is also being used in program and curriculum reviews, recruitment and enrollment strategies, and student career advising because of “an enormous proliferation of data availability.”
“These data are coming into higher ed at a point when the issues of how to help prepare students for careers have heightened in importance and interest,” said Michelle Van Noy, director of the research center and co-author of two reports on the study. “Students come to higher education largely because they want to prepare for a good career … These labor market information resources are part of that trend.”
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