Skills forecasting: supply and demand

The Labour Market Intelligence Partnership's research agenda is organised in six priority areas. Each research area has a leading subject specialist or team at its helm and a unique objective, design and methodology.

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Learn more about LMIP research leaders Asghar Adelzadeh from the Applied Development Research Solutions and Associate Professor Peliwe Lolwana of the University of Witwatersrand 

Context and research objectives

The major objective of LMIP research in this area is to support strategic thinking and policy-making at the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), and to build the capacity of the DHET and Sectoral Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) to anticipate trends in the demand for and supply of skills from the education and training sector.

Our specific research objectives include:

- Building a holistic and sustainable linked macro-education model with which to regularly generate projections of supply and demand of skills in the economy.

- Producing projections of demand and supply for skills from the education sector under alternative ‘what if’ scenarios related to the evolution of the economy, the labour market, key external drivers, and key policy changes and prospective reforms.

- Building capacity at the DHET, as well as SETA's, to effectively use the model.

Design and methodology

The approach that is used to achieve the above objectives involves six steps:

1. Producing projections of future demand for labour in the South African economy using the ADRS forecasting multi-sector macroeconomic model.

2. Researching the historical and statistical links between demand for labour and demand for occupations and education skills, and constructing computer modules that translate the macro model’s annual projection of future sector demand for labour into corresponding demand for occupations and educational skills.

3. Researching replacement demand and building a computer module for the model to produce projections of replacement demand annually.

4. Researching the supply of skills from the education and training sector, and building new computer modules for projecting supply of skills.

5. Building a computer module for comparing the model’s skills demand and supply projections in order to provide predictions and estimates of possible labour market imbalances and skill mismatches.

6. Establishing a fully tested and validated linked macro-education model that captures the dynamic interaction between its detailed macroeconomic model and its education components to produce current and future projections of demand and supply for occupations and educational skills.

Research in this area is organised as a distinct joint project of the Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL) of the University of the Witwatersrand and Applied Development Research Solutions (ADRS). It is governed under a separate contract with the DHET but is conceptually a critical part of the LMIP.