The importance of geospatial data to labor market information

By Eric M. Johnson, Robert Urquhart, Margaret M. O'Neil

School-to-work transition data are an important component of labor market information systems (LMIS). Policy makers, researchers, and education providers benefit from knowing how long it takes work-seekers to find employment, how and where they search for employment, the quality of employment obtained, and how steady it is over time. In less-developed countries, these data are poorly collected, or not collected at all, a situation the International Labour Organization and other donors have attempted to change. However, LMIS reform efforts typically miss a critical part of the picture—the geospatial aspects of these transitions. Few LMIS systems fully consider or integrate geospatial school-to-work transition information, ignoring data critical to understanding and supporting successful and sustainable employment: employer locations; transportation infrastructure; commute time, distance, and cost; location of employment services; and other geographic barriers to employment. We provide recently collected geospatial school-to-work transition data from South Africa and Kenya to demonstrate the importance of these data and their implications for labor market and urban development policy.


Johnson, E. M., Urquhart, R., & O'Neil, M. M. (2018). The importance of geospatial data to labor market information. (RTI Press Publication No. PB-0017-1806). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press.

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Eric M. JohnsonEric M. Johnson, PhD, Senior Research Economist, RTI International

Robert UrquhartRobert Urquhart, MBA, Executive Knowledge and Impact, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator

Margaret M. O'Neil

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