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What is a labour market?

A labour market matches potential employers – the demand for labour – with people who are available for work – the labour supply. Labour markets work at a local, regional, national and international level and show how economies operate.

Employment sectors

Careers are generally grouped into similar types, called sectors.

Career sectors
Sector Areas of jobs/careers in this sector
Retail and commercial enterprise
  • Retail
  • Fashion
  • Hospitality and catering
  • Hairdressing
  • Beauty therapy
  • Facilities management
  • Environmental services
  • Warehousing
  • Logistics
Leisure, travel and tourism
  • Leisure and sports
  • Travel services
  • Aviation operations
  • Cabin crew
Business, administration and law
  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Business and administration
  • Customer service
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Providing financial services
Information and communication technology
  • ICT and telecoms
  • Local authority
  • NHS
  • Education
  • Large private sector companies
Health, public services and care
  • Health and social care
  • Children and youth work
  • Healthcare support
  • Dental nursing
  • Pharmacy services and technicians
  • Optical retail
  • Housing support
  • Fire services
  • Libraries and records management
Construction planning and the built environment
  • Construction
  • Plumbing
  • Surveying
  • Electrical and electronic servicing
  • Heating
  • Ventilation
  • Air conditioning and refrigeration
Engineering and manufacturing technologies
  • Engineering and technology
  • Vehicle maintenance and repair
  • Bus and coach engineering and maintenance
  • Bus and coach driving
  • Rail transport engineering and services
  • Laboratory technicians
  • Marine industry
  • Glass industry
  • Food manufacture
  • Furniture and interiors
Art, media and publishing
  • Design
  • Creative and digital media
  • Photo imaging

Public, private or voluntary?

Sectors can also refer to whether a career or job is in the private, public or voluntary sector.

The private sector refers to privately owned businesses, either by a person or shareholders. Public sector jobs are those in the government or its agencies, while the voluntary sector refers to voluntary organisations (also known as charities) that are generally non-profit making.

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