A Powerful Tool for Labor Market Insights- Emsi

Data. It’s become my new addiction at work.

Workforce Analytics is becoming a hot topic in HR, and Emsi has a powerful tool to gather labor market insights to help you analyze your workforce. After participating in a demo recently, I walked away with some interesting insights on my own workforce that I thought I would share in a post.

This is not a recommendation for the Emsi product and I am not compensated for this review.

First, the data points

Emsi combines three data points to create its powerful profile insights:

  • Government Data: Emsi gathers 18 billion data points from dozens of government data sources that is updated quarterly. Sure, we have access to the same information but who has the time to go and pull the information and determine what is or is not relevant?
  • Job Postings: The platform reviews hundreds of millions of online job postings and adds them to the data sets. It also provides filters by company, job title, skills, keywords, and more. This is a game changer, providing a wealth of insight into what employers are looking for in their hiring process.
  • Online Social Profiles: To complete the view, Emsi pulls in individuals’ employment and education profiles from social media by company, job title, industry, alma mater, and skill sets. (This was the first firm I had seen bring in government data with the social profiles.)
  • Compensation Data: This information is sourced from government data sources.

Combined, these four sources provide users a 360 view of critical data points for anyone in Talent Acquisition. Emsi can deliver this robust data set through its online platform, API plugins, and they also have a consulting arm of economists who will tailor the information for your organization.

For the demo, I asked the team to look at software developers in Birmingham and Houston which is relevant to some project work I’ve been working on lately. Below, I’ll share some of the report highlights provided by the Emsi tool.

Now, on to the good stuff!

Working with the Emsi platform

First, I have to say the UI (user interface) for Emsi is incredibly easy to use. As you can see from the screenshot above, you only have to provide the job title or keyword along with the city to begin your quest. There are advance filters that include job title relative to a location (MSA), drive time, or a radius from an address. This is key to consider, especially in large MSAs where the data set could be influenced by commute time and the radius from the location of the job.

Emsi provides a pretty slick executive summary outlining the number of potential targets in the market along with the compensation. I wasn’t too impressed with this considering there are a number of platforms that provide this same information.

What I was impressed with was the number of postings for the job title added in this section. Honestly, I had never thought to look at the number of job postings as a KPI for recruiting to evaluate the competitive landscape for jobs. Another interesting component of Emsi’s talent analytics is the ability to hover over and click into any of these data sets to drill down into the information. For the Posting section, you can even leverage the system to find out what companies are hiring for the job title along with the actual job description/posting.

Emsi gives Talent Acquisition leaders all the data they need to help develop strategies that actually work. With only a few clicks of the mouse, you have access to information you need including:

  • Heat maps showing where workers are willing to commute from
  • The available talent pool
  • Average salary range
  • What other companies are competing for the same talent
  • Local community colleges with related programs

A true view of the labor market

One you have your parameters set, Emsi provides a downloadable report detailing several areas pertinent to hiring discussions. Here are a few of my favorites.

Where are the candidates hiding?

In my example, Emsi found that most of the software developers with the skills needed are in Houston, TX versus Birmingham, AL. (No surprise there.) This feature is especially helpful when meeting with your client to determine to focus your hiring strategy and in some cases, where to open a hub.

What I liked was the breakdown of the larger MSA Houston. The tool shows the number of candidates by area within the MSA which is especially helpful when sourcing. Also, in the case when you are determining where in an MSA to open a location, this feature could be invaluable.

Next on the target list after location is companies with the largest number of candidates. LinkedIn provides this same information but I prefer how Emsi displays the information. This is especially helpful when there is a disturbance at one of the major players and allows sourcing agents to sharpen their tactics for maximum impact.

There are thousands of permutations of job titles to search and even the best recruiter can’t write the Boolean search string to capture them all. Emsi takes the work out of the process by providing the top job titles for you to focus on.

Supercharge your college recruiting with Emsi

The college recruiting strategy is vital to any firm that wants to stay ahead of the talent war. One of the more frustrating parts of developing the strategy is identifying which schools and which programs we should target. Emsi takes the guesswork out of this process.

Sure, knowing all of the nation’s top schools is great but the likelihood of getting a graduate to relocate to your area might be a tough argument. That’s where Emsi’s talent analytics data comes in. Emsi helps by providing an accurate view of colleges in the area along with the top programs for your future rockstar candidate.

I leveraged this report with our college recruiter to ensure we were aligned with recruiting from the colleges listed above. This was great but what was really powerful was taking the strategy to the next level by identifying the deans of the various programs to find ways to create a more meaningful connection to the students.


Although I’ve only outlined a couple of the features I liked about Emsi in this post, you can see this platform could be a game changer for your recruiting efforts. If you are like me and depend on data to develop and execute your Talent Acquisition strategies, Emsi is a great tool to add to the arsenal.

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Published by Trent Cotton

I joined the HR industry in 2004 after working as a sales leader in the Financial Services Industry for eight years. After spending his first couple of years in HR trying to fit in, I found my voice. Now I leverage all of the things I once hated about HR to become a consultant and invaluable partner to the businesses I support. My passion to lead, innovate and engage the HR industry. I use my blog at NakedHR.me to reach thousands of readers and provides unique insights into a range of HR and business topics. I currently write for NakedHR.me and SprintRecruiting.com. I contribute to the HRGazzette and to DataDrivenInvestor on Medium. WARNING: my writing style is raw and in your face, not what you would expect from an HR executive. Connect with me on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/trentcotton or on Twitter @TrentCotton.

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