If I had your data: Job Bridge

Yesterday I read a piece that suggested that the Department of Social and Family Affairs weren’t about to release the names of companies which used the Job Bridge service. So I decided to have a closer look at it with a view to doing some data analysis on the subject.

There are a couple of things I’d like to have a look at in terms of the current vacancies (around 2500 per the Job Bridge site) but I haven’t yet figured out how I am going to pull down all that data (webscraping isn’t something I am prone to do too often). Having looked at a couple of pages of internships I am struck by a few things.

  1. lot of hairdressing and beauty spa
  2. lot of “administration”
  3. lot of comment about “formal/informal” training
  4. lot of boilerplate text.

And that’s just the start of it.

Job Bridge itself provides “Job Bridge Data“. This is not data. This is a summary of aggregated data. I have seen a claim that 60% of Job Bridge participants go on to obtain work after the program but there is no information on that in the “Job Bridge Data” for example. What would be interesting out of that data is where those participants are getting jobs. Are they getting jobs in their host companies and is it pretty much the case that the state is effectively paying for 6 to 9 months of a probationary period? Having done internships myself in a previous life, my experience regarding full time internships is that if companies tended to need them, they paid for them. I know for example that a few of the technical companies here still do, for example.

I have a couple of data projects on the go at the moment, plus some work for my own college course right now and unfortunately, I don’t see a quick and obvious way of getting the current Job Bridge vacancies down to me, even in an unstructured manner. This is regrettable. I know there is ongoing a lot of controversy about the Job Bridge program and to some extent, understandably so – I saw at least one teaching position “must commit for the nine months” and one farm labourer position. These, in my book, are jobs rather than internships. I’m not really that interested in picking out the odd job here and there, however, to make that point. I’m interested to see what sectors are using the program, whether there’s any way that internships can be classified as jobs rather than internships. Some sort of structured data that I can pull into R would be nice. I’d also like to do some spatial analysis on where these are and again, the structure of the site is not lending itself to that because of the odd things like Tipp North, Tipp South, all the Dublin vacancies dumped into one bucket, but the city and county listings being separate for Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. What would be nice is a structured dump of the data.

One can wish, I suppose.