Data-driven labour market reporting

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Belgium

Publishing organisation: De Tijd

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 2022-06-17

Language: Dutch

Authors: Thomas Roelens, Olaf Verhaeghe, Raphael Cockx


De Tijd’s Data & Interactive team publishes original news stories supported by in-depth data analysis. Our team uses its diverse skills to collect, analyze and visualize data in order to discover new trends, interesting patterns and surprising outliers. Our publications are supported by insightful graphics that make complex ideas understandable. Through interactive news applications, we guide readers step-by-step through the story and provide personalized information.

Project description:

The Tijd’s Data & Interactive team conducted research to understand the unique job market conditions in Belgium. The research found an increasing number of job vacancies and a shrinking pool of potential candidates. The team based it’s findings on a newly developped ratio that compares the number of vacancies to applicants. The findings are presented on an interactive webpage that guides readers step-by-step through an interactive scatterplot that positions all jobs on both axis.

Impact reached:

The new index, based on the number of open positions and the number of candidates, led to a prominently featured news article showing that the labor market tightness has increased to the point where there are now fewer than two candidates for every open position. The unique characteristics of the ratio were visualized in an interactive explainer, which starts from concrete examples and then zooms out to formulate findings about the overall labor market. The interactive article, based on the new index, was read more than 15.000 times and became a recurring news angle in our editors’ data-driven labor market reporting.

Techniques/technologies used:

The data were scraped from VDAB, the Flemish labor market organization. The analysis and data processing was performed with R. Using d3.js, a rotated scatterplot was developed that formed the central graph for an interactive story that used our internal scrollytelling template.

Context about the project:

The development of the rotated scatterplot was the key element for the further processing, interpretation and representation of the data.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

Learn how linking two individual public statistics can lead to new insights on a already heavily featured news topic. The visual representation served as the starting point for the article, rather than an afterthought.

Project links: