Labour market intermediaries: a corrective to the human capital paradigm (mis)matching skills and jobs?

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  • Bangor University


The orthodox supply-side human capital theory (HCT) paradigm is inadequate for understanding and adjusting to labour market volatility in UK regional economies like Wales. This article explores the role of regional labour market intermediaries (LMIs) in matching supply (skills) and demand (job opportunities) in regional labour markets. Some LMIs emerge because the HCT paradigm is failing. One Welsh LMI, Shaping the Future (StF), is explored empirically using qualitative methods. StF mainly adopted HCT tenets, but with some emergent demand-side focus. Despite helping workers adjust to labour market shocks, LMIs are not equipped to fix the structural demand-side problem of finite quality job opportunities in deindustrialized regions that accentuate skill use. A broader ‘skill eco-system’ paradigm is required, emphasising the foundational economy.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-584
JournalJournal of Education and Work
Issue number6
Early online date9 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • human capital , job quality , labour market intermediaries , retraining , supply and demand