Partnerships between Public Employment Services and Employer and Business Membership Organizations save jobs and help enterprises remain sustainable

On 7 October 2020, ILO Moscow conducted the second of five training webinars devoted to the PES Role in Overcoming the COVID-19 Crisis and the Future of Work. PES representatives and practitioners from the Commonwealth of Independent States, international experts and ILO officials discussed and exchanged good practices on how PES are adapting their communication and programmes with enterprises to better respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

News | 07 October 2020
During this difficult time, Public Employment Services (PES) play a critical role in country responses to ensure that jobs are preserved, enterprises remain sustainable, and affected workers and their families are protected. Especially in developing economies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where more than half of the workforce is in self-employment or works in micro and small enterprises, the PES is delivering tailor made initiatives supporting MSMEs, the smallest often run by women, which have been the first to suffer from devastating consequences of the economic downturn.

The participants identified specific challenges that PES are facing to become the ‘first stop’ for enterprises on advertising vacancies, and how to improve the matching process between jobseekers and employers. Fedor Prokopov, expert from the Russian Federation, presented how the Russian PES is dealing with an unprecedented surge in the number of applications that has not been observed in the last 30 years. He presented an up-to-date research on how the employers are changing their perception of the federal employment services and are welcoming the digitization and internet-based platforms, such as Work in Russia Portal – All-Russia database of vacancies, or Specialized social network - Skillsnet – for employers and jobseekers.

International experts, Stephan Heuke from Germany and  Paal Haavorsen from Norway, shared their views during the panel discussion on adjusting services for employers in COVID-19 context based on the international experience and good practices observed during the pandemic. For example, German PES focused on the short-term provision of massive financial aid for businesses, primarily short work allowance, that proved to be successful during the previous financial crisis.  Norwegian expert presented his experience in adapting PES services to employers in the context of the pandemic, with focus on innovation and inclusiveness.

Mikhail Pouchkin, ILO Moscow Sr Employment Specialist, in his concluding remarks referred to the ILO Monitor “COVID-19 and the World of Work”, which anticipated that severe labour market disruptions would continue in the third quarter of 2020, persisting in the fourth quarter. Pouchkin outlined policy responses needed to be sustained in order to address existing multiple challenges.

The online training for PES staff in the CIS countries is composed of a series of five webinars together with self-studies, self-assessment and peer to peer exchange. The content of the online training is primarily based on the PES Training Manual, prepared by the project “Partnerships for Youth Employment in the CIS”, being implemented in partnership with the Russian company LUKOIL, as a methodological tool supporting sub-regional cooperation on employment promotion.