« 100 YEARS – 100 LIVES » | NAMIBIA - “Modernizing the Public Employment Service made it more efficient to provide better services to jobseekers”

Public employment services existed for a long time in Namibia, but with remarkably low capacity and almost negligible services. An ILO assessment helped the agency to provide better services to jobseekers and employers.

Reportage | Namibia |
WINDHOEK - The Public Employment Service (PES) of Namibia is an established public agency, delivering a number of services to jobseekers, firms, and other stakeholders. These services include jobseeker and vacancy registration, matching, and vocational counselling.

A total of 39,476 jobseekers were registered in 2016, of whom 1,997 were placed over the same period. An electronic jobs portal has also been active since 2014, having already registered over 60,000 jobseekers to date.

The Namibian Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation invited the ILO to conduct an assessment and make recommendations to modernize its public employment services.

The assessment involved extensive dialogue with 22 institutions, including the social partners. It found that the PES of Namibia is faced with important capacity constraints that prevent it from fulfilling its potential contribution to improving the functioning of the labour market.

Some of the problems that were identified included the lack of staff (29 officers for the whole country), a limited range of services for jobseekers, limited services to the employers. A mismatch between the skills acquired by students at the education and training system and those required by companies was also highlighted.

The assessment included a series of recommendations to strengthen the employment services. They covered a number of areas, including institutional and human resource capacity development, the range and depth of services offered, as well as collaboration and partnership with non-public employment service providers.

This support led to the successful mobilisation of a USD 466,000 development cooperation intervention for Namibia. The project will support PES in Namibia to strengthen and upgrade its online matching system that delivers comprehensive services, and build local capacities in collaboration with ILO’s Training Centre in Turin.

Going online

The system will help to reduce PES operational costs through the automation of services and tasks. Many of the functions in PES can be carried out by online electronic exchange systems that match jobseeker skills and vacancies, share information ranging from job openings and vocational training courses to job guidance through digital technologies.

The project will not only allow Namibia to modernize its public employment services, but expand its outreach, particularly to vulnerable groups, including women, with minimal costs.

The results of the project will feed into a global comparative study regarding the broad role, service concepts and trends of online jobs portals. This work will be undertaken in partnership with experts from the Queen Mary University of London.

“Modernizing the Public Employment Service in Namibia made it more efficient and more likely to provide better services to jobseekers but also to employers looking for new staff. This will be a significant contribution to the national strategy to address the high incidence of unemployment in Namibia, and its overarching goal of achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all,” concluded Ms Hopalang Phororo from the ILO’s Office for Zimbabwe and Namibia.

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