Soft skills and financial education: benefits for job seekers

Civil society in Tunisia is constantly changing. Because of this, the public employment service needs to meet the needs of job seekers and of enterprises with concrete actions.

Article | 21 November 2019
Boosting young people’s employability is one of the main challenges to solve the employment crisis in Tunisia. ANETI has devised a solution, and it positions job seekers at the heart of its consideration, strategy, and action. Employability “relates to portable competencies and qualifications that enhance an individual's capacity to make use of the education and training opportunities available in order to secure and retain decent work, to progress within the enterprise and between jobs, and to cope with changing technology and labour market conditions”.

Technical and vocational competences are essential to insert young people in the labour market. Employers, though, are also looking for personal competences, to deal with the market challenges coming from recent economic and technological advances. These competences are called “soft skills”. They are human competences that have to do with behavioural knowledge, and they design personal attitudes demonstrating a high level of emotional intelligence. Technical competences alone are not enough to achieve a sustainable integration in the world of work. Therefore, ANETI offers accompaniment to young job seekers to strengthen their transversal competences, or soft skills, to meet the demands of today’s labour market.

A set of 10 transferable competences is proposed and delivered during an accompaniment offered to a job seeker or a group of job seekers with a project in mind. This accompaniment aims at giving the chance for everyone to consolidate these attitudes, which are necessary to implement their project and facilitate the achievement of their personal or professional goals.

Financial education is added to this set of knowledge and competences, to complete the range of tools and services that ANETI offers. With the help of the Employment Policy Department and the Social Finance Programme, the JEMP project is partnering with ANETI to guide and support young people in acquiring financial knowledge. This specific soft skill becomes an indispensable addition for young job seekers, looking for a reference point in a complex economic universe, where they need to understand finances and budgets.

The goal is to improve financial literacy, and to stimulate personal skills related to it. The idea is to guide the job seeker towards an autonomy of reasoning and action, which allows them to make appropriate decisions in the financial domain. This includes the ability of the person to identify the most relevant kinds of credits and investments. This way people can easily optimise the management of personal finances and anticipate unexpected situations. Obviously, diminishing the risks of financial exclusion facilitates the integration of the poorest in the labour market.

The theme and the delivery method of this training module are innovative, because it combines face to face group learning with individual sessions for participants who want to know more about a specific subject. This approach facilitated the acquisition of theoretical and practical knowledge. Additionally, participants applied the benefits coming from financial education in their daily lives, leading them to change attitudes and behaviours in the long term. For example, they managed their budget according to the priorities they set for themselves through the budget app “Masroufi”. They also postponed some purchases, which gave them time to ponder over their real usefulness.

This soft skill, sought mainly by young job seekers with an entrepreneurial project in mind, is also highly regarded by all job seekers alike.

This approach gave very positive results. In total, 689 participants followed the training. Among them, 42% opened a savings account, 28% decided to change their choice of career and become entrepreneurs, and 27% reached the financial goal they set for themselves during the training. Furthermore, seven participants in a situation of over-indebtedness reimbursed their debts, 24 job seekers set money aside for an emergency savings fund, and 23 young people obtained a loan to start their business.

Isn’t it critical to acquire the knowledge, competences, and confidence to master the financing of a project? And, isn’t it also critical to understand the peculiarities of credit types, and more generally, to manage projects and expenses in an autonomous and conscious way?

- Written by Gwenael Prouteau, Senior Technical Specialist Employment Services with the Employment Policy Department