Published in March 2023
How employment services can support a post-pandemic jobs recovery
If you are out of work looking for a job, in a job looking for a better job, or an employer looking to fill a job vacancy, who can help? Employment services, either public or private.
Around the world, through good times and bad, employment services have proved their value in connecting jobseekers with employers, retaining jobs, supporting enterprises, facilitating recruitment, growing the workforce – and strengthening national economies.
Check out this InfoStory to discover how employment services can help countries respond to economic crisis, and learn why every country should ratify and implement ILO Conventions Nos. 88 and 181.
Today’s labour market is changing more rapidly than ever
Whether by choice or by necessity, people around the world move in and out of employment and between jobs more frequently than in years past. Globally, workers change jobs 3 to 5 times on average over the course of their careers. However, in some countries the figure can be more than twice that.
Many countries are also experiencing persistent skills gaps as technological adoption is transforming tasks, jobs and skills.
More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated unemployment, underemployment and inactivity – as well as skills mismatches and talent shortages across sectors. Even with unemployment at unacceptable levels in many parts of the world, employers in sectors such as hospitality, construction and healthcare are struggling to fill vacancies.
Everyone needs support in coping with labour market disruptions
- Workers need support when they lose their jobs or want career changes – to prepare them to enter (back) into the labour market, for future jobs and/or to acquire related skills.
- Employers often need assistance in locating and recruiting people with specific skills, as well as in reskilling existing staff. This allows them to cope with economic and sectoral changes that affect their businesses.
- Governments need ways to boost business, employment and their economies, by creating reliable sources of labour market information, matching jobseekers with opportunities, developing skills in the labour force, and encouraging transition to sectors and occupations with high employment potential.
Who provides employment services to jobseekers, workers and businesses?
Public employment services are one of the most cost-effective mechanisms to facilitate labour market transitions and participation in decent work.
They also contribute to making the job market more transparent, fair and inclusive.
Private employment agencies also help businesses and jobseekers get back to work.
When properly regulated, they can act as a stepping stone to formal and regular employment.
Public services and private agencies are partnering with purpose
Public employment services are increasingly working in partnership with private employment agencies to design and deliver employment services and active labour market policies.
Key areas where public employment services partner with private employment agencies include skills training, entrepreneurship and self-employment programmes, and subsidized employment job retention schemes. These collaborations are also prevalent in support measures for people facing complex barriers to employment and for expanding social protection for workers.
Although still in development stages, many fiscally constrained low-income countries have sought to create these partnerships to overcome challenges in building the employment services infrastructure and capacity that are found in higher-income countries.
The value of international labour standards
Two ILO Conventions, Nos. 88 and 181, promote the fundamental roles of both public and private employment services in serving workers and employers and achieving well-functioning labour markets.
Countries that adopt and ensure compliance with international labour standards in their national policy and legal frameworks are better able to help people to move into quality jobs and businesses to find skilled workers, in conditions of nondiscrimination and full transparency.
Has your country ratified the ILO Employment Services Conventions?
To ensure a human-centred and job-rich recovery from the pandemic, it is vital for countries to ratify and implement both C88 and C181. So far, 92 countries have ratified C88 and 37 countries have ratified C181.
Wider ratification and effective implementation of both Conventions are crucial to achieving resilient labour markets, and in turn, full and productive employment and decent work.