The global skills gap crisis persists and will only become more acute as digitalisation continues to change the labour supply and demand landscape. Workers must develop new skills or upskill to remain relevant and employable in the digital world. Unemployment has reached an all-time high of nearly 200 million individuals and 1.7 billion people—or 46 percent of total employment—are in vulnerable employment situations.1
Simultaneously, the European Commission warns that Europe could be facing a shortage of up to 825,000 ICT professionals by 2020.2 The tides must shift or global economies will perpetually be weakened by skills gaps and mismatches.
Public employment services (PES) and human services agencies play a lead role in initiating change, yet their focus has historically been one-sided—focused on serving the needs of citizens and finding them jobs. However, many agencies lack a strategy for collaboration with employers to serve their needs as well as help maximise business outcomes.
1International Labour Organization, “World Employment Social Outlook: Trends 2016;” page 9, online at http://www.ilo.org/global/research/global-reports/weso/2016/WCMS_443480/lang--en/index.htm
2European Commission; “Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs,” June 7, 2016, online at https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/grand-coalition-digital-jobs
PES and human services agencies around the world are modernising their strategies and making progress to improve collaboration with employers, however, no single country is focusing on all four factors.
Understand that citizens aren’t the only customer
Currently, only 40 percent of PES agencies have contact with a limited number of employers in their country. This reflects the need to fundamentally shift the strategy by expanding the reach of services beyond citizens to cover the needs of employers.
Share, rather than sit on, information
Information sharing is already improving labour market ecosystem collaboration in a few leading countries. For agencies that adopted a “give and get” mentality and make their useful data available to employers, other government agencies and labor market actors, several improvements would happen.
Segment for success
Just as citizens have unique needs, so do employers. Segmenting employers by for example size, region or industry, enables human services and PES agencies to tailor services accordingly and thereby improve service quality and customer satisfaction.
From reactive to proactive
Rather than a reactive “catch you when you fall” approach, human services and PES agencies can reach out proactively and support employers holistically to maximise potential early on.