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April 27, 2017
Public employment services of the future: New tools, new models
By: Rainer Binder

In the digital labor markets of the future, Public Employment Services (PES) organisations face a challenge to remain relevant, as employees and employers embrace digital tools, digital lifestyles and digital mindsets. Social media, professional networking websites and other digital employment services are taking over the roles they once performed. And new trends, such as the gig and sharing economies, are requiring them to develop new services to meet new needs.

These agencies must understand this new landscape and decide the role they want to play in it. That will certainly include offering services that help employers understand workforces containing an ever-growing number of "digital natives" and that help employees adjust to new skills requirements in a world of artificial intelligence, automation and robotics. But it will also likely involve completely rethinking their core function and becoming a digital “platform” that facilitates the efficient operation of the whole labor market.

But in taking on these new roles, PES agencies face a key question: how to make it happen?

Act on insights

These organisations have enormous amounts of data, much of it underused, with the potential to offer a complete digital picture of each citizen, their history, their needs and their preferences. This is a crucial resource in offering the personalised services the digital economy demands.

Analytics will be critical technology in unlocking this data. It can segment citizens by skills, behaviors, motivations and other characteristics to enable more effective services tailored to individual circumstances. It can offer insights to customise communications with stakeholders, from individual job recommendations to contextualised welfare benefit reminders. And it can compare skills, education and experiences with market demand and identify mismatches to inform labor market interventions.

Get ready for the platform economy

PES agencies are ideally placed to act as a platform for digital labor markets. But to do this, they must get their data and processes in order and develop new standardised taxonomies (classifications and groupings) of professions and skills and offer holistic assessments of supply and demand, talent needs and industry trends. And they must harness social media and mobile tools to offer simple, personalised, anytime anywhere services.

Adopt a digital service delivery model

The shift to digital requires a transformation right across an organisation—from process to technology to people. It means infusing “digital” in business processes and functions, such as data security and compliance. And it means connecting data systematically to enable employees to make informed decisions and work more efficiently. Digital assistants can automate routine admin tasks, collaboration tools can integrate casework and artificial intelligence can assist frontline workers in answering commonly asked questions, for example.

It’s clear that every PES agency has a core role to play in the digital economy. But taking on that role requires a fundamental rethink about data, processes and services. It will undoubtedly be a challenge, but a necessary one: for employers, for citizens and for economies across the world.

See this post on LinkedIn: Public Employment Services of the Future: New Tools, New Models

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