Technology is transforming our day-to-day lives and the way we look for work. In the UK, 90% of 16-24 year olds own a smart phone and 4 in 10 jobseekers apply for work using mobile devices.
Employment Services around the world are increasingly using multi-channelled IT services to engage jobseekers, meet increasing end user demands and deliver services in a more efficient and cost effective way. These trends bring both challenges and opportunities. PARES, the European Union forum to improve cross-border co-operation and best practice sharing between employability actors, met in March 2015 to discuss the key issues.
Ingeus’ Chief Information Officer Paul Hobbs was invited to talk about how Ingeus has developed e-services to enhance employability provision and maximise available resources across the different countries in which it operates. Paul spoke about how IT services have evolved to meet diverse jobseeker needs, reflect regional labour market differences, deliver vale-for-money performance and use ‘big data’ to drive evidence-based performance improvements.
One of the biggest challenges that lead service providers in the public and private sector face is how to coordinate multiple actors to deliver more personalised services for jobseekers. In the UK, Ingeus has developed an integrated e-services platform to coordinate delivery and performance across a ‘supply chain’ partnership of over 90 public, private and third sector organisations. This allows Ingeus, as the lead or ‘prime’ provider, to create common standards for delivery, reporting and performance management across the partnership whilst allowing individual members to maintain their autonomy and individual local character. For the jobseeker, the platform means they can expect the same quality and feel of service whether they access it in London or Glasgow.
Social media will play an increasingly important role in the referral and engagement process for jobseekers onto new employability and skills programmes, particularly where governments want to engage with the ‘inactive’ population. To encourage young people to participate on the National Citizenship Service, a personal development course for 16 and 17 year olds which aims to build soft skills and resilience, Ingeus has used social media sites to reach over 50,000 young people a month, the majority through smart phones. Using social media to reach out to clients also has applications for authorities to engage marginalised groups like refugees and seniors who might not otherwise be connected to community networks or support services. The difficulty young people have gaining ‘traction’ in the labour market is also becoming a feature of modern working life.
With contracted out employment programmes increasingly emphasising the importance of sustainable job outcomes, Ingeus is using ‘big data’ to help identify those clients placed into a job who are at risk of falling out of work. This enables the ‘in work’ employment adviser to make further interventions to help them remain in work or transition to another job.
As rapid technological innovation continues, might online employment adviser avatars, virtual job fairs, and online interviews become common place? Only time will tell….