Skills mismatching is a global challenge. How to deal with this was discussed at a recent G20 Taskforce on Employment meeting in Paris, to which WAPES was invited.
- Developing a common framework on how to define and make use of skills and competences in the matching process is an important way forward, Elisabet Arp, President of WAPES, said.
The G20 Taskforce on Employment was established in 2011 to serve as a focal point for dialogue and information sharing on employment issues. The Taskforce is to deliver recommendations to G20 Labour and Employment Ministers on boosting jobs and participation, preventing structural unemployment – with a focus on long-term unemployment and policies to support youth – and better quality jobs.
The meeting in Paris highlighted, among other things, the problem of skills mis-matching . As pointed out by Fons Leroy, Director-General of the Flemish public employment service VDAB who also represented WAPES, even when unemployment is high there are substantial skills shortages and a rising number of unfilled vacancies. A special challenge is the global phenomenon of job-seekers being over-educated but under-skilled for the jobs that are in demand in the labour market. Besides, the skills that employers do demand are not necessarily covered in today’s system of classifications and qualifications, making good matching more difficult.
- It is of course very important to develop tools to better capture all relevant skills and competences, Elisabet Arp said, pointing out that developing a common framework for how to define and use skills in the matching process would be a big step forward.
Both she and Fons Leroy stressed the important role of the public employment services when labour markets become both more complex and insecure, and when people have to change careers more often. Fons Leroy gave several examples of what the public employment services can do:
- In the Flemish region of Belgium, job-seekers and employees can build skills portfolios that present the skills they have acquired on the job, at school or during their free time. Registered skills and competences are taken into account by the matching engine of VDAB.
- The public employment services can build bridges between education and employment, by providing platforms for schools, vocational training institutions, municipalities, employers’ organisations and companies to achieve synergies in expertise, target audience and infrastructure.
- The public employment services can offer career guidance services: as neutral information brokers, they can provide insights about skills needs and trends.
Cooperation between various stakeholders and among the public employment services themselves are important, they both agreed.
- All relevant stakeholders should be involved to temper skills mismatch and allow all citizens to develop their talent to the utmost, Fons Leroy said.
- The constant and continuous change require agile public employment services, and it is necessary for us to exchange experiences and to cooperate in new ways. WAPES is a good forum for that, Elisabet Arp said.