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OECD Employment Outlook 2021 praises value of public-private partnerships

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the OECD Employment Outlook 2021 released on 7th July paints a mixed picture of labour markets. While recovery seems underway, labour markets still face major activation and transition challenges. The OECD pinpoints cooperation between public and private employment services as one effective way forward – a positive recognition of a solution promoted by the World Employment Confederation for long.

Published on 7th July 2021

“A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a better world of work” The OECD Employment Outlook 2021 delivers a clear message, based on an extensive fact-based assessment of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on labour markets. While developed economies are finding their pathway to recovery, employment numbers aren’t back at where they were. The Employment Outlook identifies two significant and concurring labour market challenges: labour market participation is dropping while digitalisation and economic reform require new skillsets. Both were already present before Covid-19 hit, but their impact is felt even stronger.

Moving forward, we are facing both an activation challenge and a transition challenge, the Outlook says. Not only do we need to get people back at work but we need to place them in sectors that have perspectives. The OECD flags the elements that contributed to an agile policy response as Covid-19 struck labour markets. In countries where partnerships between public and private employment services exist, public activation and transition support were more effective and responsive to workers’ and employers’ needs.

“It is very positive to see the OECD acknowledging the clear efficiency gains that can be gained from increased collaboration between public and private employment services,” reacts Bettina Schaller, President of the World Employment Confederation. “We share the same purpose: get people (back) to a job! But each of us have unique ‘on the ground’ insights and outreach into the labour market. For labour markets to recover sustainably from the Covid crisis, employment policies need to integrate a more structured collaboration between public and private services.”

A growing number of private providers supports jobseekers and workers as they find their way in the world of work. This includes recruitment, re-integration, training, outplacement, and career guidance firms. The complementarity with public employment services holds the key to successful active labour market policies and WEC members are already demonstrating it in many countries. The 2021 OECD Employment Outlook provides a good first step in spreading these best practices further. The World Employment Confederation and its members are already highly engaged with the OECD in order to make this happen.

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