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Private Employment Services Pave the Road to Recovery after Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has had unprecedented impacts on labour markets, creating unemployment, threatening business continuity, and exposing gaps in safety nets. As many countries step on the road to recovery, the World Employment Confederation urges to build on lessons learned and makes proposals to overcome these challenges and shape a better normal.

Published on 25th May 2020

Almost overnight, workers, businesses and society had to reinvent the world of work to adapt to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the various lockdown measures that governments adopted to guarantee the health and safety of their citizens. The private employment services sector rose to the occasion: transitioning workers from sectors in decline to sectors in immediate need of workforce, leveraging remote working and digital solutions to sustain jobs and get agency workers into new assignments, and negotiating support measures to guarantee income and social protection to workers as well as business continuity for companies.

The Covid-19 crisis has deeply impacted labour markets, exposing how labour market institutions and safety nets were inadequate to mitigate economic disruption and to cushion the impact for workers, irrespective of the way they engage with work. Yet, governments, businesses and workers have showcased resilience, flexibility, and determination which provides inspiration for shaping the road to recovery.

“The Road to Recovery will need to build on the lessons learned during the pandemic and take stock of the increasing labour market diversification and dynamism that was already ongoing before Covid-19 hit the global economy. Regulatory frameworks need to be ready for recovery and for cushioning more frequent disruptions,” says Annemarie Muntz, President of the World Employment Confederation. “HR services stand ready to support. Still, like all sectors, the Private Employment Services industry will need support to sustain its transition role in these stages of recovery.”

In a recent policy paper, the World Employment Confederation identifies three areas of focus and a set of priorities for developing a quick and safe road to recovery:

  1. Operationalising the return to work, creating conditions for safe workplaces and enabling digital solutions to sustain flexibility in matching, skilling and working.
  2. A framework for activation and transition, with labour regulations allowing private employment services to fully play their role in providing employment opportunities, career advice and business support.
  3. Speed up Social Innovation to ensure access to minimum levels of social protection for all workers, irrespective of how they engage with work.

“Now is the time to innovate our safety nets to cover all and accept that diverse forms of work sustain all employment and that benefits, costs and risks need to be proportionately shared. Let us take stock on the many governments taking their responsibility to cover all forms of work in their Covid-19 relief measures and move towards safety nets that hold value add for all workers and deliver on the agility businesses need,” Muntz concludes.

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