The private employment services sector is instrumental to the economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic, first by enabling a safe return to work and secondly by offering solutions to make labour markets more resilient. The World Employment Confederation is setting up a dedicated task force to tap into its members’ expertise to share the best practices, reflect on the lessons learned and develop practical solutions to implement in collaboration with all stakeholders interested in building a sustainable and inclusive post-Covid 19 world of work.
The private employment services sector is instrumental to the economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic. The immediate first step is to enable workers to resume work in the greatest health and safety conditions.
But to enable a sustainable economic recovery in the longer-term, workers, businesses and society must be better prepared to work in more fluid and agile situations. The private employment services sector can support here through increased labour market participation, efficient matching of supply and demand for workers, career guidance and skilling.
The World Employment Confederation has set up a dedicated task force for its members to pool their expertise on these two dimensions and to come up with solutions and recommendations that can be implemented in cooperation with public authorities, other economic sectors, trade unions and society as a whole.
The task force originates in a project launched by global private employment service agencies – Randstad, The Adecco Group and ManpowerGroup – in April 2020. As the Alliance has quickly broadened to involve a larger network of partners across the world, the World Employment Confederation (WEC) has taken over the ownership of the project in June 2020.
There is no doubt that the crisis and our ability to respond to it has opened doors and driven positive conversations with government officials. We have demonstrated that we can act at speed and make things happen. This creates strong leverage in our relationships with policymakers.
Charles Cameron - CEO, RCSA (Australia & New Zealand)
One thing that never changes is change. The Covid 19 crisis is accentuating this but there is, and always was – an ongoing need for evolution and change. The key for the HR services sector lies in our agility and adaptability to this change.
Elaine Zhang - Secretary General, CAFST
The HR services sector has an important role to play in helping employees manage transitions whether it is finding new roles or transitioning internally.
Jurriën Koops - Director, ABU (Netherlands)
Adapting to an evolving jobs market and identifying new workforce challenges will be a priority for employers as well as for policy makers; we can position the industry as genuine partners to the wider business community and to government.
Geraldine King - Chief Executive, NRF (Ireland)
Security comes from having the right skills rather than by being wedded to one role within one employer. The crisis has created a psychological shift in how work is perceived.
Lohit Bhatia - President, ISF (India)
During the height of the health crisis, the staffing industry was enabling thousands of individuals to access new work opportunities at a time when most other sectors were not hiring at all.
Alfred Budschitz - Managing Director, Agest (Chile)
We need to tackle the emerging youth unemployment crisis with a high degree of energy to avoid further risk of disenfranchisement. This also applies to tackling urgent priorities around gender and race equality and boosting opportunities for all under-represented groups.
Jonas Prising - CEO, ManpowerGroup
A safe return to work is key to economic recovery after the pandemic. The private employment services sector is tapping into its expertise in health and safety protocols across countries and industries to compile best practices and create new channels to scale effective protocols at speed.
Reviewing over 400 health and safety protocols from five sectors (transport and logistics, automotive, manufacturing and life sciences, construction as well as food) in 13 countries, the private employment services sector has developed a fact base and source of best practices to help organizations of all types and sizes get up and running again in a safe, healthy and productive way.
The Practical Guide to Safe Restart summarizes the extensive technical guidance gathered in reviewing health and safety protocols and offers a well-rounded perspective of the situation and possible roadblocks.
A compendium of Best Practice Protocols further gathers the measures identified in the research, including sector- and country-specific best practices.
As the pandemic evolved and the learnings on the effects of the crisis unfold, the World Employment Confederation (WEC) set out in March 2021 guidance on occupational health & safety protocols to be applied to agency workers. The objective was to ensure that the same equal standards and practices apply to agency work personnel as to other clients’ / user companies’ personnel. The guidelines were further revised in November 2021 following the adoption of new measures across the world, notably the release of vaccines.
After getting the economy to restart safely, the main challenge will be to ensure sustainable, long-term recovery. Here too, the private employment services sector has a solid experience in activation and transitions, enabling labour markets to be more efficient and flexible in matching supply and demand. During the Covid-19 crisis, the sector has been in the front line of re-allocating workers across sectors.
The WEC’s task force will further document the role of the private employment services sector in supporting workers, businesses and society, both during and beyond the crisis. Lessons learned about the importance of diverse forms of work for the inclusiveness and sustainability of labour markets should be drawned upon.
As part of the ‘Alliance project’, the World Employment Confederation is having a ‘big conversation’ with employment experts and national recruitment federations from around the world.
Find out about their insights on the post-Covid world of work through our blog “Notes on the New Normal” and our podcast “World Views on the World of Work”.
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