Surfing the labour market

Enhancing youth employability with a new career guidance mobile app in Moldova

News | 17 January 2019

© Elena Coban

The long-lasting transition to a market economy weighs heavily on young people in the labour markets of South East Europe. Despite progress in economic development, democratic reforms and integration into global markets, job creation in these countries has been very low. In Moldova, young women and men are nearly three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, while young NEETs (neither in employment, education or training) prevalence is twice as high as in the region. Every third youngster chooses to stay away from the labour market or emigrate. When employed, they are more likely to embrace informal employment or hold temporary and atypical jobs.

Searching for jobs is rather challenging for Moldovan youth as they lack knowledge on where and how to look for vacancies. They often do not have work experience to help employers gauge their abilities. Curiously, when making educational or occupational decisions, young women and men tend to rely on their parents and communities for advice rather than on qualified public services. For them, upon entering the labour market for the first time, questions such as what skills employers want, how to get a lead, how to develop an impressive resume and cover letter or how to prepare for the interview, can be outright daunting.

A practical and low-cost way of improving youth employment prospects is to give guidance and information for young job seekers on education choices and employment opportunities. The Moldovan Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Policy, together with the ILO with the support of the Government of the Czech Republic launched a new mobile facility in early December 2018, with the aim of providing effective career instruction to prime-age jobseekers as well as to those yet to make educational and career choices.  The app is based on the ILO Guide “Surfing the labour market: job search skills for young people”. It provides various information i.e. alerts on a number of skills needed for particular jobs.  It suggests ways of identifying the skills jobseekers already possess with matching occupations. Moreover, it also assists in taking pragmatic steps i.e. putting together an effective curriculum vitae, getting ready for a job interview and managing the first period in the workplace.

According to Anastasia Oceretnii, Labour State Secretary, 90% of Moldovans have access to internet nowadays. “This leads us to believe the new mobile facility is accessible and affordable for almost everyone. It is amazing how young boys and girls, guided by this innovative job-search tool,   can effortlessly and interactively explore possible career paths, build self-trust, recognize their skills and learn how to communicate them to potential employers. We trust this type of innovative technology is likely to impact the employment outcomes of young women and men in Moldova”.

Igor Ciurea, Chairperson of the National Youth Council, tested the mobile facility before the official launch. “The application provided me with hints that are extremely relevant.   I found this mobile tool quite user-friendly. I am pretty sure our youth, being fond of state-of-the-art technologies as they are, will like and make full use of it. Nowadays, mobiles are no longer simply used for making phone calls and surfing the internet, but to improve learning and employability, and also for social change. And this is what this mobile facility brings about”. 

The app “Surfing the labour market: job search skills for young people” can be downloaded, both in English and Romanian, free of charge from GooglePlay for Android mobile systems. In just nine weeks since its introduction the application has been accessed by nearly 2,000 people indicating robust interest in the information it provides. The application is a novelty for Moldova, a good icebreaker, and we trust that its popularity will further mount considering the relevance for young women and men.