The Ukrainian Public Employment Service (PES) is a large public agency with more than 500 offices across the country and 9000 staff. The main tasks of the agency are to administer unemployment benefits and to support jobseekers as well as employers looking for new staff. A key challenge has been that the staff spent too much time with paperwork and had no time left to attend the visitors – now called clients which is not just about introducing a new term, but also stands for a new approach of the agency putting the needs of jobseekers to the forefront.
Based on a functional assessment of the public agency, the ILO helped in designing a new service model. This model aimed at freeing the staff from administrative tasks and putting more staff to the front desks directly dealing with the job seekers. Entirely new job descriptions were needed. The new key positions include (1) administrators providing information to the clients on vacancies and requirements for receiving benefits; (2) job counsellors for clients that need more support, (3) specialized job counsellors for clients facing severe and multiple barriers to enter the labour market, and (4) employers’ counsellors serving employers – an area completely neglected before.
Another key feature of the reform is that job seekers or employers are attended by the same counsellor throughout the entire job search process. Experiences from the reform of other European employment services show that this individual case management creates a more trustful and committing relationship between the agency and the clients.
Before rolling out the new service model, the staff of the agency needed to go through intensive trainings provided by the ILO. More than 330 staff were trained, involving the training institute of the agency as training provider. This training-of-trainer approach will facilitate further staff trainings with less external support in the future.
The results achieved so far are quite promising. Dzemal Hodzic, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO in Kyiv explains, that at the start of the project in 2018 only 340.000 unemployed registered for job search with the public employment service, corresponding to 21% of all unemployed in the country. This has changed significantly in the meantime. In 2020, 460.000 unemployed registered as job seekers with the agency (corresponding to approximately 27% of all unemployed). It means that the number of unemployed requesting assistance in finding a new job increased by a third. The nationwide rollout of the new service delivery model as decided by the Cabinet of Ministers in late 2021, will further increase these numbers, says Dzemal Hodzic.
The ILO support has been financed by the Government of Denmark through the project “Inclusive Labour Markets for Job Creation in Ukraine“.