BackgroundILO’s work on employment derives its current mandate from the Global Employment Agenda (2003) and the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization (2008). Public Employment Services (PES) have been recognized in the mandate of the ILO since its creation. ILO Convention on Unemployment, 1919 (No.2) recognized the role of employment services and promoted the establishment of national employment services in all member States. The role of the Public Employment Services was fully elaborated in the international level with the adoption of Employment Service Convention, 1948 (No. 88).
The increasing need to provide services to a rapidly expanding and flexible labour market has led to further development of private employment agencies. The 2009 Global Jobs Pact emphasizes the important role employment services play in contributing to a sustained job recovery. Both jobseekers and employers are customers of employment services, both public and private; and most national employment services are guided by an advisory body which reinforces the principles of social dialogue between government, employers and workers.
Employment services match job seekers with job opportunities and are thus central to a well-functioning labour market. They are provided both by government through the ministries of labour and/or by private employment agencies. Close collaboration between public and private employment services is important because it results in the most positive outcomes for the labour market as was demonstrated during the global financial and economic crisis that began in 2008. At the same time, in a number of developing countries due to resource constraints, public employment services not all their services may be fully function and thus, such services may be complemented by services provided by private employment agencies.
Public Employment Services (PES) plan and execute labour market policies. Their major role is to cushion labour market transitions for workers and enterprises by:
- Providing good information about the labour market;
- Assisting the job search and providing placement services;
- Administering unemployment insurance benefits;
- Administering a variety of labour market programmes.
In Asia, many developing and developed countries have found public employment services critical in the functioning of labour markets as demonstrated during the global economic crisis. They were responsible for implementing the government’s labour market programmes designed in response to the crisis. China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, New Zealand and Singapore were some of these countries. The programmes focused on areas like strengthening employment services offices to ensure that they are able to cope with the demand for serving the clientele most specially affected by the crisis.
Further, in Asia, employment services play an important role in assisting target and vulnerable groups like unemployed youths, women, migrant workers, people in rural communities and people with disabilities find appropriate employment.