Employment services

The global COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing jobs crisis have highlighted the critical role of employment services actors - public employment services and private employment agencies - in matching jobseekers with available vacancies, helping employers find the workers they need, and supporting both sides in adapting to labour market disruptions.

A framework for an effective regulation of employment services is provided by two international labour standards: the Employment Service Convention, 1948 (No. 88) and the Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 (No. 181). The ILO encourages Member States to ratify and implement both conventions to support  a human-centred recovery that benefits all through optimally functioning labour markets. The Conventions promote:
  • Trusted placement and recruitment services
  • A better match of skills to business needs
  • Balanced rules that enable businesses and protect workers
  • Responsible and fair recruitment
  • Reduction of informal employment

Key resources

  1. Minute Guide for Young Jobseekers

    10 October 2007

    The minute guide is a felf-help resource written specifically for young jobseekers.  It is intended to support youth in making informed decisions about their career prospects and job options by providing user-friendly access to information about the job search process.

  2. Guiding Youth Careers: A handbook for those who help young jobseekers

    10 October 2007

    The handbook is designed to assist trained professionals, parents and peers in advising young jobseekers in their career and job search, particularly new graduates, school leavers and unemployed youth.

  3. Guide to Private Employment Agencies: Regulation, Monitoring and Enforcement

    01 May 2007

    This Guide provides guidance to national legislators in drafting legal frameworks in line with ILO Convention No. 181 and Recommendation No. 188. It is rich in many examples of country legislation from both developed and developing countries.

  4. Career guidance. A resource handbook for low- and middle-income countries

    04 April 2006

    This is an essential guide to developing effective career guidance systems, career information, organizing service delivery, staff development and improving governance and coordination.  In addition, it also provides the first detailed users guide to career guidance sites on the world wide web that will be invaluable to policy-makers and professionals looking for interviewing guides, vocational assessment tools, competency standards for counsellors, and much more.

  5. C181 Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997

    19 June 1997

    Convention concerning Private Employment Agencies
    (Note: Date of coming into force: 05/10/2000).

  6. C88 Employment Service Convention, 1948

    09 July 1948

    Convention concerning the Organisation of the Employment Service
    (Note: Date of coming into force: 08/10/1950).