On 6 – 7th November 2019 the annual Baltic PES meeting took place in Riga, this time focussing on ‘Strategic Management and Digitalisation in PES’.
In her opening speech the director of the Latvian Public Employment Service Ms. Evita Simsone reminded everyone of the Baltic Way that took place 30 years ago, when all the Baltic States were on their way to independence. Today 15 years have passed since the three Baltic States have joint the EU. Ms. Simsone challenged the representatives of the Baltic PES to look broader and to benefit from the possible Baltic cooperation within the EU.
The representatives from the Estonian, Lithuanian and Latvian PES discussed together with the chair of the European PES Network, Johannes Kopf, the added value of regional PES cooperation. Mr. Kopf shared his experience with regard to the German speaking PES cooperation. He indicated that there are several strategic issues that national governments and PES are currently facing, thus PES have the opportunity to express their opinion on different labour market issues to ensure proper and timely allocation of resources for the upskilling or reskilling of our citizens.
It is time for PES to have their say on the strategic level, considering that there are so many issues on the public and political agenda – aging of the population, demographic challenges, automatisation, and request to think about and foster green economy.
Together with the Latvian Company ‘Tilde’ the use of artificial intelligence in the daily work of the PES was examined. Director Kauliņš provided an input on virtual assistants, machine learning options, speech recognition technologies that are already used in the public sector of all the three Baltic states. He also challenged the PES to look around and reskill their own staff. The regional director of the joint stock Company ‘Rail Baltica’ Mr. Bramans updated on the future developments of the Rail Baltica project highlighting the necessary support from the PES as of next year.
How new technologies impact on employees and employers was discussed with a representative from the State Labour Inspectorate Ms. Linda Matisāne. The discussion covered several aspects such as new work environments and how these effect productivity and the health of employees.
The second day of the meeting was mainly devoted to strategic planning as regards the Baltic cooperation activities in 2020. The participants also shared experience and information on the target setting taking into account the digitalisation of several processes in the PES. All the Baltic PES acknowledged that there are ongoing discussions in the offices which processes should be digitalised and which should be delivered face-to- face. The meeting concluded with a visit to the local PES office of Riga to see service provision to its clients.