Dear reader, in this labour market bulletin we would like to introduce you into the upcoming 2022 work programme of the PES Network. In the December Board meeting under the Slovenian Presidency, the PES Network Board has endorsed the 2022 work programme of the PES Network.
How are the work programmes of the Network set up? What are the priorities the Network will work on? How will the pandemic impact on the work of the Network? These questions and several other aspects can be found in this issue.
The legal basis of the PES Network, Decision 2020/1782 provides for the adoption of an annual work programme by the Network’s Board. Therefore, each year during autumn, the Network discusses the priorities and topics for the work programme of the following year. Several sources provide a basis input for this process. The Decision itself describes the mandate of the Network and sets out several areas for intervention to realise the vision and the mission of the Network. This mandate contains for instance the implementation of the Benchlearning, the core activity of the Network. Furthermore, it lays the foundation for mutual assistance projects within the Network. Besides these rather abstract descriptions of activities, the Decision also contains concrete topics the Network should engage in, such as the sharing of best practices on the identification of NEETs, on the reintegration of the long-term unemployed and other vulnerable groups into the labour market.
The new PES Network Strategy defines longer-term trends and challenges
The mandate of the Network translates into the PES Network Strategy. This strategy was just recently updated in June 2021 and describes the Network’s mission to empower, educate, and improve so that it can achieve its core purpose – to promote modernisation of individual PES, encourage optimum use of technology and data, and facilitate enhanced competencies for staff. The Network strategy also reflects on current trends on the labour markets, the ecosystem PES are operating in and necessary and possible scenarios for PES intervention. In this spirit, the PES Network strategy encourages mutual learning and cooperation of PES with other labour market stakeholders in view of the upcoming challenges.
The Benchlearning Site visits show the strength and learning needs of PES
An additional input source for the annual work programmes are the Benchlearning site visits, which are continuously performed. These assessments are supposed to identify areas for further improvement within each PES. A summary report completes each site visit including recommendations for the assessed PES. Hence, these summary reports provide a valuable source of information as they illustrate the strengths and learning needs of each PES. Analysing these reports, it becomes evident where PES can improve and how a learning transfer should be designed to ensure best practice transfers.
Next to the provisions of the Decision and the results from the Benchlearning site visits the annual work programme ahead also builds on the outcomes of the current work programme. In 2021 the PES Network’s work programme was implemented in the challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore largely influenced by the crisis measures PES had to take. The 2021 annual work programme was organised along four thematic clusters. These have proven to be useful since several years as they provide a transparent framework as well as a flexible structure that can be filled according to the current priorities of the Network. The current work programme activities revealed both interest of PES to further work on current topics as well as opportunities for topics, which have not been dealt with so far. This was taken into account when drafting the 2022 work programme.
The 2022 Work programme allows for cooperation and learning throughout recovery in a persisting challenging context.
The 2022 Work Programme will be implemented in a challenging context, whereby pre-existing labour market trends have been hastened with the COVID crisis. Alongside unprecedented challenges, the current situation has also created a momentum to boost PES innovation and sustainable service delivery. The Work Programme continues to build upon four main thematic clusters, slightly amended to give a specific emphasis to structural changes and partnerships.
- Recovery and structural changes, with a specific focus on external developments in the labour market, the ‘twin’ green and digital transition. In the wake of the pandemic, jobs are disappearing, new ones emerging. Supporting the green transition will remain very high on the Network’s priorities, with two dedicated activities. Skills and labour shortages have become particularly acute in some sectors and will be the main topic addressed through the Annual Conference to take place on 7-8 April. This will go in parallel with longer structural changes and trends in the world of work, such as digitalisation, more frequent transitions, a growing trend towards entrepreneurship and the greening of the economy. Jobseekers and employers need the right skills, knowledge and competences and PES have the potential to support them by identifying future skills needs, deliver suitable training, career guidance and support. This will be a key topic of the seminar on future skills, career guidance and lifelong learning, to take place on 9 February.
- PES Service Delivery – Continuous improvement and modernization of service delivery will be all the more important in the months to come to absorb a surge in the number of jobseekers, supporting their reallocation across occupations and sectors, whilst reaching out to the most vulnerable. Increased digitalization represents new opportunities for PES (for instance in terms of outreach, agile and flexible support, increased personalisation, and co-production of services) but also raises significant challenges. A Thematic Review workshop will help PES exchange on new forms of service delivery and a Jour Fixe meeting hosted by the Netherlands focus on behavioural science and its impact on services.
- PES Performance Management – Performance Management is key to PES for making their business case, demonstrate public added value towards policies and customers. It is strongly linked to topics such as quality management, knowledge management and human resource development. In recent years, digitalisation has also become an even more important part of PES’ performance management, with related challenges in terms of data protection, use of artificial intelligence and security of personal information. A new Working Group, PES 4.0 taskforce, will be set up to define common priorities and steer cooperation on digitalisation. A survey will also help assess how PES are addressing new staff challenges, addressing as such issues such as telework, key competences and security issues.
- PES visibility and partnerships – Awareness and knowledge transfer within the PES Network and its members should be further strengthened, building on steps taken in recent years to enhance the network’s outreach. PESPod, the PES Network podcasts, will be continued in 2022. Many PES have experienced a boost of co-operation since the pandemic, with key partners including NGOs, education and training providers, municipal and regional authorities, social support service providers, employers’ organisations, social partners, local stakeholders/communities, private employment agencies, temporary work agencies. Webinars on services to employers and partnerships for outreach will be an opportunity to discuss these further.
You can see at the chart below that several learning formats are attributed to each of these four clusters (to increase the chart please click open in new tab).
The events are organised in different formats. The annual PES stakeholder conference tries to reach the largest audience and provides opportunities for labour market actors to participate in the PES Network activities. Seminars and workshops allow the PES Network members to work intensively on specific topics. Follow up visits may round up such activities. While webinars address a larger PES audience, PES Jour Fixes provide an exchange platform for the top management of the PES. Working groups can work on specific topics, which are usually upon request of the PES Network Board that meet twice a year. Mutual assistance projects consist of a series of events and can be requested by individual PES that are interested in learning from peers on a specific topic.
Each of these events provides input papers, surveys and summery reports, which can be found in our PES Network knowledge centre. Besides these publications, the Network also engages in research activities and provides several studies, reports as well as opinion papers on current labour market topics.
Designing the annual work programme is a continuous process. Once endorsed, it provides enough flexibility to respond to urgent requests or, as we are all experiencing now, to unpredictable circumstances.
We hope that this labour market bulletin has helped to explain how the annual work programme is designed and how the Network works. In case you are interested in our work, please subscribe to our newsletter and consult our knowledge centre.
We wish you and your families a happy new year!