“Intermediation Plus” Extended Services

Extended services may be grouped into three types. The first I am calling “intermediation plus” to highlight that they seek to ultimately place a person in a job but that they do so by helping to overcome some obstacles that cannot be fixed via simple job matching (the cheapest, easiest and fastest route to a job if matching is all that is needed). A key feature is the use of the service, or the incentive provided by the service, to help pry open a hidden job market. Training or wage subsidy programs are the most common form of extended service. I have seen this work throughout the developing world - when an employer who doesn’t think they have a job or is unwilling to offer a job to a stranger. They may be convinced to supervise a “free” trainee or accept a cash wage subsidy and, afterwards, may hire the person. The more effective of these “training for job placement” programs require a percentage of the trainees (typically 50-60%) to be hired. Training programs have various lengths, content and track records - not all types do or are intended to lead to job placement. They can be applied to those looking for a job, or can be for “active” workers currently employed. To be considered “intermediation plus,” we’re talking only about training used for outsiders to help them get into the labor market. Training with the best record is “on the job” - that is, on a work site, using the equipment and methods of an actual workplace. The training or wage subsidy service referred to here can either be an actual program managed by the same people who manage core job placement or can be a referral service, in which job seekers are sent to or are provided listings of local training programs. Both training and wage subsidies are tools of “active” labor market policies and have different functions than job placement, discussed more at the end of this chapter.

A second “intermediation plus” service found principally in developing countries is migrant support services. Most migrants from the South migrate for work without any support or service and this has fed a much larger international crisis as the daily headlines from Syria, Libya, and Bangladesh (among the many) attest. Authorized migration from a home country to a foreign job, however, can be aided, made safer, and even circular, with greater oversight being exercised to guard against exploitation. For external migrants, particularly in seasonal agricultural and tourism work, services can screen workers, insure their fair payment and even supervise their return. A range of country examples under four types of migrant services linked to labor intermediation as well as a third extended service - microenterprise or self-employment programs - are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 4.

A final “intermediation plus” service is placement and support work done directly for employers outside of any open public listing. Employers may want private screening done of applicants, and/or interviews set up or even conducted, typically for time and efficiency reasons. They may be too small an employer to do this themselves; they may not want to use their scarce personnel for tasks that people skilled in human resources could handle more efficiently. This can be a service introduced very early in order to build confidence with private employers - e.g. they might list jobs in the future if this works - as well as enable a service to develop a market in specific types of employment (e.g. high tech) that needs specialized screening. The fee-based service could include screening, interviewing and testing potential candidates for employment. These services can thus serve multiple functions of increasing job placements, getting more vacancy listings (thereby strengthening core services over time), and bringing in revenue for cash-starved public employment services.

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