More Job Change, More Often with More Skill Content: The Future of Labor Intermediation

The future of the “how” of the delivery of better labor intermediation has been evolving to a wider spectrum of public-private-NGO intermediation services progressively in stages with more recent linkages, as laid out in this chapter, from the right, center or left with workforce/skills, social, and economic development policies. But this represents just one plane in which the future of labor intermediation services is changing. The other is the “what” and the “how often” - labor intermediation will be taking place in more globalized world economies more often and with the need for greater skill articulation than ever before.

More Rapid Job Change with More Transitions/Greater Range of Clients

Early employment services in the United States and Europe were conceived with the idea of getting the unemployed back into the labor market with the likelihood that they would continue in that job or career till retirement. Even when the mandate expanded to youth, there was little conception that these would be repeat clients. The rapid pace of job change, plus the multiplication of transitions between employment states have been amply documented and has changed the nature of the intermediation job of the future.25

Just a single worker in today’s global economy, regardless of country of origin, can anticipate transitions from school to work, from potentially specialized training to work, from periods of unemployment and idleness to work, periods between jobs, and particularly in developing countries, migration between jobs within the same country and across borders. While not all these transitions will require assistance, the pace of job change and multiplicity of transitions will put bigger demands on all forms of intermediation in the future.

The job of intermediation will require more skill and more knowledge of the labor market than ever before, but will also require an understanding of how to apply this knowledge to a greater range of clients and different labor market pressures. Among the many changes globally is the changing demographic profile of many labor markets. In the advanced and many transition countries, the population is aging and, without adequate pensions or social protections, people will be working longer or adjusting to part-time or other forms of contract employment. A “youth bulge” is more characteristic of many developing economies, being particularly severe in the Middle East and North Africa.

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