labour market information plus genders equity


Labour market information and employment services
Labour market information systems generate, update and disseminate information on
current and future skill needs. This supply of critical information on an ongoing and
timely basis is half the story.
The other half is the transmission mechanisms that make this continuous flow of
timely information available to education and training institutions, private market trainers, employers, trade unions, young people and their families, and displaced workers.
Public employment services (PES) have a critical role to play in making information
available in the form of career guidance, vocational counselling, and material on access
to training and job-matching services. PES help workers and employers make transitions
in the labour market through job-matching services, information and access to labour
market programmes (on, for example, skills training or retraining, self-employment and
starting a business);

 and they help jobseekers choose the best options to improve their
individual employability, through dissemination of reliable labour market information,
career guidance and counselling, and a spectrum of tools and techniques to assist in
searching for jobs. Many PES also administer unemployment insurance programmes as
a means of providing temporary financial support to workers.
Private employment agencies have an increasing role to play in improving labour
market functions through job-matching and the provision of advice. Many countries
Box 7:  Employment services
In Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) helps students, workers
and employers to anticipate the skills that will be needed in the future. CanLearn is an online postsecondary education resource that provides information about education and training opportunities, tools to assess how well those opportunities match individuals’ aspirations, and information
on financing education and lifelong learning. The Youth Employment Strategy helps at-risk youth,
post-secondary students and graduates acquire the skills and work experience necessary to increase
their success in the labour market. In an effort to help employers retain their skilled workers during
economic downturns, 

Canada’s Work-Sharing programme provides employment insurance benefits
to supplement regular wages for workers on short working weeks.
The National Employment Service (SNE) in Mexico operates emergency programmes to help workers
and employers facing economic or other hardships. To meet those needs, SNE has diversified, positioning itself as an instrument of employment policy by facilitating more rapid adjustment in the
labour market for both workers and enterprises. It has expanded its coverage to include workers at
risk of losing jobs, the unemployed and the underemployed.
PART III Building blocks of strong training and skills development strategies 27
have improved the regulation of private employment agencies to enable and monitor
their compliance with labour standards (including in areas of equal opportunity) and
mobilize them to combat human trafficking and increase training services.
Training quality and relevance
A great deal of effort is required to make sure that skills development systems deliver
both the quantity and the quality of training needed. This entails in the first instance
an adequate supply of qualified teachers, trainers, directors of training institutions, and
master craftspersons to take on apprentices; the provision of opportunities for them to
periodically upgrade their own skills; and conditions of work comparable with those in
industry so as to attract the most talented staff.
Well-staffed and adequately funded training institutions are essential to skills
development strategies and policies. Periodic reviews may be necessary to assess their
effectiveness in meeting their goals and their efficiency in using scarce resources.
Existing training infrastructure needs constant innovation to keep up with new
technologies and learning methods. Flexibility and agility are vital to ensure that instiBox 8: Improving skills development systems
■ In Spain, the Government seeks to bring the numbers of students in vocational training closer
to the average in other European countries, reduce school drop-out rates and prepare workers
for new jobs in emerging sectors. Efforts to increase the demand for training include providing
education grants to more young people, improving the supply of training by engaging enterprises and linking training more closely to their needs, and raising social perceptions of vocational training. These and other steps comprise the Government’s “road map” towards more
rapid reform and increased graduation rates. The Sustainable Economy Law (2009) includes a
chapter on professional training aimed at avoiding skills gaps that would slow the transition to
a lower-carbon economy as well as at realizing the potential for substantial job growth.
■ Skills systems in many Latin American countries are anchored in national training institutions
whose management structures bring together representatives of ministries of labour and education, employers’ and workers’ associations, and sectoral and regional bodies. Institutions such
as SENAI and its sibling organizations in specific sectors in Brazil are tasked with implementing
national human resource development policies and are financed through employer levies and
national budgets as laid down in law.

 ■ In Saudi Arabia, foreigners comprise just over half the labour force. One objective of the national
skills policy has been the so-called “Saudization” of the workforce. Fast-growing sectors such
as electronics, ICT, construction, refrigeration and air-conditioning, and tourism are creating
new occupations. One of the strategies adopted to attract Saudis into these new occupations
and to provide good-quality training has begun with improving the quality of TVET and raising
the status of the teaching profession generally, for example by establishing dedicated teachertraining colleges and combining academic preparation, educational theory and practice, and
experience in industry for new and existing teachers.
28 A Skilled Workforce for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth
tutions remain able to respond to the evolving challenges posed by dynamic labour

Training institutions must have the capacity to periodically adapt curricula
and update teachers’ and trainers’ skills to the changing needs of the world of work.
Good-quality training outcomes further depend on maintaining a high quality of
training contents, methods, facilities and materials. Apprenticeships, and more generally
the combination of classroom-based and work-based training, produce the best results.
Skills standards should be set and tested by involving stakeholders in the process.
Lifelong learning critically depends on a strong integration between education,
training and work.
A skills-based qualification system can accommodate multiple pathways through
education, and between education and work.
Flexible workplace training and learning arrangements are conducive to development of a broad range of skills. Workplace training allows students not only to learn
the technical skills related to a particular job, but also to develop soft skills, such as
communication, ICT, teamwork, problem-solving and the ability to learn, that are ever
more critical in changing market environments.

Gender equality
Training is an important means of pursuing the overall goal of equality of opportunity
and treatment for women and men in employment and occupation. Opportunities in the
labour market are important means for women to achieve greater equality with men;
and the more skilled the female workforce is, the wider women’s choices in labour
markets will be, and the more likely they are to secure equal treatment. 

Overcoming the challenges that confront women in gaining access to education
and training and in using this training to secure better employment requires the adoption of a life-cycle approach. This includes improving girls’ access to basic education;
overcoming logistic, economic and cultural barriers to apprenticeships and to secondary and vocational training for young women – especially in non-traditional occupations; taking into account women’s home and care responsibilities when scheduling
workplace-based learning and entrepreneurship training; and meeting the training
needs of women re-entering the labour market and of older women who have not had
equal access to opportunities for lifelong learning.

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