With EU Member States’ stimulus packages providing for a decent share of spending on adult learning and skills, the career management industry believes policymakers are still missing a crucial ingredient to make labor market transitions truly efficient and sustainable.
Murielle Antille is president of the Career Management Network of the World Confederation for Employment. Michael Freytag is Head of Public Affairs for the World Confederation for Jobs-Europe.
It’s a recurring problem in labor markets: Serious skills and labor market shortages are returning in many European countries, as economies recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, the problem becomes even more acute in complex and rapidly changing labor markets and with more and more workers leaving or intending to do so. The sustainability of its employability, however, requires more than a few training: it is a combination of skills, state of mind and alignment with the demands of the labor market.
So what’s the secret for people to find their next best decision, for employers to keep their talents, and for governments to keep unemployment at bay? Career guidance. The International Labor Conference in June 2021 recognized it as a central element of qualification and employability. The OECD Employment Outlook 2021 recommends it as a lever for economic recovery and other recent impact studies conducted by private employment service companies show that career coaching can make investments in more effective skills.
Yet few people have experienced the value of career coaching directly. One of the main reasons is that they just don’t know that such a service exists. A recent OECD study shows that 60% of adults have not used career guidance services in the past 5 years. If they have had access to it, they often do not identify it as the key to their success and its impact then becomes difficult to quantify. Nevertheless, a recent impact study shows that people who benefit from career coaching tend to participate more often in skills acquisition and that they report better use of the programs and that they have tend to perform better in employment.
Beyond the individual level, career guidance supports the resilience of the labor market. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need to support more and more professional transitions. Aligning workers’ aspirations with (new) market demands, developing an action plan to achieve targeted employment outcomes and developing an agile mindset to navigate the new world of work makes people “ready for employment” today, and allow them for the world to tomorrow. Career coaching can thus act as a lever for recovery and guarantee employers access to qualified and ready talent.
Publicizing career management services is therefore essential and this is precisely the aim of the Career Management Network of the World Confederation for Jobs. Bringing together the main players in the sector as well as the national federations of countries such as Belgium and Poland, it cooperates with various players to raise awareness of the services and their positive impacts. In a recent panel at the 2021 World Jobs Conference, they discussed with the OECD and the Italian Outplacement Association AISO the role of career guidance and how to ensure its more widespread use. during.
The involvement of all stakeholders is essential if we want to promote employability. Adopting career guidance is not just an individual responsibility. Employers also have their share. As careers become less linear and professional transitions become more frequent, they might not feel the need to invest in leaving workers. But by supporting their outgoing employees, they can also contribute to a more resilient talent market which ultimately benefits them as well.
Public entities also intervene by putting in place the right incentives to encourage the use of vocational guidance. The European Commission’s recent analysis of the 25 stimulus packages presented by EU Member States to date shows that around 30% of their total spending will be spent on social policy.
12% of this 150 billion euros will be spent on adult learning and skills. While this boost should support long-standing Commission reforms and investment demands from national capitals in the labor market, education and social protection reforms, we must ensure that the focus vocational skills, both through public entities and through the private sector during employment is part of the solution to making labor market transitions truly effective and sustainable.
The EU’s ultimate goal – also shared by the World Confederation for Jobs-Europe in our recent Manifesto – is to go beyond recovery and make labor markets more resilient. Career management services can significantly contribute to this goal. Policymakers would do well to consider the impact these services may have on the effectiveness of recovery, whether by including career coaching in all incentives and / or supporting its implementation in private employment. .