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What if those unemployed would be empowered to find a job faster than ever? A new experiment from Moldova

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What if those unemployed would be empowered to find a job faster than ever? A new experiment from Moldova

Imagine you are Cristina, an employed young Moldovan. She is registered with the National Employment Agency (NEA) and wants to get a job at home. It is a usual practice that the public employment service will register her, pay her unemployment benefits and provide all possible support. The staff of the employment agency will also inform her about all available job vacancies.

But what if Cristina gets the simplest instructions on basic job search, works a bit on her soft-skills and looks for work while being guided by her individual job plan? A plan that she develops based on her own knowledge, aspirations and understanding of the market. Sounds good, no?

Recently, we partnered with the National Employment Service and Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) on a new initiative. We decided to try to invert the way the system operates, giving more ‘power’ to the unemployed themselves and capacitating them with knowledge and skills on how to search and apply for existing jobs. UNDP will measure the impact of this experiment through a Randomized Controlled Trial*, first of its kind in Moldova.

Currently, in Moldova, an unemployed person stays on average about 5.34 months on social benefits or is entitled to receive the available services and guidance. Still the overall performance could be further improved. Even slight improvements of the quality of the curriculum (i.e. the trainings and the coaching that is offered to end-beneficiaries) could lead to increased performance and shortening of the average period of stay within the system, thus cutting on costs. A trial developed by the BIT and the UK government's Department for Work and Pensions found that small changes to the job search process led to an increase in the number of job seekers coming off benefits within 13-week period.

The changes included simplifying paperwork, encouraging job seekers to develop advanced plans and commit to specific actions.

The piloting of the experiment already took place in two employment centres in Moldova:Balti and Rezina. Both the staff of the Employment Service and the unemployed gladly embraced the idea of testing a new approach to job seeking. More than 23 unemployed and 4 staff members of the Employment service participated in the pilot phase of the experiment.

Follow us for upcoming updates and human stories of beneficiaries from the treatment group.

* Randomized Controlled Trial – a study design that randomly assigns participants or beneficiaries into an experimental group or a control group. As the study is conducted, the only expected difference between the control and experimental/treatment groups in a trial is the outcome variable being studied, in our case the length of stay within the employment promotion public system.

Blog post Jobs and livelihoods Sustainable development Moldova

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