While in Moldova the unemployment rate is of 3%, according to official data (National Bureau of Statistics, 2018), uncertainty gains ground on the labor market. When turning 19 years old, most of young people start looking for a job and this process lasts in average for 8-9 months. But they must wait for about three years more before ending up with a stable job. Only half of the young people from rural area succeed to find a job. We learned this by conducting a research in partnership with the National Institute for Economic Research.
“I’ve been registered with the Employment Agency for the last half a year; several job offerings were proposed to me, including one at a medical facility, but the salary was very low. I’ve accepted another offer given by the career advisor and this is where I continue working today”. This is only one testimonial from hundreds we got from persons we interviewed, and gloomy routine for the career advisors of the National Employment Agency. This vicious circle keeps rolling out, while discouragement and apathy are growing.
On one hand, jobseekers strive to find decent work in their home country, while very often their skills mismatch the employers’ demands. Also, according to our partner, the National Employment Agency, who helps women and men find a job, their beneficiaries are passive, and do not feel like getting the lead out and finding their way on the market. On the other hand, the Agency is short of resources and people. But, it is determined to transform itself and connect jobseekers’ aspirations to employers’ expectations.
To unlock this paradox, back in 2016, we at UNDP Moldova have engaged with the National Employment Agency in conducting a behavioral experiment: to see what happens if we mentor and encourage jobseekers to become proactive. And ‘what if’ is our favorite question. We partnered with the Behavioral Insights Team.
We knew from various researches that encouraging proactivity is one of the most effective ways of improving people’s chances of obtaining employment.
Building on this promising foundation, we started looking into the ways we could rapidly and cost-effectively help jobseekers find employment faster. We redesigned the way consultations for jobseekers take place and put them at the heart of the process.
We called this new approach Employment Helper. To make it operational, we created an instrument, easy to tailor and roll out - an individual employment plan.