Corona caused decline in services for difficult-to-employ jobseekers

Etusivu / Uutiset / Corona caused decline in services for difficult-to-employ jobseekers

According to the Social Barometer 2020 results, it was most difficult for the long-term unemployed, persons with partial work ability and elderly unemployed jobseekers to access the TE Office service they needed during the corona epidemic. The survey found that 47 per cent of TE Office management believed that the services needs of the long-term unemployed were met wither poorly or fairly poorly. Respondents felt that this was only the case for seven per cent of newly laid-off people.

“With the explosive increase in lay-offs, the resources of the TE Service were focused to serve new jobseekers. As a result, the service needs of long-term unemployed jobseekers or those who otherwise needed more support for finding employment were considered secondary,” says Peppi Saikku, Senior Researcher at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.

According to the results, service cancellations had the greatest impact on services for jobseekers in a vulnerable labour market position, such as work trials and rehabilitative work activities.

Not everyone has the capacity for a digital leap

This past spring, services supporting employment were mainly arranged as telephone, online and remote services.  Respondents felt that these worked well for the most part. Respondents said they would like to further improve the use of online and remote services in the future.

Based on the results, vulnerable groups may not have sufficient financial means or linguistic skills or competence for using digital services.

”Those people who belong to these groups may have not had access to the service even in situations where the service was in principle available,” notes Heikki Hiilamo, Research Professor at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.

TE Management also emphasised that in the future, face-to-face services and meetings will be needed alongside online and remote services, especially when clients have multiple service needs.

Service needs have become backlogged during the corona epidemic

The corona epidemic also influenced the preparation of plans related to employment. TE Administration focused on ensuring that the newly unemployed and laid-off were eligible for benefits as soon as possible. For this reason, only just under one third of TE Management estimates that employment plans are being prepared normally or almost normally. More than half estimated that an evidently smaller number of plans than normal were being prepared.

”Delays in the preparation of service needs assessments and client plans combined with the backlog in service needs of the unemployed are concerning. Clients do not receive the correct service at the correct time, which, in turn, increases the risk of prolonged unemployment,“ says Päivi Kiiskinen, Senior Advisor at SOSTE.

TE Management believed that the risk of prolonged unemployment was greatest for recent graduates or young people with no vocational education and training, as well as for unemployed people who were already in a disadvantaged position in the labour market, such as those with partial work ability.