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Support and matching

Policy Instrument

Support and matching

Stöd och matchning
Sweden

Description

Timespan

2014 - present

Stage

Fully operational

Foundations

Policy area

Support and matching is aimed at job seekers to get them out of unemployment, among other things.

Policy goal

Through individualised support, provided by private suppliers who are publicly funded, job-seekers (who have been unemployed for a long time (about a year) or who are newly arrived to the country) are provided job-seeking support and matching to the labour market. The purpose of Support and Matching is to get a job or start studying as quickly as possible. The intention is to provide people who are far from the labour market with special and individually adapted efforts (matching, guidance) that lead them to work or study and increase their prerequisites for getting a job.

Mismatch

Part of broader programme, yet with explicit focus

The program aims to match long-term unemployed with the needs of the labour market through individual coaching, based on an assessment of the knowledge, abilities, interests, etc of the unemployed.

Aim of policy instrument

Administrative level

National

Main responsible body

The Swedish Public Employment Service (Swedish: Arbetsförmedlingen)

Stakeholders

The service is provided by about 200 private suppliers who have an agreement with The Swedish Public Employment Service. The job seeker chooses which supplier they wishes to use for the service.

Funding

Support and Matching is financed through the Government appropriation "Program and Action 1: 3" (SEK 1.3 billion (incl. VAT) for 2016). There are no figures for the future. The agency contract private suppliers and pay them based on the number of job-seekers that uses the supplier's services.

Intended beneficiaries

Individual support for long-term unemployed and migrants to get a job or start studying.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

Individual information about the labour market is given to the job-seeker since the instrument is carried out by 200 private suppliers. Those suppliers can use labour market intelligence provided by the Swedish Public Employment Service and Statistics Sweden. Twice a year, the Swedish Public Employment Service makes a forecast for labour market development in the near future. The forecast is based on interviews with private and public employers and is presented in reports for the entire country and by region. The forecasting work also forms the basis, for example, for the Occupational Compass. Statistics Sweden gives a report presenting long-term forecasts of supply and demand for labour for different education groups. This is done by studying streams through the education system and in the labour market, as well as the training requirements for different parts of the labour market.

Financial schemes

The service is provided by about 200 private suppliers (in 2016), who have been procured and signed an agreement with The Swedish Public Employment Service. The job seeker chooses which supplier they wishes to use for the service. The job seeker is offered to participate in the instrument by their job counsellor at the Swedish Public Employment Service, if the job seeker meets certain conditions. The job seeker has financial incentives to participate in the service, because if the unemployed does not participate, he or she can lose his or her unemployment benefit.

Frequency of updates

The Swedish Public Employment Service makes a forecast for labour market development in the near future twice a year.

Development

The instrument was designed to support the long-term unemployed. Since spring 2016, it has been possible for people within the so called 'Establishment mission' to use the instrument. The establishment mission aims to create the conditions for people who are new in Sweden to get a job or education quickly. Sweden received a large number of refugees, especially in 2015, of which many need support for entering the labour market.

Barriers

Identifying appropriate users of the service. The Swedish Public Employment Service is working to provide the users with available and clear user instructions. The system of private suppliers has been criticized from time to time. The criticism has been about shortcomings in the quality of the suppliers and the lack of ability of the Swedish Public Employment Service to detect and respond to such shortcomings.

Success factors

Good and serious suppliers, and a structured follow-up model, money, and users that are appropriate for the service.

Monitoring

The Swedish Public Employment Service is annually following up the number of participants in the instrument, the number of suppliers and the proportion of people in work or education 90 days after the completion of the action. The indicators are presented in the agency's annual report.

Innovativeness

Slightly innovative

Contracting private suppliers for individual face-to-face counselling combined with a voucher system with choice is innovative in the Swedish context. The service is in that regard result-driven to an extent that is not used before in Sweden in this kind of service. The Swedish Public Employment Service terminates the contracts with those suppliers who have poor results or few participants. It is the participant who chooses which supplier they want, which is innovative since the unemployed in previous equivalent programs would have had to used the guidance offered by the employment agency. This can lead to a greater internal driving force among the job seeker. To trust internal driving forces among participants is also an innovative aspect of the program.

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

About 30% of men and 25% of women found work after participating in Support and Matching. The results of a survey of the participants show that the majority of participants (about 60%) are satisfied with the instrument. About half also consider that the support helped them get closer to work or study. The instrument has not been evaluated, but the number of people who are included in the service has increased dramatically (about 83,000 people were included in 2016, 62,000 in 2015 and 2,000 in 2014). The suppliers are rated by the users of the service and the ratings are published online. The need to identify and sort out non-compliant suppliers has costed unexpected resources.

Engagement of stakeholders

The private suppliers are dependent on the Swedish Public Employment Service approving their quality, which allows job seekers to use the services of the suppliers.

Transferability

Not easily transferable

The highly individualised support given in the instrument, and the freedom of choice that might foster motivation among the job-seekers, might be interesting for other countries to get inspiration from. The service is probably possible to implement in other countries, but since the service rely heavily on New Public Management (NPM) strategies for public administration implementation, it is probably easier in countries using NPM. The service also relies on the existence of suppliers of these services, which either has to already exist or be promoted. Hence, it is possible to transfer, but not very easily.

Sustainability

Yes. The instrument has been in place for a while and a return to a model of corresponding support is given by public actors.