Shifting gears

Changing methods and mindsets to address long-term unemployment

Seeking employment, particularly in a competitive labor market, can be a stressful and demanding process for anyone. However, those who have been unemployed for more than 12 months – the long-term unemployed – face even greater challenges. While long-term unemployment (LTU) obviously affects the unemployed and their families, it also has significant financial implications for governments and tax payers.

To better understand the scope of LTU and what is being done to address it, we surveyed 124 subject matter experts representing 31 countries and multiple geographic jurisdictions, as well as studied historical and future trends relating to LTU around the world. Our research reveals that public employment service (PES) and workforce development organizations globally have implemented multiple types of interventions, many of which have yielded positive results. These organizations plan to expand many of their interventions, though not necessarily those with the most impact.

We also discovered that many organizations are uncertain about the impact and potential of technology-related interventions and ill-prepared to address implementation challenges. In addition, although organizations are engaging with ecosystem partners to implement interventions, there is significant room for improvement.

Looking forward, our research shows that, barring any unanticipated economic events or a significant shift in interventions, the LTU rate is unlikely to fall to prerecession levels in most countries within the next five years. As such, we suggest PES and workforce development organizations act today to embrace new methods and mindsets.

Because the long-term unemployed population and the issues related to their status are diverse, no singular intervention can address the needs of all. We suggest governments tailor interventions to target specific needs, focus on holistic strategies for sustainable employment and exploit specific technology solutions to improve LTU outcomes.

Learn more in our report, where we explore current LTU interventions; reveal what organizations have planned for the future; and outline opportunities for organizations to better leverage technology and improve the focus, prioritization and coordination of interventions.

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About the authors

  • Nicole Gardner

    Nicole Gardner

    Vice President and Global Industry Leader for Social Services, Government Healthcare and Tax, IBM Global Business Services
    Connect with Nicole Gardner

  • Andreas Gollner

    Andreas Gollner

    Public Employment Service Lead, IBM Global Government Center of Competence
    Connect with Andreas Gollner

  • Miles Paris

    Miles Paris

    Unemployment Insurance and Workforce-Related Programs SME, IBM Global Government Center of Competence
    Connect with Miles Paris

  • d zaharchukd zaharchuk

    Dave Zaharchuk

    Global Government Industry Leader, IBM Institute for Business Value
    Connect with Dave Zaharchuk

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