A fresh research and methodological guide on the possibilities of labour market integration of long-term unemployed, young and elderly job seekers has been just published by HETFA. The main objective of this research report was to assess the tools that are used by the Hungarian public employment service (PES) staff during their work with the priority target groups (youth under 25, unemployed elderly over 50 and long-term unemployed), and their efficiency. The goal was to compile a paper with concrete methodological suggestions.

According to statistics, literature and expert interview, our priority target groups face significant disadvantages in the Hungarian labour market and they would need special support and services, however, jobcentre workers do not have additional resources to help them.

Counterfactual impact assessment and other types of evaluations conducted in Europe provide evidence that complex programmes combining multiple measures are the most effective for these target groups. The main findings of the literature are the following:

  • Trainings alone are seldom effective for young jobseekers – though combined with other measures they can be successful, especially on-the-job trainings. Still, our research found that usually only trainings are offered to young people.
  • Trainings can be effective for older unemployed, but only if the education methods can be tailor-made to the special needs of the target group.
  • Single measures cannot be effective in the case of long-term unemployed; only intensive, long and complex programmes that combine multiple active measures (including services) can be helpful for this target group.
  • Coordination of social and employment services are also of key importance. Services responding to individual differences and needs are crucial in case of priority target groups.

There are large individual differences in these groups, thus any successful service and support needs to respond to these individual needs. It is more feasible to specify the probability of long-term unemployment utilising a nuanced profiling system rather than an age-based one; therefore, high-risk job seekers can be directed towards different services immediately, and more thorough diagnostics can be created.

Concerning the next Programming Period, we suggest two separate labour market programmes:  first, a programme targeting profiling category number 2, focusing on training and/or wage subsidies. Secondly, a complex and personalised programme targeting disadvantaged groups, where the different active labour market measures are combined and tailored to the needs of the participants. This programme should be carefully targeted to a narrower target group.

English summary is available here. The entire research report in Hungarian is available here.

This research, titled “Methodological research for more effective services of the special target groups of the National Employment Service” has been conducted for the Ministry of National Economy (and its successor, the Ministry of Finance), in the context of GINOP-5.1.1-15-2015-00001 and VEKOP-8.1.1-15-2015-00001 “Road to the labour market” priority projects.