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Govt pondering two jobless categories: Easy to employ and 'difficult cases'

Government is making moves to divide the jobless into two groups. The idea is to have local governments deal with those who are deemed difficult to employ, while the central government will work on finding jobs for those with good employment prospects. The plan would dramatically increase the number of private recruitment and temp agencies.

Nuori lukee työpaikkailmoituksia. Suomessa piilotyöpaikkoja löytyy usein enemmän kuin julkisesti avoinna olevia työpaikkoja.
Image: Yle

A new government proposal would see jobless persons divided into two groups who’d receive assistance from different areas. Persons with good employment prospects would have the central government helping them find jobs, while those with poorer prospects, such as the long-term unemployed, would be the responsibility of local governments. Trials with the latter prospect have already begun.

The groundwork for a two-tiered unemployment pool had already been laid down in the government programme and headlined as a major revamp of national employment services.

Jukka Haapakoski of the National Organisation of the Unemployed, said that jobseekers are already segmented, and that the government already channels more resources into placements for those who are most likely to find positions quickly.

"During the municipal trial a lot of cooperation was done with people in search of jobs, but then it stumbled over the fact that there weren't any resources for wage subsidies," Haapakoski pointed out.

Enhanced role for private sector

The government’s strategy will see the ramping up of private players in the recruitment sector. However the picture becomes rather more complicated with the introduction of local self-administrating regions that will take over from the Employment Ministry’s local offices. The ministry itself says that it’s still too early to talk about a system of segmented jobseekers.

Ministry permanent secretary Jari Gustafsson said they’d first need to strengthen the market mechanism to ensure that private providers can deliver employment services to both jobseekers and recruiters.

Current jobless figures in Finland, particularly in terms of the long-term unemployed, don’t make for pretty reading. Long term jobless persons now number 100,000 – and more are joining their ranks.

"This problem has doubled in a short time. There are already a good 100,000 long-term unemployed, when back in 2008 there were about 40,000. At the same time government resources have been cut and the current government has also adopted an austerity policy," Haapakoski said.

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