Prime Minister Edi Rama’s remarks at meeting with regional employment service officials:
Thank you very much!
The end-June meeting was postponed for few days due to a due to some other commitments. However, this is of little importance in the face of the fact that June recorded the highest youth employment results since the new methodology was launched.
I am very glad that regional employment service offices have achieved their employment target for several months in a row, with some of them even having significantly exceeded the employment target figures. This means that potential out there is great, but the work you have done is serious too and deserves to be evaluated.
I would like to especially congratulate the regional employment offices in Berat and Skrapar, although the employment rate there is low in absolute numbers, but the most recent results are clearly obvious compared to the employment targets. I would also like to appreciate the regional offices in Gramsh, Librazhd, Peqin, Gjirokastra – which remains on top list for its accomplishments for several months now – the regional offices in Permet and Tepelena, which have scored really significant results this time, as well as offices in Korça, Kolonja and Pogradec. The regional office in Kukes has achieved an incredibly positive result in its job placement service. These are the regional employment offices which have achieved the highest results, but other offices have also met their target and I am looking forward to seeing such a trend keep going over the next months.
I am also pleased that according to the tax system data some 28 324 people have been formally employed in the country’s non-agricultural sector since last May.
This is a number I am sure will be ridiculed by the network of ERTV commentators and it will be seen as a lie, but this the reality and the truth is that more than 14 593 people were hired through the employment service offices over the past six months alone. This is a fact. It is quite easy for anyone who wishes to verify such data by simply addressing to the social insurance and tax register.
June was a positive month in terms of employment numbers, of course with the summer season having its impact. However, it is worth mentioning that employment offices are steadily improving their performance and job placement service. It is also worth emphasizing that – as we have highlighted in our previous meetings – despite the progress with the individuals excluded from the state-based welfare program and in spite of the difficulties you may encounter with individuals who are used with “a status quo” and refuse to take up jobs, it is our duty, it is your duty to keep insisting since it is not them to blame for a psychological condition, which, as it is universally known not only in Albania, but everywhere, is influenced by the creation of a stereotype of complacency about the social assistance payment.
As many as 31 237 new jobs were announced over the past six months. So if we were to compare the number of job placement and the vacancies there is still room for more efforts and attract more people to the labour market. Although you know much better and experience such a situation on daily basis, the labour market faces serious shortage specialized skilled workers to fill important jobs. Therefore a lot remains to be done for the employment promotion program.
The program should be absolutely transparent. The program should be made available to all employment service officials regardless their role in allocation of funding for this process and everyone of you should strictly monitor the program implementation.
We should point a finger to the problems and the need to steadily improve the performance of the employment service offices.
In addition to the positive results, there must be determined – and the Deputy Minister is in charge of this and whom I would like to publicly appreciate for leading a great change in this sector, a fact already underlined and acknowledged by the partners and donors – clear indicators of success that should be linked not only with the job placement target, but also keeping people at work.
Secondly, more clarification is needed from the central national employment office over the employment procedures in order for them to be reflected on the payroll of businesses. This is crucially important and I believe it is clear to all. The greatest challenge the employment offices face lies in the number and the success of cooperation contacts with the private sector companies. You know quite well that an average of five to six percent of businesses with more than five employees address to the employment service, which means that this service offers and provides extraordinary job opportunities. The employment service needs to establish contacts with 93%, or 94% of the businesses and this will be part of their performance indicators.
The employment service will have a strengthened role in its relations with the Labour Inspectorate and the Tax Administration in order to ensure best service delivery to business. The employment service should be primarily interested in protecting business from the inspectorate and the tax inspectors and ensure at the same time that best conditions are provided to workers. If the state employment office provides mediating and job placement service they should also assume the responsibility of the guarantor who ensures implementation of the law, which is another difficult part of your job since we all know that many businesses fail to respect legal rules and grant workers all their rights.
A cooperation process between the national employment service and the universities and the vocational education schools is already underway, but there is still much more room for improvement. Employment service is not being offered in certain municipalities across the country. That’s why the national employment service should forge a closer and more proactive cooperation with the universities and the vocational education institutions. Several employment service offices still suffer procedure standardization problems. The regional offices should be more cooperative, more involved and more transparent with local employment offices.
The Deputy Prime Minister will coordinate efforts to create a national website on job vacancies and recruitments. We definitely need this public-accessible and transparent mechanism, mandatory for companies to publish their vacancies on the national website and thus create an additional mechanism, which will significantly assist the employment offices, business and the jobseekers themselves. This is an idea that needs to be taken forward and needs to be implemented. It will not be easy, but it is indispensable.