The situation in the labour market has slightly improved in comparison with 2006 – the unemployment rate fell, while the employment rate increased. The most significant changes in the period 2006 - 2013 included intensive labour migration of Poles westward, mostly between 2006 and 2009 (majority of these people do not come back) and economic crisis between 2009 and 2011 resulting from international financial crisis. At that time, trend of positive changes in Poland collapsed. 2012-2014 have been years of stabilisation of the labour market, however, there has been also a slump in the number of new jobs.
West Pomeranian Voivodeship is still a region with very low employment rate, although this ratio grew substantially between 2006 and 2013.
In the case of female employment, the situation is still negative although the gap between the sexes is slightly smaller than in 2006. The largest problem concerns women aged 30-39 (most often returning to work after having children) with no professional experience or familiarity with a workplace, which is particularly important to employers. Here, the diagnosis of OP HC remains up-to-date despite a substantial improvement of access to childcare services.
There was considerable enhancement in respect of young people under 24 years of age. However, this group requires improvement of qualifications, i.e. measures aimed at complementing their knowledge and competences acquired at school with more specific practical skills, preferably taking place in the actual job (on-the-job training).
The situation of the groups aged 55-64 has strongly deteriorated. The diagnosis of OP HC indicates the group aged 45 and over, however, it is an heterogeneous one. Unemployment in the voivodeship among the group aged 45-54 is decreasing, while among people at and over 55 years it has been soaring since 2008 and currently is almost twice as much as in 2006. This is a consequence of changes in pension scheme and growing digital and social exclusion along with supposed lack of competence among this group.
In comparison with 2006 (when OP HC diagnosis was conducted), the share of the long-term unemployed group in the entire number of the unemployed decreased; however, this group still requires particular support as difficult in activation;
The share of unqualified group in the total number of the unemployed in 2013 was higher than in 2006. – this group is destined for special support;
The share of the group without professional experience or secondary education is falling, but still the latter constitutes the largest group in terms of education;
The situation in terms of employment of disabled persons is very unfavourable in West Pomeranian Voivodeship (the last position in the country) - despite an improvement within 2006-2013, this voivodeship is still lagging behind the rest of the country. This group should receive particular support.
Diagnosis of OP HC regarding people bringing up children is still up-to-date, all the more so as in recent years has also grown the number of people who are professionally inactive due to family responsibilities;
As to people leaving prisons and university graduates under 27 years of age, there were no significant changes but it is worth to mention that the first of these groups becomes professionally inactive especially often.
Carrying out a diagnosis of particular group to be supported and adjusting measures to the needs of this group is of utmost importance especially in groups that are difficult in activation (e.g. the long-term unemployed, the professionally inactive, the disabled).
There are two basic models of support. The first is similar to actions taken by Poviat Employment Offices typical for the measure 6.1.3 and consists of psychological and consultancy support (including Individual Action Plans) as well as professional training and placement. This model was generally recognised by respondents as comprehensive and versatile. The other model focused on conducting business activity by its participants and provided consultancy, coaching and training as well as financial support. The models do not differ a lot in terms of type of their beneficiaries or partnerships implemented in the framework of projects. A model should be adjusted depending on the target group, e.g. regaining the familiarity with a workplace is particularly important in the case of women returning to work, while acquiring skills that facilitate re-entering the modern labour market is the key issue for senior citizens.
Direct channels (family, friends and caseworkers from Poviat Employment Office or Social Welfare Centre) proved to be the most effective project information channels. However, ways of advertisement used by the beneficiaries were usually different – inadequate to the needs (outdoor campaigns, websites). Meanwhile, caseworkers of the excluded persons in Poviat Employment Offices and Social Welfare Centres often had no information on the implemented projects. Forms of promotion should be adjusted to the participants. Most popular tools used in the recruitment to project were application forms, interviews and questionnaires. The recruitment process was relatively difficult - the problem was insufficient interest among the target groups. Direct contact and encouraging to participate in the offered actions proven the most efficient.
The most effective forms of support included those which provided their beneficiaries with particular qualifications and experience - first of all, internships and placements as well as professional training. However, the support should be comprehensive and include elements of counselling, also in terms of psychological consultancy. Professional guidance, grants and social work were evaluated relatively lowest.
According to employers, the most important and expected traits are those related to conscientiousness, activity, motivation to work and involvement. These results are surprising and reflect a change as in previous years the employers pointed out mostly on professional experience and relevant education. They are most often unable to assess the adaptation of OP HC support to their own needs.
On the other hand, the participants of projects define their future needs mainly as opportunity to gain professional experience and qualifications. Needs in terms of forms of support have not changed radically in comparison with the last programming period, however, there was identified the need to extend the group of young people up to 30 years of age.
The most important obstacles in the projects were weak motivation of the participants and low level of their conscientiousness (the two traits most expected by employers). The problem is the most excessive in the case of the long-term unemployed group; apart from opportunity barrier, they also reveal aspirational barrier.
Majority of the beneficiaries plan to take advantage of ESF resources in the next programming period in order to implement similar measures. They declare relatively strong potential in this regard; relatively the highest potential was declared by private entities and the lowest by non-governmental organisations. The most essential stimulus to implement projects is their tangible effect – improvement of the situation of participants, while the greatest disincentive – problems concerning recruitment and withdrawals of the participants during the project.
In order to activate a person from the particularly disadvantaged group in the labour market, it is necessary to spend about PLN 20 000. Non-innovative projects proved less cost-effective than the innovative ones, and competition projects – less effective than the systemic. The most expansive is activation of disabled and long-term unemployed people.
The effectiveness of employment support under the projects in West Pomeranian Voivodeship is relatively low compared to other regions, especially in the group of the long-term unemployed.
The largest share of the activated are people under 25 years of age and the long-term unemployed persons.
The following measures are recommended
1. Strengthening the qualifications of Social Welfare Centres and Poviat Employment Offices employees (employment agents, social workers) as information brokers;
2. Informing on projects through other institutions visited by the participants (e.g. contact points in municipal libraries, parishes, village council offices)
3. Higher evaluation of such forms of promotion and information included in application forms that involve direct contact with potential participants (e.g. information meetings, information broker, mobile adviser, etc.)
3. Implementation of a competition (e.g. in the framework of IP 10iii) restricted to the youth group (19-30), aiming at complementing their knowledge acquired at school or university with practical skills required for professional work.
4. Implementation of competitions dedicated to the group aged 55 and over. Apart from professional training, internships, etc. they will involve mandatory course supporting adaptation of this group to modern society and labour market requirements (e.g. development of skills related to new technology (computer, e-mail, Internet, mobile devices), time management, searching and selection of information, improvement of self-presentation skills, CV preparation, preparation to a job interview, etc.) – for example in the framework of IP 8i
5. Implementation of internship programs and on-the-job training for the group of women returning to work after having children in the framework of IP 8iv (dedicated competition, strategic priorities)
6. Taking into account the cost of childcare when supporting single parents and women returning to work after a break for childcare;
7. Improving flexibility of project implementation principles and accounting rules (adjusting measures to diagnoses); facilitation of the procedure if making amendments to a project.
8. Introduction of a voucher or a training and internship fund, under which a participant will be able to choose specific actions depending on individual needs
9. Rewarding with strategic points the projects implemented by local organisations which are familiar with the needs of a given environment
10. Implementation of competitions dedicated to the groups over 55, the long-term unemployed and the unemployed with disabilities – particularly important in West Pomeranian Voivodeship
12. Imposing on project originators the requirement to implement a few complementary support instruments in the case of projects dedicated to groups in a special situation in the labour market (comprehensive support)
13. Favouring projects that cover individual work with the participant along with support preceded by developing a comprehensive personality profile and also supporting the family of the participant as a systemic measure for enhancement of their life situation (including use of the experience from EQUAL Community Initiative, e.g. Job as a Dowry project)