The Digital Transformation of Public Employment Services Across Latin America and the Caribbean

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Pieterson, Willem;
Franco, Andrés
Aug 2023
Public employment services have a crucial role in the search for quality jobs, worker placement, labor market adaptation, and mitigating impacts during economic transitions. Globally, these services have been leveraging on digital technologies to transform, and those in Latin America and the Caribbean are no exception. These technologies are enabling the creation of new channels to expand outreach and service delivery, centralizing, and sharing data, facilitating collaboration, and improving processes. However, rapid technological advancements also pose risks in terms of access and equity. For instance, improper use of artificial intelligence (AI) may exacerbate existing labor market inequalities. Therefore, it is essential for public employment services to harness the potential of digital technologies while mitigating associated risks. To address these challenges, these institutions must consider five key dimensions. Firstly, they need to be aware of the strategic implications of digital technologies. Secondly, they need to manage the impact of technology on their administrative operations. Thirdly, they must effectively utilize technology in their interactions with the public. Fourthly, they should undergo organizational changes to enhance agility and adopt different structures, skills, and cultures. Lastly, they must grow into their role of data processing organizations to take advantage of new opportunities and tackle new challenges.
This document provides relevant information on the opportunities and challenges of digitalization in public employment services in Latin America and the Caribbean across these dimensions, as well as their level of digital maturity. The data and results presented in this study are based on a survey conducted by the IDB's SEALC Network in 2019, which was expanded in 2022 to include fifteen countries in the region. Additionally, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the digitalization efforts of public employment services in the region is evaluated. This information is relevant for public employment services as it enables them to identify strengths and weaknesses in their digital transformation processes.