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Employment services – Helping job seekers online

Field experiment shows benefits of online job search assistance

In a new IZA Discussion Paper, Guglielmo Briscese, Giulio Zanella, and Nicky Quinn report the results of a field experiment where they tested the effect of complementing offline assistance with a website that provided an editable resume and cover letter templates, as well as tips on how to look and apply for a job. The researchers randomized exposure to the website among about 2,700 job seekers.

They find that the intervention increased the rate of job seekers who found their own employment (i.e. not through a vacancy that was secured by an employment agency), particularly among those aged 35-50 (up to 8 percentage points), with larger effects for women within this age group (up to 10 percentage points).

The job retention rates were higher compared to the control group, suggesting that the quality of job matches improved, too. But the study also shows that not everyone is ready for a sudden transition to the online world. Older and less tech-savvy job seekers might face a double barrier in shifting to an online labor market and could thus be at greater risk of displacement.

COVID-19  is imposing a fast adjustment. As a vaccine, most likely, won’t be available until late next year, many industries will be disrupted and millions of workers displaced. It would be a shame, the authors argue, to let such serious crisis go to waste and miss the opportunity to radically improve employment assistance programs.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Helping job seekers online


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