Pôle emploi: opening up to competition to reduce unemployment?

In a recent note, the Conseil d'analyse économique proposes"organizing competition between service providers chosen by the public employment service", to support VSEs and SMEs in the various recruitment phases. The objectives are to reduce recruitment difficulties for companies, lower unemployment and develop new services at Pôle emploi.

Intensifying the research effort: an insufficient measure for recruitment

According to the Conseil d'Analyse Économique (CAE), assisting very small businesses and SMEs in their recruitment efforts is one of the main levers for continuing to reduce unemployment. Without calling into question the effectiveness of Pôle emploi, the economists raise the possibility of introducing competition with private service providers specialized in recruitment.

In the same way that temporary employment agencies can, thanks to a 3-year agreement signed in 2021, have access to Pôle emploi's jobseeker database, the CAE imagines similar access for service providers subject to prior certification.

According to the CAE, the unemployment insurance reform aims to " intensify jobseekers' search efforts ", and measures have been taken to support the unemployed. However, " supporting and intensifying jobseekers' efforts to find work is not enough ".

Indeed, according to the economists, focusing on jobseekers' job search is not enough, as these search efforts " increase congestion in the labor market ".


The possibility of a market to support companies in their recruitment difficulties

The economists behind the CAE's paper "The French labor market in the face of the health crisis" recommend a " more fruitful " approach, namely to develop " targeted interventions " with employers. They cite the example of Pôle emploi, whose recruitment assistance services for companies have proven their effectiveness.

Among the services offered to companies, "aids for selecting and checking candidates' profiles " have met with great success, demonstrating that companies find it difficult to obtain certain information, such as " the degree of mastery of skills displayed by candidates ", or " their suitability for the job or work environment on offer ".

According to the CAE, making this information more accessible to companies would mean that vacancies would remain vacant for less time, and would also encourage the " creation of new jobs ".

VSEs and SMEs, which often lack the resources to invest heavily in human resources, are the most likely to have difficulty obtaining this information, which partly explains their recruitment difficulties. The CAE therefore proposes that the " additional public effort " should target VSEs and SMEs as a priority.

The economists mention the possibility of "building on the skills developed by Pôle emploi ", " by strengthening the human resources at its disposal or outsourcing part of this service to private providers ".

In their view, one way forward would be for the public employment service to organize a " company support market ", in which several service providers, including Pôle emploi, would compete.

The introduction of performance indicators, accessible to companies, would enable them to make an informed choice, and the public employment service could develop more recruitment-related services.