Honors Program: Germany's Labor Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit)

Project Name: Virtual Labor Market (VAM)

In order to support Germany's very high number of unemployed, the German state Labor Agency, the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA), established the "Virtual Labor Market." This scheme was launched to help better link unemployed workers with employers and to support the BA's staff in their efforts to help these unemployed workers to get back into the employment market. The Virtual Labor Market is comprised of an internal and an external online portal and links to the HR departments of private companies and commercial employment services.

The intranet portal, called VerBIS, is designed to support BA's 100,000 internal users located at the organizations offices throughout Germany with counselling and placement processes. Since the implementation of the scheme was completed in June 2006 the internal performance and efficiency of BA has improved considerably. This success has been due to improvements the Virtual Labor Market has made in the area of job matching, particularly in the time taken to match the most qualified candidate available a given employment opportunity.

The system is designed to reduce administration and bureaucracy so that the BA employees can focus all their efforts on finding suitable employment for their customers. The external facing part of the platform, called "Jobbörse," is accessible to the public and offers self-service capabilities, allowing jobseekers to take an active part in the job placement process and also reducing the workload on the agencies' side.

By providing one integrated system the transparency of the German labor market has increased immensely. More efficient processes and the new matching technology have led to almost 2 million job matches per week from which not only the unemployed benefit. The Virtual Labor Market provides a reliable and all-embracing source for jobs and applicants to the whole society.

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