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

Project Name: Virtual Labor Market (VAM)

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Has your project helped those it was designed to help?   Yes

What new advantage or opportunity does your project provide to people?

The Virtual Labor Market has improved the efficiency of the internal processes at BA and assisted its move to become a customer-oriented organization. This is reflected in the improved support of the unemployed in Germany since the project's implementation. The application provides user-friendly features to document the complete job-related history of a person. With the old system most of this important data was lost when a person moved or when the team managing them within the BA organization changed. As the Virtual Labor Market uses one centralised database, any loss of information about the person is prevented and data has to be entered only once.

In addition the automated matching tool offers more flexibility in the placement of potential employers with job offers. Usual search engines do not show results if one of the criteria demanded in the job offer is not specified in the applicant's profile. The new matching functionality sorts profiles according to the degree of compliance with the job offers and does not reject them in advance. Thus BA employees are offered a wider pool of applicants which enables them to act more flexible and quicker in helping candidates find suitable employment. Another advantage for the unemployed is the possibility of actively participation in their placement process. Using the internet portal they can update their personal data and profiles or use the matching functionality on their own.

Before implementing the Virtual Labor Market BA had no opportunity to offer job seekers an overview of all available jobs since it had two legacy systems in which only local databases and regional data were maintained. As it provides an overall database, the Virtual Labor Market is encouraging workers' mobility to meet the employers' increased demand on flexibility throughout Germany.

Has your project fundamentally changed how tasks are performed?   Yes

How do you see your project's innovation benefiting other applications, organizations, or global communities?

The database of the Virtual Labor Market plays a very important role for statistical evaluations within BA. The results are in the spotlight of political and public interest. The implementation of the Virtual Labor Market increased the data quality considerably by providing strict validations of the data entries and functionalities as the automated assessment of a customers' unemployment status. Compared to the systems they replaced, the new application can deliver reliable data and support across the whole of Germany. These improved figures also enable the government and businesses to identify the current trends in the German Labor Market more accurately. An example of this is the new index called BA-X which covers open postings of the primary Labor Market. Due to the Virtual Labor Market's contribution, the job index BA-X is widely respected as an economic indicator because it is not based on surveys or estimations but on actual job offers being made and so provides a representative view on the German job market.

Thanks partly to the success of the Virtual Labor Market as part of the reforms, important aims have been achieved: a higher number of people who are liable for contributions, the early due date for the payment of contributions and a lower number of unemployed have all resulted in more income and reduced expenses for BA.

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