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

Project Name: Virtual Labor Market (VAM)

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Has your project achieved or exceeded its goals?   Exceeded

Is it fully operational?   Yes

How many people benefit from it?   10 mill

If possible, include an example of how the project has benefited a specific individual, enterprise or organization. Please include personal quotes from individuals who have directly benefited from your work.

The Virtual Labor Market can be seen as an unqualified success for all the parties involved. By the close coupling of the internal and external portal, over four million unemployed Germans get more involved in the services their labor agents are providing. The self-service capabilities of the system enable the job seekers to constantly adapt the job profile that is used by the Agency to the level of detail they wish.

Every user can access main parts of the personal and job-related information the Agency stores about them. This creates unprecedented transparency of administration processes -- fostering public confidence in the Labor Agency as a whole and enhancing the relations between the Agency's employees and the citizens they serve.

The new matching technology does not stop at job seekers formal qualifications but highlights his or her actual skills in detail. This guarantees the optimal fit of applicants to job openings and also helps Labor agents to get to know their customers better -- to counsel them more effectively or recommend the most adequate trainings.

"VerBIS offers immense possibilities" says Markus Michel, formerly unemployed. His placement agent found his current job by the enhanced matching technology a job that requires skills which he had acquired by self-study but had no formal qualification for. "Some time ago I would have fallen through the cracks because the only possible job search would have been the search for a job title."

How quickly has your targeted audience of users embraced your innovation? Or, how rapidly do you predict they will?

Since the release of the Internet portal in December 2003, the Virtual Labor Market has gained widespread popularity and now attracts 25,000 new registered users per week, including job seekers and employers. With approximately 10 million page hits per day it is one of the most popular job sites in the country. The innovative cooperation model which enables employers to automatically export their internal job postings to the Jobbörse has become a frequently used tool. The underlying technology ensures that job postings in the Virtual Labor Market are directly updated when changes in the companys systems occur. Therefore job postings reach more potential applicants without additional effort for the companies. At the same time it is assured that jobseekers only react to up-to-date information on open positions. Hence the cooperation model benefits anybody who participates in the labor market and so also improves the domains in which the Labor Agency is not directly involved.

The decision of Siemens as one of the biggest employers in Germany to send all its 2000 apprenticeship positions to the Labor Agency's databases proves how popular the cooperation model has become. The joining in by a well-known company with high reputation is a symbol for the sustained success of the project in the first year of operation of the internal and external portal. It highlights the central role the Virtual Labor Market plays in promoting the former government agency's image as a modern service-oriented organization.

The internal portal VerBIS has not been embraced as quickly as the external one. The implementation was part of a multi-reform plan and faced a critical audience. Nonetheless, user surveys showed that the employees liked many aspects of the system at first go and that popularity is rising as users familiarise with the system and the new processes.

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