Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED Programme)
Key themes: OECD LEED Reviews on Local Job Creation
In the recovery, local communities can boost economic growth and sustainability by investing in a skilled workforce which is less expendable, more adaptable to change and better able to contribute to productivity growth and the creation of new jobs (see Figure 1 below):
In order to contribute to this agenda, employment and training organisations need to align their services effectively with local conditions and with broader local economic development strategies. This project will assess how this can best be achieved, while preserving accountability and ensuring the achievement of national policy objectives.
A number of key themes are addressed through each country review, with countries asked to recommend areas of particular interest to them.
- Better aligning policies: At a time of budget deficits, policy silos and fragmented short-term policy interventions become luxuries that our economies can no longer afford. Producing better policy alignment between actors responsible for employment, economic development and skills at the local level, as well as working in partnership with private and other non-state stakeholders, will be important for both achieving better job outcomes, and also maintaining or reducing current levels of public expenditure.
- Adding value through skills: It is important that tomorrow’s workforce is equipped with high-level generic skills, so that individuals can transfer between sectors, and innovate in response to changing markets. This requires strong investment in flexible systems of ‘life-long learning’ so that people can build their skills throughout their lives. However in many localities both the public and private sectors are operating at a low level of productivity, offering poor quality jobs to local people while the local economy risks becoming uncompetitive. Employment agencies can also play an important role in helping firms to better utilise their workforce, and to provide career progression for lower-skilled workers.
- Targeting policies to new growth areas: Those communities and economies that are bouncing back the quickest after the downturn are those that specialise in certain economic sectors but are flexible enough to take advantage of new and emerging market opportunities as they develop. Anticipating future areas of growth should therefore be a key focus for local employment and skill strategies, based both on an analysis of local growth sectors, and an understanding of broader global trends.
- Being inclusive: Certain groups are affected more than others by the economic downturn, and many have been facing long-term obstacles that preceded the crisis. Local strategies are needed to get the young into stable jobs, and support their progression. Family friendly policies can support the economic participation of women. Local communities need to be adaptive to the particular needs of immigrants to support labour market inclusion. At the same time, area-based strategies are often particularly effective in supporting the inclusion of people who have experienced multi-generational disadvantage. This is a field in which employment and training organisations can benefit from working closely with a broad group of other stakeholders, including local employers.