Expert article
Modifier 15 June 2022
by Ronald Lievens, UIA Expert

Passport for Work’s scientific impact study kicks off

social innovation P4W
social innovation process P4W

Figure 1. The social innovation process underlying Passport4Work

Ever since the Passport for Work project started, it has been a key objective to support its social innovation process with a scientific impact analysis. In this web article, the methodology, the hypotheses as well as a few preliminary insights are presented.

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As can be seen in the above figure, the project has gone through several social innovation “phases”, which were often taking place in parallel. For instance, the technical development, testing and scaled delivery of the online platform (and its underlying assessment modules and matching engine), corresponded with phases 3 (“prototyping”), 4 (“sustaining”) and 5 (“scaling”). This was not a linear process: the skills assessment, for example, progressed through these stages at a faster pace than the matching algorithm. Different levels of complexity and unforeseen hurdles account for these differences. To illustrate the latter, the matching algorithm is highly sensitive in terms of GDPR legislation: for it to mature into the scaling and systemic change phases, it has to be ensured that the resulting matches are both accurate and non-discriminatory.

Another core activity of the project, technical development aside, is its contribution to a national skills language. Most of the relevant activities take place in the systemic change phase, with matters of institutional governance and a culture shift towards the skill based economy being central to the project activities.

With the project nearing its final stages, a key research activity of Tilburg University has kicked off in April. In the beginning of the project, the university assigned KPI’s to each of the above-mentioned phases of the project. A lot of these KPI’s are related to the added value of the Passport for Work platform for job seekers, job coaches and employers and are tested during the last six months of the project.

For the impact analysis, a longitudinal study is conducted on the impact of the Passport for Work platform on labour market outcomes in the Eindhoven region. Study participants engage in job search under the supervision of the Eindhoven municipality while using the Passport4Work platform (serving as an intervention) for skill assessments and job matching.

 With a control-group design (with 200 to 300 participants), this study will allow the project team to provide evidence-based support for the following hypotheses:

1. P4W use increases jobseeker self-awareness in terms of skills and opportunities

2. P4W contributes to enhanced quality of the recruitment process in the (pre-)selection phase and hiring phase.

Match quality will be established through person-job fit: does the matching vacancy suit the job seekers educational level, domain and/or competences

3. P4W increases efficiency of the recruitment process

4. The use of P4W tools increases the probability of a sustainable match with an employer.

While the study is in its early stages, a few anecdotal observations have been made. While these are not generalizable and conclusive, they are worth sharing at this stage.

  • Self-perceived employability and self-efficacy levels have seemingly risen for several jobseekers using the P4W tool (ascertained by the job coaches facilitating workshops).
  • HR representatives among employer organizations have reported recognizing the added value of P4W for their recruitment processes, by providing an evidence-based (through the national survey) blueprint of skills related to a specific occupation.
  • HR representatives indicate that while the blueprint of skills is a valuable starting point, incorporating organization-specific needs, which might deviate from the national survey’s findings, is found to be complex.
  • HR representatives report that incorporating skills based matching in their recruitment processes requires a significant behavioral change among recruitment staff, one that is contingent on the realization of sustainable matches throughout the experiment (and beyond).

 

At this stage of the research, job matching has not yet commenced, and as such, it is too early to call whether P4W results in sustainable job matches. The final results (on each of the above hypotheses) will be published in October 2022.

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