Employment policies keep presenting formidable challenges to policy makers and governments, especially due to their intersections with industrial and innovation policies in the context of longer term structural transformations. Today, employment policy actions and reforms are urgently called for to stimulate job creation and ensure a sustainable job-rich growth, encouraging and matching labour market needs for existing and new skills, while preventing a build-up of social and fiscal costs in the longer term.

From an employment perspective, a focus on sectors with proven potential for job creation, such as, for Europe, green economy, health and social care sectors and ICT industry look both well-timed and necessary. Such a consideration, however, must be accompanied by the introduction of horizontal structural reform measures in labour markets, as well as by specific investments in new skills generation mechanisms, which need to be brought about through improved synergies between the worlds of education and work, addressing skills mismatches and targeting in particular youth unemployment. Moreover, the development of innovative partnerships between government employment bodies, private actors (e.g. employment or recruitment agencies) and the social sector, aiming at building efficient supply and demand coupling mechanisms, seems also necessary.

Consulting support in all above areas should be rich and multifaceted, or highly selective and focused, and mainly focus on:
• Addressing the huge skills miss-matching through measures that develop effective synergies between the worlds of education and work;
• Supporting governments to effectively use the EU financial instruments for job creation and combating of unemployment;
• Designing and supporting youth guarantee schemes and youth mobility programs aiming to tackle the dramatic levels of youth unemployment;
• Promoting and supporting employment through the development of self–employment, social enterprises and business start-ups, targeting groups with the greatest potential and fostering cooperation between employment services, business support and finance providers;
• Introducing new processes and schemes for combating undeclared employment and social contributions evasion;
• Supporting the modernisation and capacity building of government bodies with a mandate to promote employment and combat unemployment;
• Supporting the transformation of the National Public Employment Services to European Employment Services through the promotion of mobility;
• Supporting building of partnerships between labour market actors.

Governments are also faced with the daunting challenge of restructuring their maturing social security systems and adapting them to economic, social, demographic changes and evolving fiscal policies. Many countries with growing numbers of older people are planning to gradually increase retirement ages and extend the working lives of their citizens. Historical pension commitments made by governments may also challenge present and future fiscal sustainability, particularly when public expenditures on old-age pensions must be balanced against increasing governmental responsibilities for providing healthcare, education and promoting employment, all essential to the development of future generations.

In response to the above challenges, the social security sector must undergo hard, complex and innovative policy decisions, so that secure financial sustainability for next decades is ensured. In this context, Consultants should be called to support policy reforms in Social Security systems, assist Social Security Organizations to upgrade their systems’ operational effectiveness by adopting best-practices and re-designing their critical processes, e.g. for minimizing contributions evasion, providing quality customer care, improving claims collection and processing, optimizing their procurement and logistics functions.

PLANET BULGARIA has accumulated considerable expertise and valuable insights of the strategic, political and decision making process in all above issues, and has successfully carried out sound projects to reform Social Care systems in Greece and abroad. Delivery of sustainable solutions is based on our deep sector knowledge, the seniority of our consultants, and the collaboration with prominent sector experts and leading advisory professionals and services firms.