‘The future has arrived’ for Europe’s Public Employment Services A new paper from the European Network of Public Employment Services (PES Network) confirms that developments predicted for many years have arrived rapidly as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Find out how PES are expanding their use of partnerships, IT and data in support of European labour markets. © Shutterstock / rivatxfz A new synthesis paper of the 2021 PES Network Stakeholder Conference on the Power of Partnerships sets out the main messages from this important event in the PES Network calendar. It highlights how the pressures of the crisis have forced PES to speed up progress towards making better use of digitalisation, data and partnerships to respond to the needs of their clients. See the full report for learning points from all of the Conference discussions, supported by examples of partnership approaches currently implemented by PES across Europe. The report explores strategic challenges and ways forward for PES, the advantages of cooperation, and practical approaches to building successful partnerships. Key highlights of the report include that: “Partnerships are now cutting across organisational silos” and driving an ecosystem approach to the delivery of labour market services. PES can provide the “backbone” of this ecosystem, guiding the choices of citizens. “There is almost limitless potential to expand the scope for partnership working and inter-organisational connectivity through enhanced data utilisation” – but this needs to be balanced with the critical need to protect personal privacy. Despite significant advancements, for the foreseeable future “Artificial Intelligence (AI) will not replace the human element, providing empathy with customers accessing PES services”. “Short-time work schemes have been successful and necessary” as part of the immediate COVID response, but their use should be reviewed to avoid longer-term distortion of the labour market. The report marks the final output from the PES Network stakeholder conference 2021: the power of PES partnerships and further supports and enriches the immediate conclusions of the event. See also the recent PES Network video on the power of PES Partnerships.