KINGSTON — As Jamaica embraces advances in technology, information is more readily available to job seekers and employers with just a mouse click.
This is manifested in the Labour Market Information System (LMIS), a one stop data and information source, designed to satisfy the needs of job seekers and employers.
Since its inception in 2001, the system, which is maintained by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security,has been providing cost effective ways for employers to source and recruit suitable employees, as well as for job seekers to post resumes for possible employment.
Director of Corporate Planning at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Andrea Patterson Morris, tells JIS News that the manpower management tool, as it is also called, provides labour market data, allows certified persons to register on the skills bank, and is a job placement facility for employers and jobseekers.
Importantly, she explains that the purpose of the skills bank is for policy purposes, as well as investors to know the skills that are available in the country, and to identify the focus areas that need to be improved.
“If we find that there are gaps that need to be filled regarding a particular skill area, we are able to communicate this information to the Ministry of Education, and recommendations are therefore made,” Mrs. Patterson Morris points out.
She adds that the LMIS is user friendly, and information is readily available to employers regarding job seekers of all categories. Once an employer identifies a suitable candidate, an e-mail is then sent to the job seeker, indicating a scheduled interview for possible employment.
Mrs. Patterson Morris further notes that the Ministry also provides an offline service to employers in recruiting employees. “Employers can inform us about what exactly they are looking for. The Ministry then searches the system, posts the job, conducts screening, selects suitable candidates, and submits the resumes to them, so they can make the final decision,” she adds.
For jobseekers who are not technologically inclined, or do not have Internet access,they can visit the Ministry at its North Street offices in Kingston,and assistance will be provided free of cost.
“One reason why we are not charging persons to use the system is because the information that we provide, we want it to be extended locally, regionally and internationally, because it is web based,” she says.
With the system being recognised worldwide, Mrs. Patterson Morris expresses deep satisfaction that the Ministry is able to track the number of persons who visit the site using Google analysis, a tracking method.
Since August 2011 the results of the tracking showed that over 7,900 persons have visited the site. “We are seeing that a number of persons all over the world have been visiting the site, which is one of the objectives of the LMIS,” she notes.
The Director says the good thing about the LMIS is that it prepares students for the world of work worldwide, and targets just about any age group. “It is not just for those who are looking for a job, it assists primary, high and tertiary school students, and it also helps to channel them in the right direction with the information provided,” she highlights.
To heighten awareness about the LMIS, the Ministry has embarked on a marketing plan, which consists of different phases that have been explored since the start of the year.
“We are targeting different bodies, for example, students, young people, employers, policy makers and school principals. Various avenues and measures have been taken to reach these persons in marketing the LMIS,” Mrs. Patterson Morris tells JIS News.
She mentions workshops, health fairs and expositions as strategies of the marketing plan, geared towards educating students about the LMIS.
“We are normally invited to participate in various activities at institutions, such as the University of the West Indies (UWI), Northern Caribbean University (NCU), University of Technology (UTech), and high schools islandwide,” she adds.
As part of the marketing strategy, Mrs. Patterson Morris says efforts are also being made to partner with LIME and FLOW to increase the awareness about the LMIS. A facebook page has been created which provides information about the system.
Additionally, she says a poster competition was also launched to increase awareness on the LMIS among secondary schools islandwide, and this will last until November 30.
“The whole idea is that we want to provide valuable labour market information, as well as we want to bring employers and employees together. The dream is to have a one stop data source, because each organisation has its own data, so we want everything in one central place,” she says.
Mrs. Patterson Morris says the Ministry is grateful for the support from the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), Ministry of Education, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Universities, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), and the Jamaica Employers Federation (JEF).
The LMIS can be accessed through the Ministry’s website at: www.mlss.gov.jm or directly at www.lmis.gov.jm.
By Jeneva Gordon, JIS Reporter