Seminar Recap: Leveraging Labor Market Assessment Tools

March 2, 2015


During our February seminar, FHI 360’s Workforce Connections presented a set of open-source tools that they developed while conducting a labor market assessment in Zimbabwe.

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Apple seeds

Lara Goldmark, who led the project, explained that the client (USAID/Zimbabwe, in this case) was looking for the “seeds” of the apple. The goal was find out (1) who was hiring, (2) what jobs were available, and (3) which skills were required for those jobs.

The assumption was that these “seeds” would determine the kinds of training that should be conducted.

Because the team found that the Zimbabwean workforce boasts high levels of foundational and technical skills, they realized that other interventions and services (beyond skills trainings) may be necessary.

Seeds to trainings

To unpack these potential interventions, the research team had to examine the wider context -- the whole “apple." They had to look at factors like economic trends, growth sectors, and policy barriers.Whole apple

Tadzoka Pswarayi, the youth consultant on the project, highlighted the economic history of Zimbabwe as key to understanding its labor markets: Over the last several decades, Zimbabwe has shifted from an integrated system of large, stable, formal enterprises to fragmented, fragile, informal workplaces.

In more recent years, new demand market opportunities have arisen in pockets, where there is potential for further growth. Because small and medium enterprises often constitute these pockets of growth, they are ripe for supportive interventions.

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Building Out the Toolbox
Eleanor Sohnen, a technical advisor with FHI 360, explained that conducting a labor market assessment in Zimbabwe meant adapting their toolbox. One tool developed specifically for the Zimbabwean context was the entrepreneurship landscape map.
Entrepreneurship Landscape slide


As it currently stands, the entrepreneurship landscape map is best described as a sort of picture: It still requires the backing of data.


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In order to improve this and other resources, Workforce Connections is soliciting feedback to augment their toolbox.

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Check out the report, or the open-source tools! Or, for other key takeaways, watch this short video.
Workforce Connections is convening working groups around the following topics: (1) systems; (2) employment demand, especially in the informal sector; and (3) employment outcomes. To join them, send an email to [email protected]