Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Public Employment Services' Responses to the Pandemic: Examples from Portugal, Bulgaria, and Lithuania

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Abstract:  The Covid-19 pandemic provoked critical changes to welfare in Europe, requiring the dematerialisation of programmes and services while relying mainly on remote support. This study aims to present insights into how European public employment services have coped and adapted to the pandemic challenges, particularly regarding the digitalisation and delivery of services to young people in rural areas. It focuses on three case studies from distinct European regions: Portugal, Bulgaria, and Lithuania. It is based on an exploratory survey of public employment services national offices and qualitative data collected from public employment services offices in rural settings. It highlights the advantages and dangers of the adoption of digitalisation processes, namely considering literacy and accessibility in diverse contexts. It concludes that despite cultural and regional differences, all three countries evidenced an acceleration in service provision due to digitalisation and were capable of adjusting their practices to remote delivery. However, rural areas faced delays due to poor infrastructure, and after the pandemic, public employment privileged on-site delivery, since it is considered more effective in the training and counselling of young people.

Keywords:  Bulgaria; Covid‐19; digitalisation; Lithuania; Portugal; public employment services



© Ana Sofia Ribeiro, Vladislava Lendzhova, Sonata Vyšniauskienė, Tatiana Ferreira, João Carlos Sousa, Isabel Roque, Kerli Koiv, Katrin Saks, Omeed Agahi, Óscar Prieto-Flores, Niall O'higgins. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.