This Brief first discusses why policy decision-making concerning public employment services (PES) needs to rely also on evidence-based knowledge about the effects of such measures. It also addresses what this knowledge should be based on to be considered as providing reliable guidance for the impact of various PES measures.
Next our current international as well as national knowledge on the effects of a set of major PES measures is drawn together in a concise way. The general impression inevitably is that the knowledge base of today can only paint a rather rough picture of the impact of such measures.
A range of important questions remain unanswered: What exactly works? For whom? Why does it work? And at what price? These four questions are addressed by pointing to the most critical needs of change and progress. Most of these knowledge gaps have already been alluded to several times over the past years. So why do we have to constantly remind ourselves about this? Perhaps the most honest answer is that in Finland we have not yet succeeded in establishing a solid tradition of assessing the effectiveness of PES.