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Corruption in employment services

Providing employment services is a key function of labour market policies and regulations. While not limited to this, the essential purpose of employment services is matching demands from employers to jobseekers. There are several ways of understanding potential corruption risks in this sector, and this answer uses a value chain analysis approach to shed light on the potential entry points of corruption in employment service operations. Sector specific corruption risks include undue influence at the policy setting stage, nepotism in staff hiring practices, bribery at the client interface at the skills training or job centre and procurement related fraud. To address these potential risks, there are a number of measures including, but not limited to, proper analysis of the labour markets, auditing and benchmarking, ensuring efficacy of regulatory mechanisms and a focus on social dialogues to promote inclusive governance.

15 April 2021
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Main points

  • Corruption risks faced by employment agencies are closely related to the background conditions in which they operate.
  • Measures aimed at reducing long-term unemployment can be rendered ineffective by weak administrative capacity and poor governance, both of which are hallmarks of economies with a high incidence of corruption.
  • Specific corruption risks may occur at different points of the employment services value chain. For example, undue influence in policy setting, nepotism in hiring and bribery at the client interface.
  • Potential mitigation measures include thorough contextual analysis, social dialogue, due diligence and performance management.

Cite this publication


Rahman, K.; (2021) Corruption in employment services. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2021:6)

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About the author

Kaunain received her Master's in Corruption and Governance from The Centre for the Study of Corruption at the University of Sussex in the UK where her focus area of research was corruption in international business. She works as Research Coordinator at Transparency International (TI), and her main responsibilities lie with the Anti-Corruption Helpdesk.

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All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)