By Atom Markarian
The Armenian Ministry of Social Security showcased on Wednesday a recently created electronic database of job vacancies used by a growing number of its divisions across the unemployment-stricken country.
The scheme allows state and private employers to post their job announcements on the web site of the ministry’s Work and Employment Agency. Unemployed Armenians, most of whom have no home computers connected to the Internet, can now access the information at 11 agency branches in Yerevan and Vanadzor.
Social Security Minister Aghvan Vartanian said the scheme facilitates the search for work and will gradually be extended to all employment centers across Armenia. “The creation of such a database is a necessity both in terms of improving the quality of our services and creating more favorable conditions for people covered by the system,” Vartanian told a large group of the employment agency officials.
According to the head of the agency, Sona Harutiunian, the web site already carries 1,172 job announcements -- a very modest figure given the huge scale of unemployment in Armenia. The unofficial unemployment rate of 9 percent is not taken seriously by independent analysts as it takes into account only individuals officially listed as jobless. The vast majority of the unemployment do not bother to register with the ministry due to the tiny amount of state unemployment benefits. They currently average 3,900 drams ($7) and are paid to a single person for up to one year.
Harutiunian admitted that the sum is too meager to cushion the negative consequences of being out of work. She also called for increased government spending on the retraining of unemployed persons whose professional skills are no longer in demand in the changing Armenian economy.
Harutiunian’s agency claims to have found jobs for nearly 5,000 people this year.