From Efficiency to Care: Shifting Accountabilities in COVID-19 Digital Job Placement

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Large parts of society closed down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which transformed the provision of government services including welfare. In Denmark, employment assistance efforts at job centers were suspended between March 12 – May 15, 2020. Here caseworkers assessed individuals’ need for welfare remotely instead of physical interviews at the job center. We conducted weekly interviews with 6 job consultants across 3 Danish job centers over ten weeks to understand how their work practices changed during the pandemic (> 60 interviews). We identify a shift in the logic of casework from efficiency towards care, as the data infrastructure for approving welfare to unemployed individuals, broke down. The shift to remote job placement was both fully digital but at the same time relying on caseworkers patching the data infrastructure (e.g. relying on communication by telephone to reach job seekers). The paper contributes a unique understanding of the underlying assumptions of the model of work in caseworker systems. In the wake of the pandemic, the importance of care for the individual became the predominant logic in job placement. In particular, our findings suggest that the care concept takes on different forms under the condition of “digital” remote job placement.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventThe New Future of Work - Virtuel/Online
Duration: 4 Aug 20205 Aug 2020


WorkshopThe New Future of Work

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