SIM TIG Week: Capturing job creation impacts by Ben Fowler and Richard Horne

Hi, we are Ben Fowler, Co-Founder and Principal and Richard Horne, Managing Consultant at MarketShare Associates (MSA). We are a global firm who specializes in identifying, implementing and measuring business solutions for positive social impact.  Our work focuses on supporting impact investors, foundations and bilateral donors to assess the impact of their investments for job creation and adjust their strategies to maximize their job creation impacts.

Lessons Learned: We have learned a number of things about measuring jobs over the years:

  • Rethink your definition of a job. Some of the main resources with indicators for job measurement define jobs in a way that emphasizes full-time employment. However, we’ve found that this omits quite a lot of the jobs being created, particularly for those in rural areas and more marginalized communities. Another important consideration is whether to define jobs as people or as work. Although we often think of jobs as held by people, there are some cases where calculating impact in terms of full time equivalent positions is easier to aggregate across a portfolio.
  • Don’t shy away from more complex job creation measurements. Many investors tend to track and report only on the jobs directly created by their investees (i.e. direct jobs). However, investments typically create a much wider range of job impacts, including new hiring by suppliers and others in the value chain (indirect jobs), as well as the broader increase in jobs generated by increased spending by the company and its new staff (induced jobs). While there is some hesitation that these types of jobs are more difficult to measure or to credibly claim as a result of a particular programme, we have identified and/or developed several straightforward approaches for doing so, as outlined in the rad resource (“Measuring Job Creation in Private Sector Development”).
  • There are options available for late evaluations. The most rigorous assessments of job creation typically require a baseline and an endline assessment. However, we all too often are called onto the scene late in the day, and not all baseline information has been collected. However, the measurement of job creation often draws from secondary data and hence can provide ex-post assessments (as well as ex-ante) of job creation impacts if the right data is available.

Rad Resources:  Measuring Job Creation in Private Sector Development –  This paper provides practical guidance on job measurement from a project perspective. It outlines a range of methodologies, with practical case studies for each.

A practical example in which several of the tools were applied to capture the results of a youth employment program in Nairobi, Kenya are also useful.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Social Impact Measurement Week with our colleagues in the Social Impact Measurement Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our SIM TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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