RECRUITING UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE
Expanding the Role of Employers in Employment
59. The Sub-committee was struck by extent to which
employers in the United States, such as Xerox Corporation and
Bell Atlantic, appeared to be active in developing programmes
that would enable them to recruit successfully welfare recipients
into positions where there were genuine vacancies. Bell Atlantic
for instance not only supported Mercer County Community College
in the development of its curriculum to provide more telephone
engineers, but also funded and managed the 400-student Bell Institute.
In part this was due to the tight labour market in the US and
the consequent need of employers to cultivate additional sources
of labour supply.
60. There is a little evidence which suggests that
some employers in the UK are adopting similar practices. For instance,
to help Nissan in their large-scale recruitment of production
operatives, the Employment Service worked with the Automotive
Sector Strategic Alliance, Nissan and its suppliers to develop
and run a New Deal Full Time Training and Education option for
18-24 year olds trainees.
Thorn Lighting Group in County Durham have run a pre-employment
training course since 1994.
Morgan Stanley have established a relationship with Community
Links, a nationwide charity consisting of a network of community-based
initiatives, to support the recruitment and retention of a small
group of disadvantaged young people in employment.
Despite these examples, and their impressive records of achievement,
the practice is not widespread.
61. Many of those who submitted evidence argued that
employers should be encouraged to develop a commitment to the
community, and that recruiting from the ranks of the unemployed
would be a practical demonstration of such a commitment. Manchester
City Council and Manchester TEC argued that there was a need to
secure the commitment of employers to the principle of recruiting
unemployed people and a need to provide packages of support to
employers to assist their recruitment processes.
Tomorrow's People called for companies to take on their responsibilities
as "corporate citizens within the community".
Indeed, it could be argued that some employers have moved in this
direction through their active involvement in Employers Coalitions
and through membership of New Deal Partnerships.
Atkinson and Meager argue that employers should be encouraged
"to demonstrate good community citizenship".
The Black Training and Enterprise Group agreed, stating that "employers
should realise their moral and social obligations for employing
people from deprived backgrounds".
Others felt that such appeals to social conscience were unnecessary
as there was a hard-nosed business case for employers to work
with intermediaries to seek new channels of recruitment
"it is difficult to find good quality people".
The Minister agreed that in the context of New Deal "we have
moved beyond the early days when a lot of employers signed up
because it was an expression of altruism. This is about hard-nosed
competitiveness, about recruitment in a tight labour market and
making sure that your business benefits from what is at the moment
an untapped pool of talent".
What is particularly noteworthy is that the vast majority if not
all of our witnesses agreed that improving the links between employers
with vacancies and unemployed job seekers with the skills to fill
those posts would not only benefit unemployed people but also
employers. We recommend a strengthening in the role of employers
in the development and management of labour market intermediation
at the local level. This could involve the expansion of the role
of New Deal partnerships or an increased role for Employers' Coalitions.
111 Informal visit to the United States. Back
p. 78. Back
for All, para 5.61. Back
the Employment Prospects of Low Income Job Seekers: Case Studies,
p. 2. Back
for All, page 96. Back
6, Ev. p. 124. Back
11, Ev. p. 153. Back
p. 7. Back
24, Ev. p. 190. Back