The Education and Employment Committee has agreed
to the following Report:
RECRUITING UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE
1. The Employment Sub-committee has devoted much
of its time in this Parliament to monitoring the development and
implementation of the various strands of New Deal. We have produced
three Reports on the New Deal for Young People and another which
examined the New Deal for Lone Parents.
Our Report on Opportunities for Disabled People examined
the New Deal for Disabled People in particular.
We have broadly supported the New Deal Programme which has benefited
many young people. We have nevertheless been consistently aware
that New Deal has not solved all of the problems faced by unemployed
people when seeking employment. In our Report on Employability
and Jobs in particular, we sought to emphasise the need for
a co-ordinated response on the part of Government to structural
unemployment and explored other barriers to employment which unemployed
people have to overcome such as prejudice, low-skills levels and
access to information on vacancies.
In this Report we have focussed on the means by which the Government,
the Employment Service and employers can help unemployed people
into jobs, and into jobs that match their abilities and aspirations,
and by doing so, extend the range of talents available to employers.
In August to October 2000 there were 1.62 million unemployed people
in the UK (using the International Labour Organisation's definition
of unemployment), an increase of 36,000 over the previous quarter.
Of those 422,000 had been unemployed for twelve months or more.
2. The Employment Sub-committee's inquiry into the
recruitment of unemployed people was influenced by three other
factors in particular. It was aware of evidence which indicated
that unemployed job seekers are disadvantaged in the search for
employment by poor recruitment practices on the part of employers.
It recognised that the tighter labour market conditions which
currently prevail mean that employers need to find new pools of
labour from which to recruit.
It was also concerned that existing methods of intermediation
(see para 25) appeared to have failed to engage fully employers
and were not meeting their needs.
3. The Sub-committee also wished to determine whether
the demand-led (see para 4) approaches to labour market intermediation
which have emerged and developed in the United States, and which
are now being championed by the Government here, could help to
improve the employment prospects of unemployed people and to improve
their chances of retaining a job once in employment.
4. Labour market intermediaries that seek to bring
job seekers and employers together are not new. Recently, however,
an alternative approach to matching job seekers and recruiters
has begun to emerge, with organisations adopting a demand-led,
or employer-orientated, strategy. Demand-led intermediaries seek
to develop a solid understanding of the employers' recruitment
needs as the starting point for their activities, targeting employers'
vacancies specifically or skill shortages and then matching job
seekers to those demands, often by equipping clients with the
specific skills required for a particular employment opportunity.
Some will view employers as their main customer; others will view
employers and job seekers as dual customers.
5. We wish to record our gratitude to those who assisted
during the inquiry. The Sub-committee took oral evidence on seven
occasions from a range of organisations including employers and
their representatives, expert commentators on employment policy,
labour market intermediary organisations, private employment agencies,
the Employment Service and Rt Hon. Tessa Jowell MP, the Minister
for Employment, Welfare to Work and Equal Opportunities. The insight
and expertise provided by these witnesses was supplemented by
written submissions from a broad range of organisations and interest
groups. The Sub-committee is particularly grateful to those institutions
and individuals it met during visits, both in the UK and during
its visit to Washington and New York in July 2000, for their generosity
with both their time and expertise, from which we have benefited
greatly. We also wish to record our appreciation of our specialist
advisers for this inquiry, Dr Dan Finn, Reader in Social Policy
at the University of Portsmouth, and Mr Dave Simmonds, Director
of the Centre for Social Inclusion.
6. The inquiry has largely focussed on the links
between employers with vacancies and those in search of employment
and the means of bringing the two together. The Employment Service
has a pivotal role to play in the process as a mediator between
and an adviser to both groups. The inquiry has shown that in some
areas, especially in relation to services for employers, the Employment
Service is not performing as well as it might. Nevertheless we
acknowledge the great improvements that have been made in the
Service's provision for employers in the last three years and
the progress towards its change into a more employer-orientated
organisation. The Employment Service should not be allowed to
be deflected from this important task.
7. We also acknowledge the pivotal role that some
intermediary organisations play not just in placing unemployed
people in jobs but in assisting them into sustainable jobs with
good prospects. The successful development of further demand-led
intermediaries will be a key factor in improving the employment
prospects of unemployed people in the short to medium term.
1 Second Report from the Education and Employment Committee,
Session 1997-98, The New Deal, HC 263; Eighth Report from
the Education and Employment Committee, Session 1997-98, New
Deal Pathfinders, HC 1059; Eighth Report from the Education
and Employment Committee, Session 1999-2000, New Deal for Young
People: Two Years On, HC 510. Back
Report from the Education and Employment Committee, Session 1998-99,
Opportunities for Disabled People, HC 111. Back
Report from the Education and Employment Committee, Session 1999-2000,
Employability and Jobs: Is there a Jobs Gap?, HC 60. Back
Release: Labour Market Statistics,
December 2000, Office of National Statistics, p. 3. Back