The United Kingdom’s employment support system is characterised by three core flaws.
- It is failing to meet the needs of our current or future economy. There is no targeting of support towards growth sectors, despite the net zero transition offering the potential for significant jobs growth, and being held back by skills shortages.
- Extrinsic motivation is crowding out personal ambitions. The assumption that people have no intrinsic motivation to find work, has led to an increasing use of the threat of financial penalties to drive engagement, despite evidence that this is counter-productive (Wright et al 2018).
- Provision is too narrow and focussed on the short term. The ‘any job’ model limits a focus on sustainable, long-term goals, and there are 150,000 economically inactive disabled people who want to work but are missing out on support.
This paper outlines a proposal for transformative long term change, to develop a new public employment service, built on three core principles.
- A public service: for everyone, available any time.
- A comprehensive menu of community-based support to meet individual needs.
- Supporting long term retention and progression in secure and good quality work.
This will involve a substantial scale-up in provision to deliver support to people whose needs are not met within the current system, alongside embedding a new relational approach to support.