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The problem – a major shortage of jobs

October 19th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

We are constantly being told that we have to improve our employability skills and qualifications for finding employment. Yet whilst more qualifications may help in getting a job, from a policy perspective if ignores the obvious. There is simply a shortage of work.

New research from the UK Joseph Rowntree Foundation explores the difficulty of job searching for young people seeking low-skilled work in three areas in England and Wales. Their overall finding is that the main problem for disadvantaged young people looking for work is fundamental – a major shortage of jobs.

Other key findings include:

  • Over two-thirds of applications (69%) received no response at all.
  • 78% of the jobs applied for paid under £7 an hour, while 54% offered the minimum wage. Only 24% of the vacancies offered full-time, daytime work.
  • In the weak labour market, 10 jobseekers chased every job compared to five jobseekers in the strong one.
  • Jobseekers who do not have high-speed internet at home are at a substantial disadvantage and can only search for jobs sporadically, rather than the daily basis that is required.
  • Applications sent a week after jobs were first advertised were half as likely to receive positive responses as those sent in the first three days.
  • The research found there was strong evidence that good-quality applicants from neighbourhoods with poor reputations were not more likely to be rejected by employers.
  • However, employers expressed a preference for local candidates with easy journeys to work.

2 Responses to “The problem – a major shortage of jobs”

  1. Leia says:

    They’ve a different definition of what’s a ‘difficult’ commute to us I have to say! (30 minutes…?)

    The perception matches our learners’ though – we recently did some persuasive writing tasks with our learners and a lot of them chose to write about the problems they had with public transport.

  2. Graham Attwell says:

    Hm…just looked at a longer summary of report (must read the full version). it says “Transport was a key issue. While most jobseekers were willing to travel, more than half of the vacancies would have been difficult for those living in deprived neighbourhoods to get to if they were reliant on public transport. Employers expressed a preference for people living nearby, especially for jobs with non-standard hours. This suggests that policies requiring people to search further afield for work will not necessarily succeed in getting more people into employment. More could be done to help jobseekers enhance their chances of success.”

    So (lack of) public transport appears to be a problem for those without cars – especially for service sector jobs which may have irregular – early and late – hours of employment.

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