Figures released by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the trade body for the welfare to work industry, show that 321,000 long term unemployed jobseekers have now found a job on the Work Programme.

ERSA’s Work Programme Performance Report provides the most up to date statistics on Work Programme performance in the public domain. Of the 1.2 million long term unemployed referred to the Programme by the end of March 2013, 321,000 people had entered work, compared to the 207,000 at the end of September 2012. This shows that the Work Programme is contributing to the drop in unemployment reported in the latest Office of National Statistics figures. 

Other key findings from ERSA’s analysis of Job Start data include:

  • A third of all individuals who have been on the programme for at least a year had found employment.
  • The Work Programme is proving particularly effective in tackling youth unemployment, with 88,000 young people on Jobseekers Allowance on the programme found work by the end of March 2013.  Of those young people who had been on the scheme for at least a year, 45% had had a Job Start, while 49% of those who had been on the programme the longest had entered work. 
  • The rate at which providers are placing jobseekers into work is increasing. All months since May 2012 show a higher number of people entering work than at a comparable point in the previous year.
  • Regional economic variations are beginning to appear, with slightly lower performance in some of the more challenging local economies.

The Performance Report figures also show it is taking longer to help jobseekers on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) into work, with about 15 per cent of those who have been on the programme having found employment so far. This is lower than for participants on Jobseekers Allowance and a direct reflection of the challenges people with disabilities and health related conditions face in the labour market overall.

The ERSA figures, collected from across all 18 prime contractors of the Work Programme, are for ‘Job Start’ data, people starting a job while on the programme.  This compares to official government statistics which relate, in most cases, to people who have been in work for at least six months.

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA said:

“These figures are a clear illustration that the Work Programme is performing for the long term unemployed.  Put simply, the longer jobseekers are on the programme, the more likely they are to find a job.  Results for young people are particularly encouraging, with nearly half of those on the Work Programme for at least a year entering work.

“Despite the success in helping 321,000 long term unemployed into work, it is taking longer to help those on Employment and Support Allowance into employment.  This is inevitable given that many have been out of work for many years and have complex health and skills needs.”

Click here for the full report.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the trade association for those delivering or with an interest in welfare to work services.  ERSA’s membership spans the private, voluntary and public sectors and ranges from large multi-nationals through to small specialist charities.  
  2. The Work Programme is the government’s largest back to work scheme and caters for the most disadvantaged jobseekers in the labour market. Further information about how the programme operates, including the financial model, is available in this Policy Briefing on ERSA’s website.
  3. ERSA’s Work Programme Performance Report is designed to provide statistical information on the performance of the Work Programme. It provides information on ‘Job Starts’, the number of participants starting a job on the programme.  
  4. The Government’s official statistics on sustained Job Outcomes, jobseekers who have been in work for (in most cases) six months, will be published at 9:30am on 27 June on DWP’s website.  It is expected that between 65-85 per cent of Job Starts will turn into Job Outcomes.
  5. ERSA is able to set up interviews with jobseekers who have found work, Work Programme providers and employers who are recruiting form the scheme. Case studies are available on ERSA’s website. Interviews with ERSA’s Chief Executive Kirsty McHugh are available on request.
  6. Data up to the end of September 2012 was published by ERSA last autumn and showed a total of 207,000 people into work. Further information is available here.