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The DWP has published an early evaluation of the Youth Contract. The survey took views from 279 employers who recruited someone eligible for a wage incentive and included interviews with Work Programme providers and representatives from Jobcentre Plus.

Overall providers taking part in the survey felt wage incentives could ‘tip the balance’, making young people who already had the right skill set more attractive to employers, however some Work Programme providers commented that the roll-out of information about wage incentives had been slow and of poor quality, which had affected their ability to produce marketing materials to raise awareness in the early stages.

The survey also considered recommendations for improving the scheme, the most common of which concerned increasing advertising and the information available about the scheme, with Work Programme providers suggesting that national and local level marketing and press coverage would enhance the effectiveness of their activities.

In addition the survey also raised the following points of interest:

Employer views

  • Nine per cent of employers surveyed said they had created an extra vacancy because of wage incentives
  • 28 per cent of employers said wage incentives had made them more likely to keep the employee on for at least six months
  • 86 per cent of employers said they would be likely to take someone else on in the future who is eligible for the scheme
  • 33 per cent said that it had made them more likely to recruit young people with a history of unemployment
  • 84 per cent of employers were in the private sector and more than half of employers were in the service sector
  • 62 per cent had taken on one recruit who was eligible for a wage incentive and 28 per cent had taken on between two and four recruits, with eight per cent had taken on five or more
  • Employers’ main reasons for taking on a candidate eligible for the wage incentive were to get some extra money (30 per cent) and to give a young, unemployed person a chance (22 per cent)

Work programme providers

  • 46 per cent of employers were most likely to have first heard about the wage incentive from a Work Programme provider
  • 51 per cent of employers were most likely to contact a Work Programme provider when they needed more information about the scheme
  • Providers felt that the scheme was not sufficient as a sole method of ‘marketing’ young people to employers
  • 71 per cent rated the support from providers as very or fairly good

March 2013 – Early Evaluation of the Youth Contract