Universal Credit and Employers: Exploring the Demand Side of UK Active Labour Market Polic

Year of Publication: 

How Universal Credit and the UK's active labour market policies affect the businesses recruit, retain and progress their staff.

Employers have largely been excluded from research and policy debate focused on the development of Universal Credit (UC) and related Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs). This research – the first major study to focus on employer experiences and views of this policy area – addresses this critical omission and demonstrates how valuable their insights are.

The project addresses four key questions:

  • How are UK ALMPs understood and experienced by employers?

  • How does ALMP affect UK businesses - including how they recruit, retain and progress their staff?

  • How does the impact of ALMP on employers vary in different sectors (including retail, hospitality and social care)?

  • How can the public employment service work effectively with employers, and lead to better outcomes for individuals and the wider economy?

The qualitative study included 124 interviews with employers, policymakers and other key stakeholders.

Key findings include 

  • the Work First approach which underpins Active Labour Market Policies is unhelpful for employers resulting in them receiving a high volume of inappropriate applications which is costly for organisations to manage
  • employers would prefer a greater emphasis on supporting job candidates into roles that more closely matched their specific skills, capabilities and wider circumstances