Recruitment and Government – a match made in heaven?

May 14th, 2024 | Industry News

In the UK the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has opened a consultation on something called ‘tailored support’ – an approach to making the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) system work better. You might be asking yourself what this has to do with recruitment? Welfare is inextricably tied to the labour market in two ways: first it’s the taxpayers who fund benefits and second, there has always been a requirement for people claiming benefits to either demonstrate their inability to work or demonstrate their willingness to do so.  In the first case, growth is necessary if the UK is to meet the 110% increase in demand for PIP and in the second case, enhanced employment opportunities will help people receiving benefits to find ways back into work. And the government is keen to create new public-private partnerships to help individuals with employment.

For the government the gains are obvious; working with the best recruitment software for agencies can speed up and streamline processes for slow-moving government departments, and best practice can be absorbed without the huge burden of consultancy costs.

There are problems to consider though:

  • Recruitment software doesn’t generally align with the benefits market. While adaptations are theoretically possible, it’s well known that government systems are unwieldy – the recent Post Office software scandal is the most recent, but not the only, example. While the recruitment industry may be interested in working on themes like Restart, engaging with the government on recruitment database software may be a much less attractive proposition.
  • In addition, the blurring of the boundaries can be problematic for jobseekers. Recruitment website design is the first point of coordination, where candidates are introduced to the partnership process, but it can be difficult for people to grasp where private industry ends, and government initiatives begin. At the sharp end of things, few recruitment consultancies would wish their reception staff to be receiving the volume and nature of calls that Job Centres have to field every day!
  • Government funding can be unreliable. In the past few weeks, Teach, a charity running a £1.7 million programme to recruit mature candidates into teaching says its scheme is being scrapped despite overdelivering on recruitment targets.

In conclusion, while the consultation which lasts 12 weeks, is likely to create new initiatives that link jobseekers with recruiters, history show that reliance on government funding can be a challenging proposition.


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