The PPIW worked with experts from the Institute for Employment Research at University of Warwick to review the effectiveness of policies to tackle intergenerational worklessness and fragile employment.
Its research suggests that intergenerational worklessness (defined as households in which three generations have not been employed) is unlikely to be widespread in Wales. However, fragile employment – whereby individuals move repeatedly in and out of employment – is a significant problem for some households and in some communities.
The report finds that a ‘Work First’ policy approach (aimed at enabling people to get into work) has had some success but many of the jobs that are secured are part-time, temporary, low skill and low paid. In an uncertain and rapidly changing labour market, there is a need to support people to develop ‘career adaptability’ (the skills and competencies they need to make successful transitions between jobs).
Government interventions need to take account of variations in local labour market conditions and to work closely with employers, further education colleges and third sector organisations to influence recruitment practices, management cultures, and the way work patterns are organised.
The PPIW outlines a series of practical recommendations that the Welsh Government might consider in order to address the issue of fragile employment. These include:
- Ensuring that procurement policies promote opportunities for residents of deprived areas;
- Ensuring that further education colleges and private training providers respond to the needs of individual learners (whether out of, or in, employment) and of local employers;
- Providing careers information, advice and guidance for those in work to raise awareness of potential career pathways and routes to sustainable employment and progression;
- Continuing to work with employers – especially in priority sectors – to understand their needs regarding skills, recruitment and retention, and to open up opportunities for individuals to sustain employment and progress in work;
- Recognising the importance of in-work support – especially in the period immediately after employment entry when people are adapting to new roles – and working with employers to redesign working patterns to accommodate parents and others with caring responsibilities.
The report was undertaken for the previous Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty.