How many jobs does the W2W industry create?

Answer: zero
Debate issues of job substitution, displacement and the prevalence of more part time working and those doing mandatory Work being used to cover paid employees sickness/absence, holiday and maternity leave or boost a companies profits by reducing overtime costs?

There are thousands of people employed in the W2W industry. The majority are hard working decent people, just trying to earn a living and hopefully help people to improve their employment prospects.

Even the most rabid hater of the W2W industry must surely recognise this?

The question of whether the answer is zero depends on whether you believe the number of jobs is fixed and giving some to one group necessarily disadvantages another group. That's known as 'the lump of labour fallacy' because it's wrong.

Why is it wrong? Because the number of jobs is not fixed, and employers can take a risk to take on extra staff if they can be persuaded they will pay their way. Sometimes that's an employer hunch, sometimes they can't choose between two people and take both, lots of ways it happens. Sometimes it pays for the employer, sometimes not. Sometimes they will use work experience to see if the candidate will pay their way.

very good point Paul, perhaps some posters should read about this as it explains why programmes can, and do, stimulate growth.

If the number of jobs is not fixed, then surely there's the possibility that the W2W industry could create more unemployment ... Or is that simply being 'off message'

The W2W did create an awful lot of unemployment in 2011. It was called introducing the Work Programme and mass redundancy. ;)

Sadly, the "Welfare To Work Sector" has never been a creator of jobs - if anything, resources are syphoned off from the mainstream DWP and Job Centre Plus Offices in order to support Private Agencies. Occasionally, good things happen, such as when the Flexible New Deal was cancelled, and the Work Programme introduced. However, some of the work delivered by the Primes, such as supporting the candidate through self assessment, CV design, Job Search techniques etc were previously delivered by Job Centre Plus through the old Job Clubs.

Job Clubs were run by private training providers not Jobcentre Plus. Sorry to disillusion you but JCP have never done, had the time for, or been any good at self assessment, CVs, jobsearch techniques (not saying private providers are either, but JCP definitely aren't - I worked for them, I know).

And if anyone thinks that an employer (particularly SMEs) substitutes professional, qualified, experienced staff for someone on a mandatory placement just because they're free ... frankly they're idiots. It's a risk to any business to take on placements and is a huge amount of work for the employer. Health and safety, insurance, interviewing, start up process, induction, training, loss of productivity, having to assign other staff to monitor the placement etc etc etc. It isn't an easy option or a quick fix for staffing. I'm an employer. I know. So maybe it's only the likes of Tesco and TK Maxx who are big enough to absorb that risk and meet their corporate social responsibility agenda at the same time.

Johnston - who said the W2W sector had to create jobs? As the sector employs thousands of people I'd suggest it creates that many jobs as without it there would be even more unemployed people.

I really don't know why I'm posting on here any more .........

@Paul.Bivand is right. OK, the Welfare to Work sector isn't a massive generator of jobs, but it does create some. Another area it generates jobs is through helping people to become self employed, so releasing opportunities for others.

However, the industry is also about maintaining a viable workforce for when times get better again. Also for giving those who need the help (and want it) the chance to compete for those jobs that are out there.

@lazarus 'It's a risk to any business to take on placements and is a huge amount of work for the employer. Health and safety, insurance, interviewing, start up process, induction, training, loss of productivity, having to assign other staff to monitor the placement etc etc etc. It isn't an easy option or a quick fix for staffing'

Well said Sir!

If used properly the W2W program will have a very positive impact for all involved with it from the long term unemployed, W2W providers and partners, companies expanding and new business start-ups.
The W2W program does not provide any jobs just points yo to the place that you already know about.

Why would anyone need pointing in a direction, or to a place they already know about?

That is what it does. The DWP, through the JCP point you to the organisations such as A4e and then threaten you if you don't go to them your benefits will be reduced and then what do they do? Show you how to do a cv, read a paper, search the internet, interview rehearsals etc. All that you have been through before.
The program should be used to help the clients plan their way back into employment that is being created in the local area.

George, why do I get the feeling we have been here before? Are you Scotland based by any chance?

but hopefully will not be blocked off as before for speaking my mind.


You weren't blocked for speaking your mind, but for advertising a service that providers would have to buy into.

We just have recruitment ads on the site at the moment, but paid ads for support services might be something we'd look at.

What we don't do is serve as an advertising medium for unpaid ads.

Sorry about that.

Meanwhile, helpful comments are welcome.

Very few, fairly obviously. Almost every job someone is placed in would have been filled by someone else and since we typically service the lower end of the market it is hard to say we are stimulating growth - there are already huge levels of competition for these jobs (indeed, for every job) and the role we play in the labour market as a whole is a very minor one.

In response to paul.bivand's view I would point out that my experience lately has been overwhelmingly that employers do not want to take a risk specifically with W2W clients or providers and feel it is much safer taking on somebody sourced elsewhere. My colleagues in employer eengagement are getting no-where convincing companies to take risks - why should they take a risk when there are so many pepole desperately fighting for every job that pay and conditions are falling across the board?

Historically W2W programmes were invented not to cut unemployment but to tackle the specific issue of long term unemployment and assist disengaged people back into the labour market. Anyone who thinks that these schemes really stimulate the economy to any great extent is a fantasist: just look at the sorts of work the majority of clients are placed in - any idiot can do the job.

It is sad that the country as a whole, and the media and government in particular is blaming the unemployed for being unemployed when so many of my recent clients have never been out of work in their lives and are mystified by their current circumstance, it is high time we stopped kicking the victims and started creating more opportunities. Unemployment cannot and will not fall until there are more jobs for people to do do and large, succussful organisations must be pressured into hiring people rather than firing people. It makes my blood boil when certain huge and successful organisations announce billions of pounds in profits and jub cuts. To put that into perspective a company that makes a billion pounds could have employed around 40,000 people on an average wage.

Hi Brennan,
There is a lot out there to meet the needs of the unemployed, students and those falling into the NEET problem from pushing trolleys to management. Organisations working with the W2W programs, which has only changed by name dependant on the government at the time, but do the same thing over and over again since the early 1990's.

What the unemployed 'need' are jobs. Jobs will come if & when the economy recovers and will have bugger all to do with W2W.

You can also research the historical instances of 'jobless recoveries' to see that even this is not guarranteed.

I repeat: the unemployed are the victims of our economy, not the cause of it. The government should be focussing less on punishing the unemployed (sanctioning them and treating them all like scroungers or fraudsters) and put a lot more effort into creating jobs for them to fill.


Intervention rate to non-intervention rate always a good debate. W2W is now as much about cost-saving for governments as improving peoples' chances of moving into work. Contracted out services particularly on the funding basis now being offered are more cost effective for government than direct delivery by JCP whether the job entry/sustained rate is higher or not. The writing is on the wall for JCP to act as just a signing agency, mostly online, a review of JCP estates and all advisory and guidance services to be contracted to providers :-)

The Australian system of contracting out everything but initial signing and benefit payments didn't necessarily improve job outcomes, but did cut costs dramatically.

Any government might be interested in that.

Moving signing online does have downsides - the evidence from the experiment DWP did under Labour of going to telephone signing was that off-flow rates fell compared to control areas. One would expect the same effect from online.

It being far easier to say you're looking for work when you aren't in front of a person trained to be sceptical about that.

@Paul.Bivand... I know old thread.. I just come back from time to time to keep up with what is going around.
You say:
"a person trained to be sceptical about that."
You see this is what tires me out about this process. All these people are so trained to be sceptical and chosen to be maleable and enclined by nature (often their personality) to be that way that for the "end user", little me and many others, it is sometimes almost an insulting experience, and some go as far as exerting the power of having an opportunity to control someone who has effectively done a lot more in their lives than they have... and I have no chip on my shoulder about that as long as that person is not making my life unecessarily diffficult or is not disrespecting or denying my judgement and experience of the labour market, my professional and life experience. Anybody with a bit of brain, should realise that if they have nothing to offer, they gain on just maintaining a relationship with that jobseeker that is relaxed and which appreciate what they do (and in some instances might even learn from what they know and do). That would be progress!