It seems that job-hunting has taken a step closer to being a full time job in itself, albeit a very badly paid one. The wisdom of Ian Duncan Smith seems to know no bounds, in fact it seems to know nothing at all. First of all there was the Work Programme. A back-to-work programme outsourced to private companies on a payment-by-results basis which was a massive failure. According to the Public Accounts Committee only 3.6% of claimants on the programme were helped back into work between June ’11 and July ’12, despite a target of 11.9%. Coupled with this was the politically explosive “Workfare” programme, which ended up being branded “slavery” and “indentured servitude” and was challenged in the High Courts.
His latest wheeze seems to be another thinly disguised attempt to grab more votage from the working population, and put many of those unfortunate enough to be unemployed on the back foot. This is the announcement of supervised jobsearch, (starting in 2014), which means that anyone who has come off the Work Programme without finding a job, (which seems to be about 95% of us), have to attend a supervised jobsearch programme at a designated centre for 35 hours a week in order to obtain benefits. Yes, 35 hours a week looking for a job. The idea being to get people used to the 9-5 working day, and looking for a job at the same time.
So, how will this work? I have no idea. Will this work? Going on past performance, probably not. I can’t honestly see how sitting in a job centre, with however many other people all trying to look for a job, is going to work. Resources are limited. Space is limited. Patience is limited. Are they going to place all of us in a single room, sharing a number of computers and one person supervising or will there be multiple rooms and multiple staff? Either way, I suspect it will be like herding cats.
A better option would be to ask each claimant to prove that they are looking for work. This could be by means of email application replies, letters from companies, filling in application forms which are then presented to the job centre for confirmation and despatch. Also, responses from potential employers confirming attendance at interview, or application. Maybe place those who seem to have no interest in finding a job under supervision but some of us actually do want to work and are looking for work.
Being a bit of a nerdy girl and really wanting to work, I spend about half my day and much of my evening looking for and applying for jobs. I am a member of upwards of 30 job search sites, I have a constant email feed, throughout the day and night, of new job lists. I can prove every single job application and interview both verbally (from employers) and on paper, but I still do not have a job. I am one of the 96.1% who has left the work programme without one, but why, with everything I do, would I want to sit in a room for 7-8 hours a day, five days a week, looking for a job? I suspect that there are many out there like myself who can search more efficiently on their own than under the supervision of someone who has, quite probably, no incentive to help anyone find a job other than their wages.