Unemployment and welfare

More people than ever are in work, yet getting and holding down a job, especially a decent job, can be a real struggle for some people.

For many years, we have been investigating the experience of disadvantaged groups and the support they need to help them not just get a job, but to progress in work and become less dependent on welfare benefits.

Contact: Becci Newton

Our work in this area

Unemployment and active labour market programmes

We have a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of unemployment, including the barriers people face trying to get a job and the ways in which employers select and recruit labour. We also have expertise going back over 20 years in the evaluation of policy initiatives designed to help people find work. We have been involved in research on most of the main UK welfare-to-work schemes including the Work Programme, for which IES led the consortium conducting the official evaluation.

Our work also looks at the role and impact of the key actors involved in implementation of these programmes such as the public employment services (in the UK, Jobcentre Plus) and, increasingly, private and third sector providers.

Contact: Becci Newton

Our work in this area

Families, work and wellbeing

Looking after children or elderly relatives or friends can have a lasting impact on labour market participation and career progress, especially for women. We have explored the effects of work on the economic and broader social wellbeing of families, including low pay, child poverty, and issues of work-life balance.

Contact: Becci Newton

Inactivity and welfare reform

Welfare reform continues apace with the introduction of Universal Credit which is designed to encourage people to enter and progress in employment. We have a long track record of researching the impact of in-work benefits as well as many other welfare initiatives, including the introduction of Employment and Support Allowance and the Permitted Work Rules that allow Incapacity Benefit customers to try part-time work before they commit to full-time employment.

We have also evaluated initiatives that are targeted towards non-traditional users of Jobcentre Plus services to get them closer to labour market participation.

Contact: Becci Newton

Our work in this area

IES experts

Nigel Meager

Becci Newton

Rosie Gloster

Nigel Meager
Insitute Director

Becci Newton
Associate Director

Rosie Gloster
Senior Research Fellow

Related projects

Evaluating mandatory maths and English training for young jobseekers: 18-21
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Work Programme Evaluation
Department for Work and Pensions

The social dimension of intra-EU mobility: Impact on public services in the UK
European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound)

Update on the progress of implementing the Youth Employment Initiative and other ESF funding on youth employment - Greece and Cyprus national reports
European Commission

Research into tackling unemployment among disadvantaged young people
Centrepoint