Shared employer engagement models

What works

Mansour J, Allen A, Cetera R, Subosa M, Hammond L |   | Institute for Employment Studies / ReAct  | May 2022

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The ReAct Partnership is a new, industry-led, active collaboration to support a continuous improvement community in the Restart programme through action research, shared and iterative learning, and the development of applied, evidence-based resources. 

Employment programmes in the UK are designed to work with individuals to address barriers to work and then support people to apply for jobs and transition into sustainable employment. Alongside this focus on individual jobseekers, programmes also seek to work with employers – both to identify and manage vacancies and to broker the right people into the right jobs. This employer facing role is often done through dedicated ‘employer engagement teams’, which for national programmes like Restart, can mean that multiple employer engagement teams are talking to the same employers in different parts of the country, and that within Contract Package Areas there can be different teams from different programmes trying to engage with the same firms.

Therefore, members of the ReAct partnership have commissioned this short project to address two important priorities for the programme:

  • To help to develop a shared employer engagement approach, so that employers with jobs across Contract Package Areas can be assured of a consistent Restart offer regardless of where they are creating jobs; and
  • To help understand and apply the evidence of ‘what works’ in effective employer engagement more generally – so that we can improve the performance of the programme, and the likelihood of participants finding good, sustainable jobs.

This paper presents the research the ReAct partnership have done to support that process, including:

  1. A review of the existing evidence
  2. Interviews with employers
  3. Interviews with operational staff
  4. Interviews with experts in the field

The paper is divided into four parts. The first section provides some context and background to the current labour market, and what this means for Restart. The labour market is tight - there are lots of vacancies and employers are keen to recruit. Unemployment is much lower than anticipated, but there are still people finding it hard to move into work. The second section outlines the key lessons on what works with engaging with employers. The third section describes a number of models and ideas that are working now or have been used in previous programmes that will be helpful to help design the best approach for Restart. The final section suggests some further questions thrown up by the research.