The UK’s employment rate has increased in recent years, reaching record highs, and unemployment and economic inactivity have fallen significantly. However, the employment rate of different groups and regions vary greatly, with some groups such as disabled people far less likely to be in work.
Work plays an important role in our society. Access to good work not only helps people live free from poverty, it can provide meaning and purpose, and it forms the foundation of strong and resilient communities.
Employment in the UK had reached a record high before the coronavirus pandemic hit our labour market hard. Despite the unprecedented measures taken to protect jobs, we have seen an increase in worklessness faster than any on record. Getting Britain back to work is now a major national priority.
Employment support should be both evidence-based and properly resourced. It should be tailored to the individual and integrated with other services in order to address complex needs.
It is important that employment and skills services are tailored to meet the needs of employers and communities. We are working with local areas to seize on the opportunities offered by devolution, and we explore the case for whether further powers could be passed to local areas to build a more effective and integrated support system.
Alongside access to work, the quality of work matters too. We believe that everyone should be able to access good work, which provides them with a decent income, security, and an opportunity for progression.
We work closely with national government, local government, and other organisations, to design and deliver effective employment support services. We help organisations to evaluate the impact of their services, and we help to identify and spread best practice. We have carried out extensive work on employment support for people with disabilities, and with health and mental-health related barriers to work.
The proportion of young people in work has risen in recent years, but young people are still more likely to be out of work than older adults.
Adults with disabilities still face significant labour market challenges. The disability employment gap remains stubbornly persistent at almost 30 per cent.
People who rent their home from the council or a housing association are twice as likely to be unemployed and three times as likely to be inactive than private renters or homeowners.