Memorandum from Keith Faulkner, Director
of Public Affairs, Manpower plc
AN EXAMINATION OF WAYS IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT
CAN ASSIST AND ENCOURAGE EMPLOYERS TO FILL THEIR VACANCIES BY
RECRUITING UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE
In our introduction we set out our ethos, our
commitment to an effective UK labour market and highlight the
methods Manpower use to upskill employees and improve employability,
with specific reference to our involvement in existing government
programmes aimed at getting the unemployed back into the job market.
We go on in subsequent sections to express our
strong belief that there is a very significant role for private
sector employment businesses to work in partnership with the public
sector, especially with Employment Service, to develop synergy
in working with job-seekers and employers alike.
We draw attention to our existing role as an
intermediary and how our past and current involvement can be used
as a yardstick from which to measure and upon which to build upon.
We highlight the success of the partnership
between the Employment Service and Manpower with specific examples
such as the New Deal in South Wales.
We then develop Manpower's thinking on working
with other intermediaries, together with employers, to generate
specific customised training with guaranteed job outcomes into
entry level positions and with opportunities for subsequent career
advancement and additional training.
Manpower welcomes the opportunity to contribute
to this evidence and articulate its views and enthusiasm at being
involved in partnerships that enhance access to work opportunities
for the unemployed.
Manpower was founded in 1947 in the USA's mid-west,
at a time when discrimination in employment was common place.
From the outset Manpower declared an objective to provide equal
opportunities for all people in their workforce regardless of
colour, race or gender. These aims are still paramount today and
help to explain Manpower's support and involvement in numerous
Government and voluntary sector initiatives aimed at getting people
back to work and developing skills, including programmes such
as the New Deal and Employment Zones.
Manpower is committed to maintaining and improving
labour market effectiveness in the UK, realising peoples ability
to contribute to the full through equality of opportunity and
the fundamental right of those who wish to work to support themselves
and their families through having access to suitable employment
opportunities. A healthy UK labour market is an essential contributor
to wider economic and social wellbeing. As a leading proponent
of public/private partnership Manpower is well-equipped to develop
this policy in the field of employment. Our aim is to work together
with others to engage the latent skills and motivation of many
of the people who are experiencing barriers to employment.
Each year we find work for over 100,000 temporary
and contract employees and it is essential to our success that
our employees are well-equipped and we work constantly to develop
the ethos of flexible working and lifelong learning. Consequently
Manpower has a strong and growing training capacity and places
a great deal of emphasis on the upskilling of our own employees.
The most recent development has been the UK launch of our Global
Learning Centre offering more than 1,500 training opportunities
online, in IT and additional soft skills.
In our view, the management of the labour market
is a long-term strategy to be delivered by public and private
sector working together, not by one replacing the other. Manpower
strongly opposes the privatisation of the Employment Service as
highlighted by our written evidence to the Select Committee in
May 1998 and by Keith Faulkner's oral evidence submitted in July
1998. Manpower is a strong advocate of public/private partnerships
bringing together the wealth of experience existing in both sectors
to deliver the optimum service to unemployed people. We have sought
to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach through our
participation in New Deal and Employment Zones.
What can the Government do to encourage employers
to recruit unemployed people?
Would such measures help to reduce unemployment
or simply lead to the displacement of other people who would have
got the jobs anyway?
Even if this is the case, is it a good thing anyway
because of its beneficial "churning" of the labour market?
What are employers doing to reach out to prospective
employees who may have been unemployed for some time?
Is there anything more that the Employment Service
could do to promote the recruitment of unemployed people?
Recent references by both Gordon Brown and David
Blunkett evidence the contrast between high (though decreasing)
numbers of unemployed and similar numbers of unfilled vacancies
and skills shortages. There is a significant skills and geographic
mismatch of unemployed to employment, especially in areas suffering
acute unemployment due to declining heavy industry and where the
substitute growth sector is largely one of a service nature. In
order to overcome this, there must be positive programmes to encourage
employers to recruit the available workforceto embrace
the currently inactive and develop their existing skills into
an economically active and productive workforce. There is not
only a need to develop the skills of the unemployed but also a
requirement on the part of the employer to be flexible in terms
of restructuring job content and the selection criteria applied.
The UK remains in a strong economic position
overall with the advantage of a very flexible labour market to
support our businesses competitive position in European and Global
markets. To maintain this we need to ensure that we have adequate
access to a suitably skilled and motivated workforce. Given this,
we can continue to expand the number of jobs, reducing welfare
dependency and consequently diverting public spending into more
positive areas and enlarging our home market for goods and services.
We do not therefore believe that motivating and creating opportunities
for the unemployed to gain real skills and enter the job chain
will displace people already in work.
We also challenge the concept of "churn"
as an outcome neutral feature of the labour market. Entry level
jobs are an essential first step, especially for the long term
unemployed. What the relevant employers need to do, with the support
of intermediaries as appropriate, is not regard attrition as an
unavoidable cost feature. We need to provide post placement support
to enable entry level jobholders to progress to higher level positions
or secure better jobs in other companies based on the skills and
confidence gained and thus release new entry opportunities without
themselves "returning to Go". This is not just about
training but also the quality of general in work support and some
rethinking of job design within the business.
Employers do need encouragement to change recruitment
patterns to provide more scope for long term unemployed candidates.
However, those public sector organisations, voluntary agencies
and private companies supporting the unemployed cannot demand
co-operation as of right. They have to understand employer needs,
identify solutions and "sell" those solutions back to
the employer. They also have to deliver an "after sales service"
that does not end with the placement of an unemployed person.
In Manpower we believe that our general commercial experience
equips us to deliver this quality of service as demonstrated by
the examples that follow.
Manpower strongly advocates the development
of partnerships between the public and private sector to offer
an optimum service to both the unemployed and the employer. This
has worked well in the case of the New Deal where Manpower acts
as the Private Sector Lead managing the Bridgend and Glamorgan
district in partnership with the Employment Service. Similarly
we have further evidence of this working in a broader context
with the setting up of Working Links, a joint venture between
the Employment Service, Manpower and Ernst & Young to run
the contracts to deliver Employment Zones across Great Britain.
With the launch of the New Deal post election,
Manpower immediately declared its support for this important initiative
to help the long term unemployed. We have since demonstrated our
commitment to this in a number of very practical ways, including
our role as private sector lead in Bridgend and the Glamorgan
Valleys which is described in more detail in a later section.
One of the major lessons learned, which has
been at the heart of our own business over the last 50 years of
operating experience here in the UK and in the USA, is that solutions
only deliver sustainable jobs if they are strongly demand-led.
It starts with a proper appraisal of a company's staffing strategy
and the characteristics that are shown by successful employeesfrom
this we need to develop appropriate assessment and training for
applicants to ensure the candidates we send are "right first
time". As one of the world's largest employers outside Government
Manpower provide employment services for tens of thousands of
employers. We have a unique perspective on employees, what they
seek from work, what motivates them and what makes them leave
a job. The key is then the "match" of person to job
which in today's fast changing world of work is no longer a simple
comparison of past experience with future work requirements in
two similar job roles.
In applying this to the long-term unemployed,
the rules do not change but the need to have real jobs to work
towards, to have assessment and training programmes that deliver
genuinely work ready applicants and to have planned "in work"
training and support is heightened. Short, focused training is
one approach developed through our involvement in Employment Zones
and being further enhanced in a number of New Deal pilots across
the country aimed at sector-specific markets, such as information
technology and call centres (see New Deal IT Initiative in the
Our involvement in this joint venture exemplifies
the powerful combination of public sector experience with techniques
honed in the competitive environment of the private sector.
Working Links has gained contracts for nine
of the 15 Employment Zones (one is a joint bid with the Nottingham
Partnership) that are being piloted across Great Britain. This
initiative allows employers, local and national, the opportunity
to work directly and flexibly alongside local groups to develop
tailor-made solutions for individuals based on enhancing existing
provision and by plugging any gaps.
This public/private partnership has come together
to provide a strong, output focused organisation that can meet
the challenge (and risks) as set out in the Government's invitation
to tender. The core of the initial service delivery will be through
some externally recruited advisers working together with seconded
Personal Advisers from the Employment Service who will maintain
active links to the remainder of the Jobcentre network of systems
and vacancies. Manpower will bring additional resources and skills
for diagnosing client strengths and weaknesses in securing employment,
as well as providing access to a wider range of employers. Ernst
& Young's main input will be in the analysis and enhancement
of performance as well as financial management. The three organisations
will be working together in a collaborative partnership where
the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Working Links is a commercial venture albeit
coupled with a strong public service ethos. Payment will be mostly
by results with the largest amount only payable when a client
has been in employment for at least 13 weeks. This is not an easy
opportunity to make money and a return on the initial investment,
including the direct and indirect costs of getting clients into
work, will only materialise if more clients (than at present)
are successfully placed into sustainable employment.
Although the core combination of strengths that
this partnership can provide is significant, the delivery model
(ie breadth and level of provision) for each Zone will be a further
collaboration involving a number of local (strategic and delivery)
organisations to address the problems in getting their long term
unemployed clients into work. This will produce a second tier
partnership working from the public/private alliance at a national
level, to local organisations who may be from the public sector,
voluntary sector, or private sector. It will also include service
providers and employers. There are many local organisations who
have a locus which overlaps with the interests of the clients
that this initiative is aiming to serve and it is our objective
to achieve as much synergy as possible with these. To encourage
this we have set up local management boards for each of the Zones
which will have representatives of these local organisations alongside
the national partnership. This will ensure a genuinely local flavour
to the Zone operations which will influence the strategic direction
and have an on-going input to re-engineering the operational delivery.
Working Links will not operate with the objective
of maximising profits but will seek to maximise the numbers placed
into work. Although the achievement of this aim will trigger further
payments this is not the same as profit maximisation as there
will be significant costs in helping many of the clients to achieve
By allowing employers to be at the decision-making,
implementation and delivery stages of employment policy, as is
the case with initiatives like Employment Zones, there will be
a more focused development of what employers want, taking carefully
into account what there is on offer in terms of latent skills
and dormant motivation. Through involvement in the development
of the job-readiness of the candidate, whether via hands-on training,
customer care or motivation skills, the employer realises the
need for training, upskilling and aftercare throughout employment,
as already practised by Manpower in our mainstream business. Awareness
of the ongoing process allows advancement of the employee's career
as well as positive attrition, suitable vacancy filling, falling
unemployment levels, a motivated workforce and subsequent sustainability.
The Government proposes to create a new Intermediaries
Fund (£5 million over three years) covering 11 inner city
areas. The money will be used to promote private and voluntary
sector organisations which seek to link unemployed people to employers
with vacancies on offer. The Fund will also be used to explore
the use of sector-based intermediaries in supporting employers
to take advantage of New Deal. What kind of projects should the
Fund be used to support? Are there existing examples of good practice
in this area?
In responding to this it may be most useful
to furnish some practical examples that draw out what we see to
be some of the key features of success.
Acting as an intermediary, Manpower, in collaboration
with leading information technology employers including Unisys,
IBM, Xerox and Cisco, is developing pilot, sector-based programmes
to train New Deal participants for entry-level positions as IT
engineers and service technicians. The positions, paying from
£16K to £21K per year, will provide continuing training
and career opportunities. Manpower will work with corporate and
community partners to develop four pilot projects in 2000, in
London, Merseyside and Glasgow, with further expansion in subsequent
Strong relationships with major clients have
assisted us in recognising a clear labour market need. Information
technology is one of the fastest growing employment sectors in
today's economy, offering great opportunities for entry level
workers equipped with the appropriate skills. In the UK, Manpower
expects to fill as many as 4,000 positions in IT service and support
in 2000there are definite vacancies on offer.
Although there is a clear economic need for
skilled workers to fill these positions much of the potential
workforceincluding New Deal participants and other low
income individualshave lacked the preparation, skills,
connections and support to take advantage of these career opportunities.
To meet this obvious workforce need, and to
promote new opportunities for New Deal participants, Manpower
is creating pathways to high wage information technology service
and support jobs by forming partnerships with the Employment Service
and community training providers to develop training for an estimated
100 IT placements. Extensive discussions have been held across
Great Britain and relationships are being developed. In London
alone, there are clear examples of local providers such as the
charity pecan offering quality IT training with high pass-rate
turnout yet falling short on job outcomes due to a lack of employer
links. Manpower has the contacts and has done the research in
order to be able to place people in suitable sustainable employment
with additional opportunities for advancement. The services necessary
to ready new Deal participants for placements as IT service technicians
will be provided by Manpower and partners, by delivering short-term
training programmes to enable participants to meet prevailing
industry hiring standards.
Training will target field engineering positions
focused on installation, maintenance and support of computer and
office equipment. Manpower corporate partners including Unisys,
IBM and Xerox have pledged to provide over 100 jobs for New Deal
participants meeting industry standards in the first year of pilot
operation. Working in co-operation with other partners, Cisco
will offer upgrade training in networking skills. Finance will
come initially from Innovation Funding then from New Deal under
the FTET option, though if the pilots are successful the initiative
will fit under the new Intermediaries Funding. Manpower will act
as the link between the unemployed, private and voluntary organisations
putting them in touch with employers with unfilled vacancies,
as in the case of organisations such as Pecan, Elatt and Newtec
and employers such as IBM, Xerox and Unysis.
For partner companies, the Manpower initiative
offers a pool of skilled workers who will meet the same standards
as any other Manpower placement. Companies will also have the
opportunity to custom design training programs and access free
upgrade training for their existing workforce, allowing employed
and unemployed to train alongside each other. Participants will
be offered three training options based on skills and interests
as determined by assessment and the IT pathway will be designed
to serve a variety of skills levels and interests.
Participants successfully completing training
will take the A+ certification test. Those receiving certification
and meeting company set standards will be placed in entry level
positions with participating companies. New Deal participants
placed in field engineering positions will have the opportunity
for Cisco upgrade training offered by community training providers.
Partner companies can access this training through a day release
programme, leading to a CCNA certificate.
Manpower's responsibility is to design, develop
and operate training in collaboration with community and corporate
partners. Manpower will be responsible for overall management,
assessment, placement and quality control. Training partners will
recruit participants and provide basic and advanced skills training
and social support. Corporate partners will set hiring standards,
agree to hire qualified graduates and participate in programme
design and operation.
This programme is genuinely demand-led with
much input from the IT sector. Its innovation and strength is
its employer-driven content and its guaranteed job outcomes at
the end of a short, customised training period. This is a conscious
move away from training for training's sake and offers specific,
demand-led, on-the-job training together with the opportunity
to develop wider essential skills such as customer care and job
preparation specifically tailored to meet the needs of this industry.
With impressive starting salaries for entry-level roles and broad
opportunities for progression within the companies this is a clear
move into sustainability, increased employability. By acting as
a catalyst in the establishment of intermediary services, Manpower
can utilise funding available to promote the development of relationships
between public, voluntary and private sector organisations that
bridge the gaps between unemployed people, with the capacity to
learn suitable skills, and employers faced with skills shortages
and staff turnover.
There are a number of examples of current good
practice associated with the New Deal. One of the more established
is the work Manpower has done in South Wales under the New Deal
alongside the Employment Service as briefly described in an earlier
At the launch of New Deal in May 1997, Manpower
publicly endorsed the principles of the programme and offered
the benefit of our experience to support the design and implementation
of the programme.
The consequent collaboration with the Employment
Service led Manpower to bid for, and win, a contract to deliver
the New Deal for both 18 to 24 year olds and, separately 25+ long
term unemployed in the Bridged and Glamorgan Valleys district
of South Wales. Of the 12 UK districts tendered Manpower is the
only private sector company delivering our solution in true partnership
with the Employment Service (ES). By working through ES Job Centres
and Personal Advisers, operating within ES policy frameworks and
acting as part of a joint management team, Manpower is developing
delivery techniques that are readily transferable to other ES
led districts. Government performance statistics show Manpower
to be performing strongly in comparison with other private sector
Manpower is also acting as an intermediary employer
for several leading UK organisations. We employ New Deal applicants
and assign them, under the terms of the New Deal, to gain work
experience in our client companies. This allows our clients to
support New Deal without all the related administration, payroll
and personnel activity.
We are already familiar with their entry level
and skill requirements and can therefore provide an effective
link with the Employment Service to ensure the suitability and
necessary pre-training of New Deal applicants. Applicants are
then assigned to the agreed six-month period of work experience
in the client company, with Manpower accepting the employment
and payroll responsibilities. This arrangement helps ensure consistency
in our client's handling of New Deal with the minimum of resource
requirement from the client's own organisation. This intermediary
role does not preclude direct links between our client and the
Employment Service and allows the client's support for New Deal
to be promoted in just the same way as if it were a direct arrangement.
At the end of the training period we will either transfer the
employee to our client or support them in finding an alternative
The emphasis on training and skills underlines
the need to make people more aware of how important skills are
to their prospects for work and to demonstrate that training need
not be costly or difficult to access. Manpower, as part of our
Millennium sponsorship of the Dome, incorporated support for the
Skills Festival to help achieve that goal.
Manpower National Skills Festival 2000 is an
initiative developed in partnership with UK Skills and The Prince's
Trust. It is part of the Millennium Experience's national programme
and aims to help young people to succeed by promoting excellence
in practical skills, so generating high quality jobs for the future.
The Festival is designed to inspire young people
by giving them the opportunity to either demonstrate their skills
in public themselves or see their peers compete against the best
in their region.
There will be a nationwide series of skills-related
events and activities, culminating in July 2000, when the NEC
near Birmingham will host the biggest ever celebration of skills
in the UK.
The partnership is keen for all businesses to
take part, to help change the way the industry, commerce and the
public perceive vocational skills.
New skills such as call handling and computer-aided
design, which are being included in the contest for the first
time, are explored in a series of tasks to be completed over four
We have worked with businesses to encourage
an "Open Doors Week" to take place allowing people the
opportunity to experience a variety of workplaces and "have
a go". Manpower, The Prince's Trust and the Regional Development
Agencies have had a great deal of success in encouraging young
people to enter and demonstrate their skills to others.
What can private employment agencies contribute
to the recruitment of unemployed people?
Manpower are very clear on our main objectives.
The first is to support greater flexibility in the labour market
but to couple that with responsibility. All our staff have full
employment contracts and that reflects our philosophy of delivering
quality alongside flexibility by having a long-term relationship
with our temporary workforce and giving them the normal benefits
of employment. As a result we are working with employers to create
a greater mobility of labour between different job roles, between
areas and between skills, which is why we place a great deal of
emphasis on training. We also have considerable experience of
providing a route back into the job market, for people made redundant,
moving out of caring responsibilities, or those who, for other
reasons, are out of touch with the labour market, placing them
into work, training them and rebuilding their confidence and ability
within the labour market. As the employer we create security for
both the client (whose position we can fill) and the job-seeker
who develops a long-term relationship with Manpower and enjoys
all the benefits of employment.
Manpower have also worked alongside the Prince's
Trust Volunteers programme in offering job preparation and labour
market training as part of their 12 week programme via our local
branches. Working with Volunteers, some of whom are New Dealers,
has led to increasing employability and subsequent vacancies filled
through our relationships with these groups. This mirrors work
done with several other voluntary groups working on issues of,
for example, age and disability.
Employment agencies acting in their normal business
format will only generally offer a good route to work for those
unemployed with some existing work experience and reasonable motivation.
For the majority of long term unemployed, agencies can best deliver
solutions as partners with other public sector, voluntary or employer
groups where their experience can represent a very positive contribution.
We hope that the evidence we have presented of Manpower's involvement
illustrates this effectively.
Manpower regards a strong employment base as
a key driver of economic and social success, regionally and nationally,
with skills and motivation being the currency people need to succeed
in employment. For those who have barriers to entering employment
intermediaries such as Manpower have a vital role to play, however
the end employer has to remain the focus and their involvement
from the outset is essential. However for many employers they
have other priorities that again make an intermediary, who makes
their commitment in principle to help, easier to actually deliver
in practice. Many traditional intermediaries are focused on the
unemployed and have insufficient understanding of the employer
Manpower welcome the opportunity to act as a
catalyst bringing together all the necessary components of success
in exciting projects such as Employment Zones and New Deal. Despite
the criticism of the Welfare to Work philosophy in some quartersthat
an undue attention to putting people into work is working against
the best interests of the individualwe see no conflict
between being demand-led and client-focused (ie the unemployed).
It is the economic enabler for both companies and individuals
to continue the investment in personal learning and, for those
who want to, make progress into more fulfilling jobs.