Research Output

The 'Employability Gap': towards an understanding of the relationship between long-term unemployment, employability and barriers to work

  This paper seeks to identify the main barriers limiting the employability of long-term unemployed job seekers. Employability (according to Hillage and Pollard’s, 1999, definition) is affected by the interaction of four key elements: employability assets (such as key skills and personal attributes); the deployment of assets (e.g. through an awareness of personal abilities and limitations, an awareness of opportunities in the labour market, and a realistic approach to looking for work); the presentation of assets (involving the ability to demonstrate assets and skills in an accessible manner); and, the relationship between the individual’s personal circumstances and wider labour market conditions.
Such an analytical framework assists the discussion of how respondents’ personal characteristics, social and family circumstances, and perceptions of the labour market and their role within it, affect their ability to pursue opportunities and their relationships with other economic actors (most specifically recruiting employers). Each of these four elements are closely linked and characterised by a series of complex inter-relationships. This paper co0nsiders the results of interviews with 115 long-term unemployed individuals, i.e. those who have been unemployed and actively seeking work for more than one year, completed in Edinburgh between April and June 2000. It concludes that these four elements are important, but the balance between them may vary according to the state of the local economy. Specifically the evidence suggests that within buoyant local economies, characterised by high labour demand, individual and family circumstances and attitudes towards the labour market may be relatively more significant barriers to work

  • Date:

    11 December 2000

  • Publication Status:

    Published

Citation

McQuaid, R. W. & Lindsay, C. (2000). The 'Employability Gap': towards an understanding of the relationship between long-term unemployment, employability and barriers to work

Keywords

employability; long-term unemployed; job seekers; labour market; key skills; personal characteristics; local economies;

Available Documents