How effective are state employment agencies? Jobcentre use and job matching in Britain

Pub. Date
01 August, 1994
Pub. Type

State sponsored employment agencies are an important source of job matching. This study tracks job centre use in Britain over the previous decade. Use of the service has followed a secular decline amongst employed job seekers and, as with aggregate search effort, is highly counter-cyclical amongst the unemployed. The unemployed pattern can be attributed to their changing composition over the period 1984-90, including counter-cyclical falls in duration of job search and likelihood of being laid off. The rise in job centre use after 1990 is only partially attributable to increased duration of search.

This study reveals evidence of increasing returns of job search effort. The more search methods a job seeker utilises the greater the chance of securing employment. The results suggest that job centres do significantly increase the rate of job matching in Britain and that the greatest beneficial impact is amongst those, the low skilled and the long-term unemployed who are more disadvantaged in the labour market. State intervention to reduce the costs of search would encourage more widespread use of alternative methods of job search.

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