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The Weakest Link? Job Quality and Active Labour Market Policy in the UK

Green, Anne; Sissons, Paul


Anne Green


In a significant change to the UK social security system, the introduction of Universal Credit has seen the broadening of labour market activation to cover a larger number of population sub-groups. This change has also prompted a greater concern with employment sustainability and progression in work in active labour market policy (ALMP), as the benefit extends coverage to those in work and on low incomes. Implicit in this shift is the emergence of a greater emphasis on employment quality alongside the previously predominant focus on the quantity of employment opportunities. Concurrently, ‘good work’ is increasingly prominent in the policy discourse in the UK. Yet within a work-first system in which jobseekers are encouraged, and can be mandated, to accept available opportunities, there is only limited scope for public employment services to engage with a good work agenda, or to exert upwards institutional pressure on job quality. A context of labour and skills shortages in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic offers ALMP an opportunity to redress this situation. It also opens up questions about the relative prospects for progression in the internal labour market vis-à-vis the external labour market.


Green, A., & Sissons, P. (2023). The Weakest Link? Job Quality and Active Labour Market Policy in the UK. .

Publication Date Feb 28, 2023
Deposit Date Jun 24, 2024
ISBN 9781529223033
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