Getting jobs and moving on: lessons from Britain's 'employment first' welfare state

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At the start of the 21st century those who are workless or on low incomes often must negotiate multiple and fragmented transitions in a landscape beset by continuing change in employment, demography and social structures. The welfare settlements created in the era of Keynesian full employment are being adapted to create services and supports to better meet the challenges posed by new social risks. Governments of OECD countries are implementing changes to their social security and employment systems and to their public sector bureaucracies. This paper assesses Britain's employment first strategy which, in two decades, has gone from being the sick man of Europe to the country with the highest employment rate and lowest unemployment rate amongst the G7 economies. It considers the new combinations of employment assistance, labour market regulation, tax and benefit reforms, and learning entitlements, which have redefined the rights and responsibilities of those making transitions between worklessness, caring and employment. It discusses the strengths and weaknesses of this new British settlement and explores the contemporary challenge to build on employment first and promote job retention, skill progression and advancement in the labour market
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventTransitions and Risk: New Directions in Social Policy - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 23 Feb 200525 Feb 2005


ConferenceTransitions and Risk


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