Low-Wage Workers in the United Kingdom
Several JFF projects have helped the United Kingdom develop strategies for advancing low-wage workers. In 1999, JFF worked with the New Deal Task Force to develop strategies for revamping the British welfare-to-work system. This project culminated in Business Participation in Welfare-to-Work: Lessons from the United States, along with several case studies. That same year, JFF produced Improving Low Income Job Seekers' Employment Prospects: The Role of Labor Market Intermediaries, a background paper for the U.K./U.S. Seminar on Labor Market Intermediaries.
In 2004, to inform the Fair Cities Initiative, JFF undertook an international study of employer-led initiatives that take full account of the recruitment and skill needs of employers, while helping ethnic-minority job seekers to overcome specific barriers, such as language skills and discrimination. On average, ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom experience higher unemployment, lower pay, and fewer opportunities for advancement than whites. At the same time, half of the growth in the U.K.’s working-age population over the next five years will come from ethnic-minority groups even though they make up only 8 percent of the population. Thus, failure to address the employment barriers that ethnic minorities face will have severe economic and social costs. Through the Fair Cities Initiative, the National Employment Panel, which provides advice on the design, delivery, and performance of the U.K. government’s labor market policies and programs, explored ways to engage employers in addressing this challenge.