100 job applicants - but none willing to work?



When Jean Rasbridge, the owner of an electronic cigarettes firm, advertised for a warehouse packer, she was delighted to get 100 applications. However, what happened next has led her to lambast the job centres who sent the candidates.

So what went wrong, and does this mean the system is broken?

None ready to work

Rasbridge approached the Daily Mail, after her experiences of trying to hire a warehouse packer through the JobCentre. The job, for ecigarettedirect.co.uk in Swansea, paid £8 an hour.

She received 100 applications, and after sifting through them, invited seven people to an interview. In the end only two attended their interviews, and the one who she offered the job to never appeared for his first day at work.

She told the newspaper: "The applicants who applied were obviously just ticking boxes to keep their benefits. It was a complete waste of time for them, the JobCentre and for us. They weren't interested in working for us, even when we showed an interest in employing them."

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The Telegraph reported that Rasbridge had already smelled a rat when she discovered that some of the applicants lived hundreds of miles away - including one who lived in Glasgow. Many seemed a little over-qualified for the role - including teachers and people with PhDs.

She suspects that these people were simply applying because of the way the benefits system works. If people aren't seen to be actively seeking work, they can lose their benefits for up to three years - so they have to send off applications to prove they are making an effort.

Citizen's Advice Bureaux advise claimants to register with employment agencies and apply for jobs - keeping records of the applications and the adverts - so they can show them to JobCentre staff every fortnight. In theory the jobs need to be suitable.

However, clearly this isn't working. Rasbridge's experiences would seem to indicate that people are applying for all sorts of things in an effort to show they are looking for work.

A 2011 government survey of JobCentre Plus customers shows that this sort of thing is actually being recommended by staff. It found that around two thirds of those actively seeking work had been told by an adviser to look for different types of work, and 25% said that the suggestions they made were unsuitable.

Some 26% of people with a degree felt that the suggestions were unsuitable, while 38% of those who were previously in a professional or managerial role thought the suggestions to be inappropriate.

Rasbridge says she has stopped using the JobCentre to find employees.

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