‘Universal Jobmatch’ to be launched in autumn

Department for Work and Pensions’ to deliver online jobs service 10 months after deal with Monster Worldwide

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said it will launch its Universal Jobmatch in late autumn, 10 months after the contract to deliver the Jobcentre Plus web-based vacancy posting and matching service was signed with Monster Worldwide.

The DWP said that Universal Jobmatch will be one of the UK’s largest jobsites and is intended to make job searching easier by automatically matching a jobseeker’s CV and skills to jobs that suit their needs.

People seeking work will need to register with the online service and provide an email address, and may be invited by employers to apply for jobs via an online application.

Chris Pennell, principal analyst at Kable, said: “The deal with Monster while not huge in monetary terms, is quite groundbreaking for the DWP and is a good example of how by working in conjunction with someone with an existing solution and market position, the DWP can simply and quickly start to shift clients from face to face contact to online services.”

According to the department, among the advantages of the service are that jobseekers can tailor their job search preferences to suit the jobs they are looking for, and they can receive ongoing job matches and email alerts. There will also be a “help and support function” and a feedback service for users.

On whether some individuals will be disadvantaged if they do not have access to the internet at home, the DWP said that the service will be available from anywhere with internet access, including internet cafes, public libraries and mobile devices.

Pennell, added: “Moving clients to online services will be crucial as the DWP looks to focus its face to face services on people who require greater assistance, allowing it to meet some of its planned cuts and efficiency savings.”

A spokesman for the PCS union, which represents Jobcentre Plus staff, said that the shift to digital raises big issues in terms of digital inclusion and access to IT equipment, however.

“For example, it is not realistic to expect someone on £60 a week Jobseeker’s Allowance to spend £20 a month on broadband so they can search for a job. It also raises concerns about access for people with disabilities and literacy issues.

“Although it may work for some people, those hardest to get into work will still need the kind of face-to-face support that jobcentres currently offer.”

Commenting on potential privacy issues that posed by the online delivery of job services, Emma Carr, deputy director of privacy group Big Brother Watch, said: “It is important that individuals are not penalised for not wishing to part with their information whilst searching for jobs online.

“The Department for Work and Pensions needs to provide assurances that it has systems in place to ensure that personal information remains secure.”

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