Tackling unemployment

Reducing the impact of unemployment, particularly on young people and adults who are excluded from society, is a key issue that we ask responsible businesses to focus on.

Our ambition is that everyone, particularly those with significant barriers to overcome, receives support from business, to build the skills and confidence they need to gain and sustain employment.


Amongst the UK's 2.5m unemployed people, the number of adults over 25 out of work for more than a year has risen by over 70% since May 2011.  For many, a lack of self-confidence, recent experience or qualifications means that without proactive support they are unlikely to find and keep work. These barriers are often compounded by experiences of homelessness or the criminal justice and care systems.

What we ask of business

We ask business to help those furthest from employment into work through:

What we offer business

The issue

Access to employment is the most sustainable route out of poverty and disadvantage but it can often be out of reach:

  • 80% of people living in hostels want to work but only 5% currently do.

  • In 2012-13, just 26% of prisoners entered employment on release from prison.

  • 34% of care leavers are NEET compared to 18.2% of the general youth population.

  • The majority of offenders (97%) expressed a desire to stop offending. When asked which factors would be important in stopping them from reoffending in the future, most stressed the importance of ‘having a job’ (68%).

Business can make a significant impact on unemployment by providing access to good work for some of the most disadvantaged groups.

The case for business involvement

Business can make a significant impact on unemployment by providing access to good work for some of the most disadvantaged groups.  And there are vast benefits of engaging in programmes supporting disadvantaged groups, such as Ready for Work.

  • To society - the Social Return on Investment of Ready for Work is £3.12 for every £1 invested, and the programme generates a social impact of at least £3.2m for each year’s investment. This is made up from reduced re-offending, reduced benefits claims and increased tax payments, among other savings.
  • To individuals – programme participants report benefits from increased self confidence, improved health and wellbeing, re-connecting with their families and an improved sense of self worth from being in work again.
  • To businesses – skills development of employee volunteers involved in programmes and access to new businesses from demonstrating a positive social impact on disadvantaged communities

Tackling unemployment

Related programmes

Business Action on Homelessness Leadership Team

John Varley, Chair of the Business Action on Homelessness Leadership Team
Chair: John Varley
Chairman of Marie Curie and...

Key contact

Faye Goldman
Communications Manager, Work Inclusion

T: 020 7566 6611
E:faye.goldman@bitc.org.uk

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