The evidence is in: job seeking is harder if you’re offline

I’ve talked on my blog before about the work we do with Jobcentre Plus, and with our new campaign – New Year, new online you! – now in full swing it seems like the perfect time to talk about it again. Luckily, with the release of our new research report – commissioned from ICM – I’ve got a good excuse!

The report presented some really interesting facts – and for my lucky blog readers here are the most important ones. 72% of employers wouldn’t interview an entry level candidate who didn’t have computer and internet skills. That figure is huge and this number rises to 82% in Newcastle where unemployment rates are high and people are already struggling to find work. 

Our new report shows 25% of jobs are only advertised online, meaning offline job seekers can’t find a quarter of the jobs available. Again – it rises a lot higher in some areas. You’d be especially unlucky to be an offline job seeker in Liverpool where nearly half – 46% – of all vacancies are only advertised online. I talk a lot about the importance of digital skills, I do believe what I preach,  but even I was shocked to discover that being offline in Liverpool means you’re missing out on almost half of available jobs. 

That’s why our campaign, and our ongoing partnership with Jobcentre Plus is so important. Hearing it from me is all well and good, but take it from the horse’s mouth and have a look at some of these case studies that show just how much of a difference being online has made to a group of really inspiring job seekers. John Shrimplin, one jobseeker from Newcastle who has found work thanks to getting online says: “I honestly think the internet is the only way to find work now. You only have to go to the job centre to see that everything is ‘apply online’ or ‘email your CV’. Before I learnt how to use computers, I just wasn’t hearing back from employers at all and it really could be quite disheartening.”

There are a lot of stats about job seeking and internet skills floating about, and we’ve been wading through a lot of them for the campaign. To try and make sense of all the numbers (my favourite job!) we’ve put together a paper that highlights the most important research in this area. I don’t think we can improve the job prospects of hundreds of thousands of the unemployed unless we do more about digital skills. Take a look at the paper here. 

A lot of people have recently told me how useful they find my Slideshare account, so I’ve put my favourite jobs and the internet stats into an easy-to-read format just for you. And it’s all free to download and use when you’re short of a slide or two.

I’m sure this isn’t the last time I’ll blog about unemployed people and their digital skills. Universal Credit is launching Autumn 2013 and will shake-up the benefits system, making it even more important for job seekers to be confident on the web. I’m open to debate so do share your views. 

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