Men's prospects can be harmed by job programmes

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Joining the wrong government jobs programme can actually harm men's employment prospects, according to new research from the Policy Studies Institute. It reports that Work Trials, which placed 20,000 people in 1994/95, increased the chance of a job by 35-40 per cent for both men and women.

However, Job Clubs increased women's chances of employment by 15 per cent, but boosted prospects for unqualified men far less, and actually reduced the prospects of a job for men with vocational qualifications. The scheme, with 250,000 places in 1994/95, also reduced the earnings of the typical male participant by 7 per cent compared with what he would have earned if he had not taken part.

Similarly, the 300,000 places on the Job Interview Guarantee Scheme improved women's chances and worsened prospects for men with qualifications.

Steve Lissenburgh, co-author of the report, said the positive effect of the small Work Trials scheme showed the importance of high quality placement schemes. Skilled male workers are harder to help once they have slipped into long-term unemployment.

The Impact of Public Job Placing Programmes, Policy Studies Institute, from Grantham Distribution, 01476 541080.