Live Register to fall below 400,000 - Burton
Minister recognises input of private sector in delivering employment
Minister Burton told attendees at Ibec’s Culture for Innovation HR summit in Dublin this morning that the Live Register is set to fall even further. Photograph: Frank Miller / THE IRISH TIMES
Unemployment is set to fall over the coming months, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton told a conference in Dublin this morning, adding that she is “confident” that the Live Register will fall below 400,000 in the coming weeks. This would mark the first time it has fallen to such a level since May 2009.
Noting that this year’s Budget adjustment will be lower than expected at € 2.5 billion, Minister Burton told attendees at Ibec’s Culture for Innovation HR summit, that this was due to savings from a reduction in the Live Register.
“Getting people back to work is the most effective way of reducing welfare expenditure - and we are doing it,” she said.
Minister Burton also recognised the input from the private sector in generating jobs.
“The public and private sectors working in concert - the very model of the kind of innovation that will foster a flourishing, and sustainable, economy.”
Minister Burton also elaborated on several initiatives developed by her Department to get more people back to work.
These include “job-matching”, which involves gathering up vacancies and matching jobseekers with them; organising job fairs around the country and dedicated schemes such as JobBridge, the national internship scheme; and JobsPlus, which assists employers directly with the cost of recruitment. The scheme offers a grant of € 7,500 paid over two years if an employer hires a jobseeker who has been more than a year unemployed. That grant rises to € 10,000 if the jobseeker has been more than two years unemployed. So far, over 1,200 employers and 2,400 jobseekers have registered for JobsPlus.
“This application rate is more than three times higher than for the PRSI exemption scheme, which is very encouraging - and shows the benefits of innovative thinking,” she said.
Referring to her Department’s new JobPath initiative, which will involve building a new partnership with the private sector to assist the long-term unemployed, Minister Burton said the procurement process is now under way, with a view to having JobPath up and running in late 2014. The new scheme will work on a payments-by-results basis, meaning the companies will get paid only if they find sustainable employment for clients.
“Our focus is on ensuring an innovatively designed, well-managed scheme that will also include the community and voluntary sectors and avoid some of the pitfalls experienced by other countries in the past,” she said.
Minister Burton added that the Department is considering the development of a formal account management structure to improve employee engagement, but noted that resources would pose a “significant problem” in doing so.