Labour market experience of people with multiple disadvantage

Funded by: Joseph Rowntree Foundation


March 2000 to March 2001

PSI researchers:

Background, summary and aims


There is concern that unemployed people experiencing severe or multiple forms of disadvantage may need more help than they are currently receiving in order to take advantage of labour market opportunities. This research will build on surveys of New Deal entrants which PSI is currently analysing as part of the Government's evaluation programme for New Deal. The first wave survey of New Deal for Young People has just over 6000 respondents, including substantial numbers who have problems with problems literacy and numeracy, physical and mental health, homelessness, drugs and alcohol, and the law. Data from the second wave survey will be available in August 2000, and will add information on experiences of family disruption in childhood, and willingness to be contacted for a follow-up interview. Secondary analysis of this data will be employed to bring out the particular experiences of multiply disadvantaged young people. The research will add to the existing data-in-depth discussion with disadvantage young people and with organisations providing employment support to such young people, to provide a more fully rounded picture of ways that help might be provided.


The aim of the proposed project is to improve our understanding of the ways in which prospects of obtaining and retaining employment might be improved for people who suffer from severe or multiple disadvantages.

Project design

There would be four main elements to the proposed research:

1. A review of current literature on employment and training policies for severely and multiply disadvantaged individuals;

2. Secondary analysis of recently collected survey data on more than 6000 young New Deal participants, focussing on the experiences of those who were multiply disadvantaged;

3. Qualitative depth interviews with 50 young unemployed people experiencing severe or multiple disadvantages; and

4. Interviews with at least 15 organisations providing advisory or support services to young unemployed people from disadvantaged groups.

Importance of the research

The current government has made a large investment in New Deal as the primary policy tool for helping unemployed people move off welfare and into work. However, there is some concern that people with severe or multiple disadvantages may not be able to obtain the intensive help that they require through New Deal. This project would examine the extent to which this concern is justified for young New Deal participants experiencing various kinds of labour market disadvantage. The project makes the earliest possible use of new longitudinal survey data on 18 to 24 year old New Deal participants collected on behalf of the Employment Service.