Employment and Post Placement Support
A focus on employment retention: a meta-analysis of three pilot programmes designed to support benefit recipients to take up and retain employment.
Many newly-employed people face personal and financial difficulties moving into work, that makes staying in their jobs hard. In recent years, in New Zealand and overseas, there has been increased interest in measures to help people manage these difficulties and make a successful transition from benefit into employment.
Between 1999 and 2001, the Department of Work and Income trialled three pilot programmes to offer post-placement support services for newly-employed beneficiaries. These pilots were evaluated, and the findings have been brought together in a meta-analysis (or overall evaluation). The meta-analysis identifies issues with employment retention for newly employed beneficiaries, and potential approaches to providing future post-placement support services.
The post-placement support pilots were known as “Post-Placement Support” (PPS), “Into Work Support”, and “In-Work Support”. These pilots offered a range of services to beneficiaries. An exit interview was held before the person ended benefit to ensure they received all the financial support they were entitled to when they moved into employment. The person’s needs were assessed to identify potential problems entering work or in other areas of their life (such as arranging childcare). Other services included planning, budgeting, advice, practical help, and in some instances, a personal adviser to provide either one-off or ongoing support.
The findings of the evaluations and meta-analysis were mixed. Financial difficulties were found to be the main hurdle facing beneficiaries moving into employment, and many beneficiaries were unaware of any support available to help them once they took up employment. The post-placement support services were therefore useful to ensure participants were aware of and received all the financial and other supports they were entitled to. Participants said they appreciated the services and felt more confident to manage difficulties that could affect their employment. However, in the short term, the services did not achieve their main goal of helping beneficiaries improve their chances of staying in jobs longer, although there was some suggestion that post-placement support may result in longer-term employment outcomes.
While the post-placement support services did not achieve their main goal, it is important to remember the pilots had limitations. The pilots were small-scale, one-off services that were launched with limited time and resources. One of the key findings was that to be effective, post-placement support needs to be part of a bigger web that supports beneficiaries from when they first start looking for jobs, to when they move into employment, to potentially when they might be interested in more career advancement.
Many Work and Income regions have developed their own approaches to support clients who are in work. Current post-placement support services are operating in Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, and Canterbury.