Open Door Policy: Why the new government should introduce an Employment Advice Guarantee


The UK is in an extraordinary position as the only nation in the G7 whose working-age employment rate remains lower than before the pandemic.

Despite this, our new report – supported by Phoenix Insights, Phoenix Group’s longevity think tank – demonstrates just how difficult people are finding it to access employment advice, and just how few people know where to turn for support.

Our research has identified for the first time an alarming ’employment advice gap’. A nationally-representative poll of 4,000 people found that one in three (36%) want to access careers and employment advice, but that just one in seven (13%) have used a public service to get advice in the last two years. This marks the first time this gap – which amounts to 23 percentage points, equivalent to 9.7 million people – has been quantified.

Alongside this, our research has found that up to 2 million people out of work who want to get a job are missing out on advice and support: a ‘back to work support gap’.

These twin challenges are worsening the UK’s labour market crisis, making tackling it an urgent priority for the new Labour government if they are to achieve their central manifesto mission of kickstarting economic growth.

Labour committed in their manifesto to establishing “a national jobs and careers service, focused on getting people into work and helping them get on at work”. This aligns with Demos’s previous policy proposal that the government should establish a Universal Work Service – a public employment service designed to offer integrated employment support, skills and careers advice, with universal access for everyone.

This research and policy report shows why establishing this new service should be a priority, and sets out the first steps the new government should take to create it.