Clinical Trials adverts on government employment website “inappropriate”

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  By Lynda Williamson

Jobseeker Chris Morgan of Dartford in Kent got a surprise when he logged into his account with Universal Jobmatch the other day to find five separate messages inviting him to apply for available jobs. The jobs were described as full time, within the London/South West area and in the internet services industry. The really interesting bit was the description under salary which read “Paid Clinical Trials”

Mr Morgan, who lives with his partner and their two children, had been looking for work since November 2012 when he lost his job with Marks and Spencer. He had subscribed to Universal Jobmatch in the hope of finding employment in order to provide for his family but was left feeling “sick to my stomach” at what he found there. The adverts, which were described as “inappropriate” have now been removed from the website.

Universal Jobmatch is an online vacancy posting and matching service which was launched by the Department of Work and Pensions in autumn 2012.  The contract to deliver these services was given to Monster Worldwide, one of the largest and fastest growing employment website companies in the world. At that time the DWP said that one of the advantages of the system was that it would enable job seekers to tailor their job search preferences to suit the jobs they are looking for. Quite how that applied to Mr Morgan in this instance is unclear.

Registration with Universal Jobmatch became compulsory (at the discretion of Job Centre advisers) for those claiming Jobseekers Allowance, in March of this year.  At that time Tory Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban welcomed the announcement saying:

“Jobseekers who are serious about looking for work will get all the support they need from us. But in return for receiving Jobseekers Allowance they must prove they are doing everything they can to find a job.

“Universal Jobmatch has already proved a big success in getting people get off benefits and into work, and people are flocking to use it.

“If someone refuses to use a service that already has 460,000 employers posting jobs, you have to ask why – which is why we are now saying claimants must use it.”

A spokesperson for the DWP released a statement this morning:

“These postings are inappropriate for Universal Jobmatch and have been taken down.

“When advertising jobs on Universal Jobmatch, employers have to agree to a number of terms and conditions to use the service. Where an inappropriate job is identified, or where an employer doesn’t adhere to the terms and conditions, it is quickly removed.”