Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Publishes Detailed Evaluation of JobPath

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Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Publishes Detailed Evaluation of JobPath

Thursday 11 April 2019

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection today published a staff working paper examining the impact of the JobPath service. This econometric evaluation was prepared as part of a collaboration between the Statistics and Business Intelligence Unit of the Department (a part of the Irish Government Statistical Service which is headed by the CSO), and the Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It is the most authoritative source of information to date on the effectiveness and impact of JobPath. 
The evaluation indicates that JobPath has been successful in helping jobseekers not only to secure employment but to improve earnings in employment. The evaluation shows:

  • Participants improved their employment outcomes by 20% compared to a matched group of non-participants
  • Participants who secured employment with the support of JobPath increased their average weekly earnings by 16% compared to a matched group of non-participants who also secured employment


  • The overall impact was that people on JobPath increased employment earnings by 35% compared to the matched group of non-participants
  • The impacts were positive not only on an overall basis but for each of seven different clusters of jobseekers, with the positive employment earnings impact ranging from 24% for people with a prior history of being very long term unemployed to 100% for those people with prior history of intermittent employment.

In summary, the study indicates that the JobPath service helps gets people into work and at higher earnings than they would otherwise have received if they had secured employment without the support of JobPath.

The analysis set out in the evaluation chimes with feedback that the Department has already received through independent customer satisfaction research. That customer research shows that people who use the service are overwhelmingly positive in their assessment of it. This new econometric evaluation provides strong evidence that the service works in not only improving employment outcomes but in also improving earnings.

Speaking to the Evaluation’s findings, John Conlon, Head of the Department’s Employment Services observed:

“The Department regularly evaluates the impact of the services and programmes it provides. We aim to ensure that the design and operation of our programmes and services are informed by the best available evidence as to what does and doesn’t work. We invest significantly in research undertaken directly by our own statisticians and analysts and in commissioning evaluations from bodies such as the ESRI and Indecon. In this latest evaluation, completed in association with the OECD, we sought to answer two main questions: First, does participation in JobPath improve employment outcomes? Second, does it improve earnings? We were particularly interested in the second question because some commentators have suggested that employment services such as JobPath only succeed in moving people into minimum wage jobs. The evaluation, completed in association with the OECD, shows clearly that JobPath improves both employment outcomes and earnings. This is a very welcome outcome.”

As well as this initial report, an OECD working paper will be published later this year. This OECD working paper will include additional outcomes and further analysis on the impact of JobPath.

Welcoming the publication of the working paper, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD emphasised:

“I welcome the positive impacts recorded in this evaluation and the clear evidence in the report that JobPath not only helps people to secure employment but to also gain better paying jobs.

“JobPath is only one of our approaches to helping people back to work – alongside the valuable work being carried out by Local Employment Services, Jobs Clubs and my own Department’s Intreo services. Given the complexity of challenges to those seeking work and the fact that there is a great variety of jobseekers, a multi-strand approach like this is necessary.
“Today’s evaluation tells us that the JobPath leg of the stool is sturdy in the same way that the recent Indecon study demonstrated the value of the Local Employment Services and Jobs Clubs. These reports will all feed into our deliberations as we seek to build on the current multi-strand approach to deliver a job activation approach that works for all types of jobseeker.”

The full evaluation report can be accessed here.

The most recent customer satisfaction survey results can be accessed here.

Note for the Information of Editors:


JobPath is a contracted employment advisory service. Under JobPath, operated on behalf of the Department by two contracted service providers, people who are long-term unemployed receive a one-to-one case management service offering them employment counselling and advice including CV development, job search assistance, interview techniques and preparation, and short-duration job-specific skills training. They also have continued access to their case-worker once they enter into employment. The contractors – Turas Nua and Seetec – employ over 600 people nationwide in providing the service and are paid on the basis of employment outcomes achieved.
To date, over 213,000 people have availed of the JobPath service at an average cost per person of €797. Of these people over 48,000 have secured employment. Customer satisfaction research commissioned by the Department and published at indicates that people who use the service rate it highly. The service scores an average of 4.15 on a scale of 1 – 5, with a score of 4.23 out of 5 on the question of whether participants agree it has improved their prospects of securing employment.

Econometric Evaluations

One of the difficulties in assessing the effectiveness of any programme or service is to measure its impact independently of all other factors that may influence outcomes.
In order to do this, economists and other researchers, including the Department’s Statistics and Business Intelligence unit, use advanced econometric techniques to assign people into control groups and treatment groups and then evaluate outcomes. This enables the differential impact of services and programmes to be measured on a like for like basis.

In this study a comprehensive dataset of jobseekers was compiled (based on factors such as age, prior work history and earnings, duration of unemployment) and the two groups – people who participated in JobPath and those who did not – are weighted to ensure they are balanced in terms of the most important characteristics. This stage uses logistic regression and inverse probability of treatment weighting techniques.
Separately, similar data are used to group similar jobseekers into clusters, calculating the optimal number of clusters so that each cluster is, to the greatest extent possible, internally consistent and distinct from all other clusters. The clusters are useful for the interpretation of the JobPath results to make sure the programme really does benefit everyone and nobody is left behind.

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Last modified:11/04/2019