Social Security Experience Panels: agency recruitment

This report considers views on recruitment processes, perceptions of the Civil Service and how recruitment can be made more accessible.

Looking for jobs

Social Security Scotland want to make sure that people who have lived experience of the social security system feel able to apply for jobs within Social Security Scotland, allowing the agency to benefit from their experience and skills. As part of this, we wanted to understand how they can make the recruitment process more accessible to people with disabilities, caring responsibilities and long term health conditions.

As a first step in understanding how the recruitment process could be improved, we spoke to Experience Panel members about their past experiences of looking for jobs and whether they had encountered any barriers whilst doing so.

Previous experience of looking for jobs

Over nine in ten survey respondents had experience of applying for a job at some point (92 per cent), with just under a third having applied for a job within the last five years (31 per cent).

Table 9: Survey respondent experience of looking for jobs (n=167)

Experience of looking for jobs %
I have experience applying for jobs 31
I have experience of applying for jobs, but I have not applied in the last 5 years 61
I do not have experience of applying for jobs 8
Total 100

Respondents who had experience of looking for a job were asked where they had looked in the past. The most common methods tended to involve looking online – for example, looking at recruitment websites (68 per cent) and looking directly on the websites of specific organisations (57 per cent).

Offline methods were still popular, with over two thirds of respondents (67 per cent) having visited a JobCentre Plus to look for work. Other offline methods used by survey respondents included asking friends or family for recommendations (48 per cent), looking in newspapers (43 per cent) and volunteering (36 per cent). The other methods of looking for a job, such as going to a jobs fair or approaching a recruitment agency or careers advisor were used by less than one in five respondents.

Table 10: Where survey respondents looked for jobs (n=66-69)

Where %
Recruitment websites 68
JobCentre Plus 67
Organisation-specific website 57
Recommendations from family and friends 48
Newspapers 43
Volunteering 36
Through an apprenticeship, internship or temping 19
Through a recruitment agency or careers advisor 18
Window adverts 18
Through a support organisation 15
At a jobs fair 14

We asked survey respondents who told us they had looked online what websites they had visited. In total, respondents mentioned 36 unique websites a total of 111 times. Websites were grouped into the categories below by the researcher.

Table 11: Types of website used

Website Mentions
Online recruitment aggregators (such as S1 Jobs or 67
Private organisation-specific websites 16
Public sector job websites (such as Work For Scotland, NHS Scotland Jobs and Civil Service Jobs)[9] 13
Universal Job Match (DWP) 9
Third sector organisation websites 3
Non-typical job websites (such as Facebook) 2
Professional networking site (LinkedIn) 1

Awareness of existing agency recruitment

In order to find out who had been reached by previous Social Security Scotland recruitment drives, we asked survey respondents whether they were aware if the agency had been recruiting staff over the past few months.

A quarter of survey respondents (25 per cent) said they had heard about Social Security Scotland's recruitment, with three quarters (75 per cent) saying they had not.

Respondents who had heard about the agency's recuitment primarily found out about this online, such as through the Scottish Government's website (50 per cent), news websites (27 per cent) or through Social Security Scotland's website (17 per cent). A small number of respondents found out about agency recruitment through friends and family (17 per cent), newspaper advertisements (16 per cent) or search engines (14 per cent).

Table 12: Where respondents heard about previous agency recruitment (n=130-132)

Where respondents heard about previous agency recruitment %
On the Scottish Government website 50
On a news website 27
On Social Security Scotland's website 17
Through family and friends 17
In a newspaper 16
Using a search engine 14

When asked where they would expect future Social Security Scotland jobs to be advertised, survey respondents gave a wide range of suggestions, grouped into the categories below by the researcher.

Table 13: Where should agency jobs be advertised in future

Where respondents want agency jobs advertised in future %
Other types of advertising – billboards, on public transport, etc. 13
On social media 11
Through third sector organisations 7
Local and national newspapers 7
In schools, colleges and universities 7
On public sector job websites 6
In medical venues 3
At JobCentre Plus 2
At job fairs 2
On the Social Security Scotland website 1
On professional networking websites (such as LinkedIn) 1


Email: James.Miller@gov.Scot

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