Active labour market policy (ALMP) is a well-established strategy but one aspect is greatly neglected - employer participation, about which there is a lack of systematic evidence. The question of why and how employers participate in ALMP, and whether there may be some shift from employers solely being passive recipients of job-ready candidates to having a more proactive and strategic role, is addressed by drawing on new research into Talent Match, a contemporary UK employability programme which places particular emphasis on employer involvement. The research findings point to a conceptual distinction between employers’ roles as being reactive gatekeepers to jobs and/or proactive strategic partners, with both evident. It is argued that the Talent Match programme demonstrates potential to benefit employers, jobseekers and programme providers, with devolution of policy to the local level a possible way forward. The conclusion, however, is the barrier to wider replication is not necessarily a problem of practice but of centralised control of policy and in particular, commitment to a supply-side approach. Empirical, conceptual and policy contributions are made to this under-researched topic.
- active labour market policy; employers; employer behaviour; employability; NEETs