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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

The Department also includes the iSchool Research Group, which performs leading research into socio-technical phenomena and topics such as information retrieval and information seeking behaviour.

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Unemployment duration and employability in remote rural labour markets

Lindsay, Colin and McCracken, Martin and McQuaid, Ronald (2003) Unemployment duration and employability in remote rural labour markets. Journal of Rural Studies, 19 (2). pp. 187-200. ISSN 0743-0167

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Abstract

This paper analyses the barriers to work faced by long- and short-term unemployed people in remote rural labour markets. Applying a broad concept of ‘employability’ as an analytical framework, it considers the attributes and experiences of 190 job seekers (22% of the registered unemployed) in two contiguous travel-to-work areas (Wick and Sutherland) in the northern Highlands of Scotland. The labour demand side of employability is also considered through interviews with 17 employers. The paper identifies the specific job search and other employment problems faced by unemployed people living in isolated rural communities (labour supply); considers the perspective of employers (labour demand); and discusses potential policies to address the needs of unemployed individuals. Many job seekers were found to have gaps in generic and job-specific skills, whilst some (particularly males) were reluctant to pursue opportunities in non-traditional sectors of the economy. The importance of informal job search and recruitment networks (which may exclude the young and the long-term unemployed) and the lack of access to formal employment services in remote areas also potentially contributed to labour market disadvantage. Holistic and client-centred solutions are required to address the barriers faced by these rural job seekers, including adult basic education provision, flexible training focussing on skills and work experience with particular relevance to the new rural economy, and support services for job seekers in isolated areas. These supply-side policies should be combined with demand-side measures to stimulate endogenous and exogenous growth in isolated local economies.