The long-term unemployed face many barriers to finding work, and the longer they spend without a job, the more negative consequences they will face. They may lose motivation or job skills, they may lose contact with their networks, and there is certainly a stigma attached to being unemployed for a long time.
A recent study in the Netherlands looked at the employability of the long-term unemployed. In this case, employability consisted of four dimensions: adaptability (career exploration, career planning), social capital (the person’s social skills and social network), human capital (experience, training, knowledge, skills), and career identity (work values, motivation to work).
The authors found that employability of the long-term unemployed (specifically, adaptability and career identity) predicted job search intensity. Job search intensity, social capital, human capital, and career identity also predicted reemployment. When participants received an intervention aimed at increasing their employability, they were able to slightly increase their human capital, career identity, and adaptability (but not their social capital).
These results indicate that focusing on the employability of the long-term unemployed may increase their job search intensity and their likelihood of getting a job. It’s not a lost cause. In addition, programs that aim to help find work for the long-term unemployed should consider first assessing the person’s employability.