An investigation by Channel 4 News finds that as many as one-in-three jobs now advertised on the government’s Universal Jobmatch website are suspect.
Of nearly 600,000 positions currently available, 118,000 are actually adverts for the Kleeneze door-to-door catalogue franchise while another 95,000 have duplicated job descriptions, writes Ed Howker.
In the last year, one job description has appeared on the site 3,106 times.
Since March 2013 use of the Universal Jobmatch site has normally been mandatory for all Jobseekers Allowance claimants but, in recent weeks, concerns has grown about the quality of the site’s adverts.
In February Channel 4 News found that 1 in 50 of the positions available had been posted by a Baptist deacon in Coventry who was unable to prove that they were real.
Yesterday, the former Welfare Reform Minister Frank Field called on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, to “get a grip” on the Jobmatch service which is run by Monster.co.uk for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)
Field said the site was “bedevilled by fraud” and “out of control”.
Multi-level-marketing franchises such as Kleeneze are prohibited under the terms of the Universal Jobmatch site. Their franchise opportunities have sign up fees of £95. Those who pay them get a cut of the catalogue sales they make, but there is no guarantee of income, and no minimum wage.
However, Channel 4 News found that some independent Kleeneze agents described franchise opportunities with the firm as “full-time” or “part-time”. In fact, they are “self-employed” opportunities.
Under the terms of the Universal Jobmatch site, positions must pay the minimum wage.
Recruiting other representatives is central to the Kleeneze business model – which is one reason why established franchise holders may have used the Jobmatch site to find new business partners. These franchise holders are responsible for one in five of the ads on the entire site.
We crack down on those who don’t play by the rules Department of Work and Pensions
Kleeneze told Channel 4 News that it “provides individuals with the opportunity to run their own businesses and, in many cases, get back into work. Individual distributors, not Kleeneze, are responsible for posting their own adverts and we always make clear to them the requirements for any advertisement.
It continued: ” Whenever alerted to any adverts which potentially do not meet guidelines, we review the issue and, if appropriate, have them removed. Neither Kleeneze, nor its parent, has provided any template for advertising on the Jobmatch site as individual distributors are responsible for the posting of their own adverts.
Channel 4 News also contacted the “UK Recruitment Service”, which was responsible for posting an ad for “sales operatives” more than three thousands times, through its website which is registered anonymously though a firm in Arizona. It did not respond.
The DWP told us:
“The vast majority of employers post genuine jobs, and we crack down on those who don’t play by the rules.
We also regularly monitor the site and remove jobs that don’t meet our rules, such as duplicate advertisements and franchise jobs.
“Universal Jobmatch revolutionises the way jobseekers look for work and it has already helped many jobseekers find the jobs they want through the millions of vacancies posted since 2012.
“The vast majority of employers post genuine jobs, and we crack down on those who don’t play by the rules. We also regularly monitor the site and remove jobs that don’t meet our rules, such as duplicate advertisements and franchise jobs.”
Get in touch and share your experiences of using the Universal Jobmatch website by emailing us here.