The chief executive of the Work Foundation has urged UK firms to reconsider their approach to applicants who have endured long-term unemployment, claiming many find themselves unfairly stigmatised.

Stephen Overell criticised employers for harbouring suspicion towards the unemployed and pointed out that job seekers come from a wide variety of different backgrounds and cannot be lumped into one homogenous group.

“Massive generalisations on the unemployed are first of all unfair and secondly highly impractical,” he explained. “The longer you are unemployed, the harder it is to get back into the labour market.”

Mr Overell added that it remains unclear just what the short-term future holds for the British jobs market, but acknowledged that the level of adults out of work appears likely to increase “substantially” over the next few months.

Last month, the Office for National Statistics revealed that the employment rate declined by 0.1 per cent in the third quarter of last year – the first drop since the three months to April 2010.

Posted by Cameron Thomson