Since the inception of the European Employment Strategy in 1997, individualized employment support has been a key priority of the European Union and its Member States. Nevertheless, empirical research on the delivery of individualized services for the unemployed is still underdeveloped. In this article, we explore how local employment agencies in three European cities tailor counselling and services to jobseekers’ individual needs. We find that limited service budgets and underdeveloped organizational interfaces with social service providers tend to constrain the substantive individualization of services in practice, which works in the disfavour of vulnerable jobseekers. Individualized counselling is more widespread, at least for selected target groups. However, organizational capacities for offering individualized problem assessment and advice vary considerably across “worlds of individualization” in Europe.
- Social policy
- Social security administration
- United Kingdom