Trying to register with Universal Jobmatch – a nightmare process that needs to be completely overhauled

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This week I helped somebody to register with Universal Jobmatch. Universal Jobmatch is the online service where you can search and apply for jobs and if you create an account this enables you to allow DWP (ie. the Jobcentre) to see your job seeking activity. We were only able to register on the site because I have been working with computers and the internet for years and I am au fait with registration processes online.

The current system is almost impossible to use if:

  • your literacy skills are low
  • you are underconfident in using computers
  • you do not have easy access to a computer or laptop

I registered someone this week and once the account was created I said ‘do you have a smartphone?’ This person did. So I said ‘great, let’s download the Universal Jobmatch app as I know you don’t have access to a computer at home’. I went on the app store (she had an iPhone) – there is no app. A bit disappointing. My next move, however, was to try and look up the site on her phone with her so that she could be searching for and applying for jobs on her phone when she got home. To my horror, the Universal Jobmatch site does not have a mobile version. This blog you are reading this on does – if you’re reading this on a phone it should be easy to read and navigate. Why on earth doesn’t the Universal Jobmatch site have a mobile version given that the vast majority of job seekers on benefits do not have a PC but do have a smartphone?

I wanted to reproduce the process here to highlight how important it is that this essential service is overhauled to become as user friendly as other government websites such as NHS Choices.

This was a tiresome process for someone with good computer skills like mine. It feels almost as if this system was created deliberately to put people off wanting to search for work. If the government want to encourage people into work the very least they could do and, for not very much money, would be to create a more user-friendly website in plain English that includes a mobile version.

Here are a series of screenshots from my Nokia Lumia phone showing how I tried to register with Universal Jobmatch on a phone.

Step 1: Google ‘Universal Jobmatch’ and navigate to the site

wp_ss_20150822_0003

So far, so good, nice clear mobile site.

Step 2: Login to register

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Note that the ‘new user, register here’ button is obscured. I managed to click on it which took me to:

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Note here that there is no reference to Universal Jobmatch but I realised that I needed to create a Government Gateway account. Also note that it is a very bare bones registration page that is not friendly at all, very much in computer-speak.

Step 3: Register with Government Gateway

 

wp_ss_20150822_0008You have to jot down this almost impossible to remember number as there seems to be no way of retrieving it again easily after you navigate away from this page. It is really unclear what this number is or what you need it for.

Step 4: verify your account

After creating your Government Gateway account you must click on a link in an email sent to you. This is the email I received after registering verbatim:

You recently specified an email address to be verified against your Government Gateway account.  In order to complete the email verification process, please click on the link below or paste the link into your browser address bar.  The verification link will expire on 05/09/2015 09:13.

If you do not complete your email verification before the verification link expires, you will need to login to the Government Gateway, go to the Your account section and re-request verification of your email address.https://myaccount.gateway.gov.uk/Pages/EmailVerification/Activate.aspx?gwv=1.0&gwrealm=urn:TransformingLabourMarketServices&gwlang=en-GB&gwtheme=directgov&gwreply=http://jobsearch.direct.gov.uk&code=2A85392754A24E17ADD8068418C0FD84

If you did not register for a new Government Gateway account or request verification of the email address associated with your existing Government Gateway account, please click on the link below or paste the link into your browser address bar.  The verification removal link will expire on 05/09/2015 09:13.

https://myaccount.gateway.gov.uk/Pages/EmailVerification/Misuse.aspx?gwv=1.0&gwrealm=urn:TransformingLabourMarketServices&gwlang=en-GB&gwtheme=directgov&gwreply=http://jobsearch.direct.gov.uk&code=2A85392754A24E17ADD8068418C0FD84

This is an automatically generated email. Please do not reply as the email address is not monitored for received mail.

To someone who doesn’t generally use the internet, this reads like gobbledegook. Because I have registered on numerous sites, I knew to click on the first link. I knew that if I didn’t I wouldn’t be able to login to Universal Jobmatch. Would you have known that?

Step 5: Login to Universal Jobmatch

 

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So to login I needed my Government Gateway User ID or GG number (as it had been described) – so I typed this in along with the complex 8 character password I had created. Then I clicked on login after pinching the screen so that I could read it clearly.

This was the next page:

wp_ss_20150822_0015

I almost lost the will to live trying to complete this form having to pinch the screen so that I could see the boxes to type in my details.

I call for DWP to overhaul this website as a matter of urgency to enable people to find and get work. Currently the cards are stacked very much against those who are motivated to find work, let alone those who need to be encouraged.

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7 thoughts on “Trying to register with Universal Jobmatch – a nightmare process that needs to be completely overhauled

  1. Karen Lambton

    Bryony, thank goodness you were there to one individual with this very time taking, difficult, exasperating process. I began to follow your information ( I feel average in computer knowledge) but lost concentration and the will to live whilst following this process so how someone with literacy problems or inadequate basic computer skills would manage is beyond me!
    DWP – please get real and update your site so people may access with ease.

    Like

  2. Crikey, I fully sympathise with you on that. The number of times I’ve helped people through simple stuff online (like getting into their own emails), there’s no way a large number of people would manage to cope with something like this. I think this is another thing that could be used to support the argument that the government are penalising the poor and underprivileged.

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  3. Aidan Jackson

    Hi Bryony. Once you have registered finding a job using the system is just as difficult unless you understand how job search systems work. At least they do not use SIC/SOC codes anymore (they were in 2011) which are only known to a very few people. Finding temporary or part time work is really difficult on it. Most of the jobs are with agencies.
    What worries me is that regularly despite all this the DWP has abetter record of getting people jobs than the work programme!

    Like

  4. John Leary

    With regards to the above subject, i have been out of work now for two months [previously employed for 5 + years]
    i am signing on to JSA and on the three occasions i feel pressured into logging my Job Search Evidence into this site.
    Is it not evident this site is faulty, how does the DWP justify their attitude ?
    Please
    John Leary

    Like

  5. Leigh Cooper

    Hi Briony. I found myself out of work last week so I went online and registered for JSA. The site was lumpy and slow but I got there in the end.

    I went for my initial meeting at my local job centre today and having bitten my tongue several times at the civil servant’s lack of understanding of the low ebb you’re at when having so sign on she told me I have to use their jobmatch farce every day. I’ve signed on before and tried their site several times but I find it very hard to navigate and it is filled almost entirely in my experience with jobs posted by agencies. She disagreed but whenever I’ve looked at jobs that suit my experience (sales & appointment setting) it is nothing but agencies advertising.

    She blindly denied the faults with their site several times and I was so angry that she couldn’t see any fault in their search site I left without finishing the claim. My urge to kill has been rising ever since so I’ve been looking online for other people’s experiences and I was excited to find your page.

    Mine isn’t so much an issue with the registration process but the fact that others have issues at various stages of the signing on ordeal I’m starting to calm down!

    Or is it just me that would rather use sites like Indeed which has an app and some direct advertisements from employers amongst the agency adverts?

    Like

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