Varieties of digitalisation? A comparison of employment services digitalisation in the UK and Australia

Jo Ingold, Chris Forde and David Robertshaw (2024), Australian Journal of Social Science

This article examines the digitalisation of employment services in the UK and Australia, countries that have been on similar policy trajectories with respect to the development of quasi-markets and increased digitalisation. The article deploys comparative mixed methods comprising surveys of employment service providers and interviews with providers and technology developers in both countries to analyse the extent of, forms and challenges around digitalisation across both countries. The survey data analysis suggested considerable similarities in the UK and Australia regarding the drivers of digitalisation and the tasks which were digitalised. However, the interview data highlighted some differences between the two countries, including the persistence of face-to-face delivery in the UK compared with accelerated digitalisation in Australia. In both countries, there were clear differing motivations between stakeholder communities (policymakers and developers), which providers had to negotiate.

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