I AM BORED WITH WRITING THIS ARTICLE, WHICH I THINK IS RUBBISH. I AM LOOKING TO RECRUIT LIKE-MINDED POLICY MAKERS WHO COULD WRITE BETTER INFORMED POLICIES.
It is obvious that in Europe as a whole and in Britain in particular, new wealth creating businesses in computing, consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals and biotechs are underperforming.
There is also a huge mass of highly clever and trained people who are frustrated because they are underused. They may not quite have the skills in demand right now.
Our employment laws are inflexible and do not focus on the real issues.
An employer has to guarantee employees work in the right environment, without damage to their health or risk of injuries. Currently in that sense, there is little that can be said without going into details, of which I am not knowledgeable.
Where the law fails is in underuse of talent. Huge investments have been made in education and we are not ripping the whole profit of such investments.
Too much focus is spent on discrimination. There are definitely some cases where there has been prejudice, slander and abuse against a particular individual and such behaviour should not be tolerated. However, on the other hand, it is often not very clear cut. When a company has to make redundancies, it is absolutely ridiculous for those made redundant that they should waste their energy worrying about discrimination. They would be much better off searching for a new job.
Perhaps, employment law could be reformed so it serves its purpose better?
Modern economies are all skill based. The law ought to be made in such a way as to utilise and improve workforce skills as much as possible.
Currently, some companies will train their staff. Others will simply poach the trained staff. Since they are not investing in training, they can offer higher salaries on top of that. That is not a desirable situation.
Many companies will not recruit you unless you already have exactly the skills they want. They will complain of skill shortage, but in effect are rather rigid and inflexible.
If you train yourself, you will find recruiters will doubt that. There is no way of measuring skills.
In any event, it seems only skills are considered. Personality, attitude to work, team spirit, creativity, communication all seem irrelevant. Yet, skills are only part of any job.
Currently in the UK, if a company cannot find someone with the right skills, they will take someone from abroad. We are living under the belief that we lack talent and we have to take people from another country. At the same time, we are paying benefit to plenty of people who may not be extremely bright, but could certainly earn a living if the environment was right for it.
The unemployment rate of young people in the UK and Europe has reached stratospheric levels. We spend a lot on education for the young and it is absolutely pathetic all we can do is pay benefit or give them jobs which are irrelevant to the skills they have.
In a way, it is wrong taking a skilled, experienced nurse or doctor from Africa, where there is a shortage of such staff and governments struggle to train such people.
If you are disabled, you have to overcome a mountain of prejudice. It would be not much of an exaggeration to talk about apartheid if you are an invalid. In the UK, 70% of blind people are unemployed. There are jobs you can do without being able to see, like being a physiotherapist for instance. It is costly paying benefit to disabled and the current government is cutting down on benefit for such people. They would do rather better facilitating employment for those who aren’t lucky enough to be normal.
For a supposedly skill based economy, that is rather a lot of failings.
Here are a few suggestions to improve the situation:
It is often unfortunate that only your degree results seem to count, irrespective of what course or university you went to. That makes good sense when you have limited work experience, but after 5 years, what should count more is work you have actually done. After 10 years work experience, the result of a degree is not very relevant.
It depends what you do. If you train your mind, that makes a big difference over time.
It would be desirable if the general perception was that what really mattered was the quality and amount of work you did, not your connections and whether you were friends with the right people.
So far, I have looked at only skilled workforce.
We should persist in improving our society and that means an individual has a right and a duty to improve his/her knowledge and skills.
Nevertheless, there will always be people of limited abilities. These people need to be protected. Amongst such protection is a minimum wage. However, we need to be careful there. If the minimum wage is set too high, then unemployment rate is likely to increase. Also, since the minimum wage is fixed, unskilled people won’t understand why their wages haven’t increased if they have got a lot more efficient. We need a more meritocratic and more egalitarian society. Perhaps a solution would be for people to get reverse tax payments called benefits. All salaries below a certain threshold should get benefits. The benefits should be reduced as approach threshold, but should still be there, so it is always advantageous for the worker to be more productive and efficient.
In Germany, meat workers have really been exploited: they are required to work extremely hard for very low salaries. Whereas it is acceptable to pay a minimum salary for a low skilled job with limited expectations of achievement, it is quite outrageous for an employer to pay this minimum wage while at the same time expecting employees, even low skilled ones to work extremely efficiently. Yet that is just what is happening in the meat processing trade in Germany.