It’s time to sharpen our teeth. For those fortunate enough to be in employment, now more than ever we’re looking over our shoulders. With the consistently bleak news from the employment market, coupled with little to no economic growth in the last year, there’s a distinct smell of blood in the air. In the last quarter the number of people in employment aged 16 and over fell by 69,000 to 29.09 million (Office for National Statistics) with the job market expected to relapse this year. Ahead of this quarters employment statistics (released Wednesday) there is already going to be a ‘spike’ in redundancies as over half the public sector and nearly a third of the private sector prepare to axe jobs.
It’s a time of great uncertainty for the unemployed, it’s also a time of great paranoia for those in work. The idea of ‘job’s for life’ is so distant it seems like a fairy tale. With companies still trying to achieve profits in an economy of stagnation naturally they are looking to all ways in which to tighten the belt. Reasonable from a macroscopic point of view, make cuts where possible and increase efficiency of what you cannot lose. Make the bastards work for their money, and if they have a problem or are not up to scratch, there is a whole starving pack of wolves at the door ready to work their little wolf-balls off for their keep.
So let us sharpen our teeth and get a good grip on what little piece of the pie we can hold onto, and hold onto it tight. Competition is fierce for what little there is out there and with the predicted spending cuts it’s looking to get worse. Companies know this and are using it to their advantage by working their existing employees even harder for the same, or even less money. Again, it makes business sense. However, the effect on the individual is less positive. Young people seem to be the worst to suffer out of this with unemployment rates of graduates doubling in the last quarter and around three-quarters of a million 18-24 year olds out of work.
The effect it has on those in the unskilled labour market is an overabundance of people trained in other areas, such as graduates and those soon-to-be redundant, being forced to take what they can to pay the bills and working longer and harder to make ends meet. This in turn will affect the rate of national growth as those people will have even less disposable income while forcing others into further poverty. All in the name of protecting the projected profits and increasing company growth.
It seems grim to say the least. With a government focused more on bailing the banks out rather than focusing on its own countries employment problem you could be forgiven for thinking this coalition has turned it’s back on us somewhat, but you’d be wrong. As of April this year the government will release a national well-being survey to households to asses how the nation is coping from an individual level; a survey existing to tell the nation what it already knows. To what extent this information will be implemented practically is ambiguous, if it’s applied at all. A debate currently exists to define the ‘key points’ on health, income, levels of education and other issues that make up the nation’s ‘well-being’. Join the debate now at http://www.ons.gov.uk/well-being and vent to our sympathetic leaders, for all it’s worth.