“All the economic data suggest high demand for flexible jobs” – Let’s look at the Germans for job market inspiration.
An article in the Telegraph sparked me to think further on the issue of Terms and Conditions, job protection and job creation in the public sector, something that Dew Cadre is passionate about. Germany developed a strategy years ago that I have seen first-hand that presented a dynamic and radical alternative to their employment challenges and maybe there’s something the UK could learn from this? -John Dew of Dew Cadre Change Associates Ltd
“…every jobs market needs a ladder and, at present, the bottom rungs of that ladder have been sawn off by a welfare state that has trapped the people it was designed to help. The waste of taxpayers’ money is as nothing compared to the waste of human potential. This is a problem that mini-jobs could remedy.” - Fraser Nelson, The Telegraph
Britain’s job market needs fixing!!! Our over-reliance upon government job-creation schemes and Keynesian ‘pump-priming’ economics simply isn’t working. The Government needs to urgently double its efforts to free-up the market by doing all it can to help all sectors generate jobs and to make it worthwhile for people to get off benefits and become economically productive. That demands: less red tape; employer and employee flexibility; tax incentives for lower paid workers; and a different mind-set in the UK when we think about “employment”.
We need to shift the National Psyche away from our fixation with, and addiction to, full-time employment and a single career for life! We need to free-up the market place and offer much greater flexibility and opportunity to employers and those seeking work.
In Germany they have a concept of “mini jobs” where individuals can have as many mini jobs as they like, earn up to 400 euros tax free, and employers are allowed to start and end those jobs at will. What this initiative creates is an incentive for people to get off state benefits and creates a highly agile jobs market. Exactly the type of idea we need to help stimulate economic activity. It gives people choices and options that simply aren’t there in our current employment model and tax regime. This is just one example of alternative options that work in other countries that we haven’t got here in the UK.
Whenever I have discussed this with people the first thing they say is European employment law will prevent it. “Nonsense I reply… if Germany has had this initiative for years helping to create a highly agile workforce and jobs market why can’t we! If we are serious about economic recovery… this along with other changes to our employment model must happen… and soon”.
What has this got to do with the Public Sector? The answer is… it has everything to do with the Public Sector. As one of our largest employment sectors (employing over 24% of the UK workforce) at a time when we need to reduce costs and deliver more for the Nation, the exploration of more flexible employment approaches must be considered especially as we face further drastic cuts in the next few years and greater demand for services.
We urgently need to consider alternative employment models that spread the massive socio-economic benefits of public sector employment. We need to maximise the socio-economic impact of state funded employment and spread the positive benefits far more widely in order to:
- Keep as many people employed and off-benefits as possible;
- Protect as many homes and families as possible;
- Keep as many people contributing their talent, skills, and effort in support of the Nation’s recovery rather than being an inactive drain upon it; and
- Avoid the costly downstream socio-economic adverse effects on our health, social services, and criminal justice systems caused through unemployment (including divorce family break-up, depression and social unrest).
In order to do so requires our leaders to urgently explore alternative ways of engaging and employing human resource across our public services. With the Public Sector Net Debt rising by over £28bn in the last 12 months we simply cannot afford our existing employment model and our pay bill is simply unsustainable. The reality is we are currently borrowing (getting deeper into debt) just to keep the status quo of current employment models. In the not too distant future (and I’m talking months rather than years!)… it will have to stop. We have no choice, we simply have to look at employment and remuneration in a different way.