Unemployment, Vacancies and the North South Divide

Neil ofthe nene

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Headline in a paper today that there are 1.66 million job vacancies. The best figure I can find for the number of people unemployed is from a BBC story in May

"In April 2021 there were 2.6 million seeking either Jobseeker's Allowance or universal credit because they were "searching for work". This compares with 1.4 million in March 2020, before the pandemic began to take effect."

I have also watched a couple of "Undercover Big Boss" programmes where the sites for best recruitment and retention rates in a manual or low skilled business was in the north east. These facts therefore get me thinking.

First, are people in the south unwilling to take on manual or physically demanding work? Do they see themselves as being above doing such work. Are southerners more workshy? Or dare I say it, softies?

Second, does our benefit system make it too easy to refuse jobs and still claim benefits? What would happen if claimants, who are fit to work, turned down X number of jobs and as a consequence were denied benefits?

Third, have we (or successive governments) placed too much emphasis on academic qualifications thus making youngsters believe they should only be doing comfortable, office/indoor jobs that involve little physical effort or discomfort?

Fourth, the country obviously needs lorry drivers, who should take the responsibity of training, and paying for that training: the person, the employer or the government?

I have no issue with helping people through the benefit system who, through circumstances or ill health, find themselvesd in financial need. I am chairman of a charity committee that makes cash grants to people in those circumstances. But it should not be a free ride for the workshy or those that think manual work beneath them. How do we break the cycle of reliance on the system or abuse of it?

How do we get people into the vacancies that clearly exist?
 

david white

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Headline in a paper today that there are 1.66 million job vacancies. The best figure I can find for the number of people unemployed is from a BBC story in May

"In April 2021 there were 2.6 million seeking either Jobseeker's Allowance or universal credit because they were "searching for work". This compares with 1.4 million in March 2020, before the pandemic began to take effect."

I have also watched a couple of "Undercover Big Boss" programmes where the sites for best recruitment and retention rates in a manual or low skilled business was in the north east. These facts therefore get me thinking.

First, are people in the south unwilling to take on manual or physically demanding work? Do they see themselves as being above doing such work. Are southerners more workshy? Or dare I say it, softies?

Second, does our benefit system make it too easy to refuse jobs and still claim benefits? What would happen if claimants, who are fit to work, turned down X number of jobs and as a consequence were denied benefits?

Third, have we (or successive governments) placed too much emphasis on academic qualifications thus making youngsters believe they should only be doing comfortable, office/indoor jobs that involve little physical effort or discomfort?

Fourth, the country obviously needs lorry drivers, who should take the responsibity of training, and paying for that training: the person, the employer or the government?

I have no issue with helping people through the benefit system who, through circumstances or ill health, find themselvesd in financial need. I am chairman of a charity committee that makes cash grants to people in those circumstances. But it should not be a free ride for the workshy or those that think manual work beneath them. How do we break the cycle of reliance on the system or abuse of it?

How do we get people into the vacancies that clearly exist?
Time to educate the long termed skivers and more importantly their offspring that tossing it off on the state isn’t a given right
Time to slap down the thousands of twats out there that believe those that choose not to work and therefore choose not to contribute back into the system have equal rights
 

Zerkalo

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I know people who live in London who do low paid work and are lucky enough to have a 'parents' house to stay in as their choice of accommodation is severely limited by low paid work and they want something that pays more. I would not be surprised if there's a lot of areas, small sized former industrial towns, where there is a lower concentration of vacancies than somewhere down South, but people can live easier on the low wages.
 

Reuben

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Interesting points, Neil. For me, no-one should be in a better financial situation claiming benefits whilst able to work than someone knocking their pan in for minimum wage.
The whole school qualification thing now is a farce imo. As someone who did quite a lot of recruitment, the number of ‘A’s a candidate had was of little value - same with ‘generic’ degrees.
 

NoCarpPlease

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First, are people in the south unwilling to take on manual or physically demanding work? Do they see themselves as being above doing such work. Are southerners more workshy? Or dare I say it, softies?
1. I don't see any difference in attitude to work by geography that can be ascribed to culture, tradition or suchlike. There are cohorts in every area that are more willing and able to undertake physically demanding work, just as much as there are workshy chancers everywhere, to some extent.
Second, does our benefit system make it too easy to refuse jobs and still claim benefits? What would happen if claimants, who are fit to work, turned down X number of jobs and as a consequence were denied benefits?
2. Speaking as an employer - there is a cohort of the population that I'd not let anywhere near a workplace (of any sort) ... they are literally unemployable. Thankfully the numbers are actually tiny. There are many more for whom it is difficult to find work because they are located in the wrong place, for example ... or maybe transport cost to that workplace wipes out the wage difference compered to benefits?? As zerkalo pointed out - there are now other barriers in place to "just getting on your bike".
Third, have we (or successive governments) placed too much emphasis on academic qualifications thus making youngsters believe they should only be doing comfortable, office/indoor jobs that involve little physical effort or discomfort?
3. I'm not convinced that the % of academic qualifications at degree level really shifted that much ... it was just that Polys turned in to Unis, still turning out the same degrees. I have no problem with aspiring to maximise the knowledge economy - but shutting off the taps on free movement with no / little mitigation was always going to result in problems.
Fourth, the country obviously needs lorry drivers, who should take the responsibity of training, and paying for that training: the person, the employer or the government?
4. Combination of all of those - plus the wider public attitude towards HGV drivers that has made their jobs less attractive to new entrants (avg age is 55).
 

Wrongfoot

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Headline in a paper today that there are 1.66 million job vacancies. The best figure I can find for the number of people unemployed is from a BBC story in May

"In April 2021 there were 2.6 million seeking either Jobseeker's Allowance or universal credit because they were "searching for work". This compares with 1.4 million in March 2020, before the pandemic began to take effect."
Are the jobs located where the unemployed people are? Are they profitable if you need to travel and board? Can those claiming UC afford to move? Will moving break their family up or cause another earner to lose their job? Are the distant vacancies fixed term or gig work?

These things are why there's always a difference between vacancies and take up.

Also can you trust the assumptions behind the statistics? Or even that they are correct?
 

bryan white

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Up take of employment can be far from beneficial.
When I started as a postman 15 years ago after 6 months of unemployment after being made redundant, I lost £80 per week from different claimable benefits..simply, not being work shy did not do me any favours.
My own opinion on how to proceed forward would be for benefit payments to subsidise new workers to what they received while looking for work ..at least for a small time
You tend to start on a lower payment rate as a new starter.
One thing that has to be changed is employment contracts, job for life is long gone, employers are now taking advantage and offering short 6 month contracts at a time.
To protect jobs, some future stability for the employed is in desperate need, why would you put yourself out today in the workplace when sitting back, attending interviews which your not likely to get is the only sensible course of action, especially if any offspring or mortgage/rent payments are the priority.
A re think for the future is required
 

pies

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I quite like the American system, although i dont know the finer points. Basically if your fit to work but unemployed you can only claim unemployment benefits for a short term. 3 months i think. Then you must get a job for a period of time before you can claim again.
 

solwood

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I live in Surrey,

Renting a room is £800 pm
Our council tax is £300 a month

Shops struggle to recruit at minimum or living wage Because lack of affordable social rented housing, inability to buy a home on that salary. You simply can't afford to work.

As to benefits the issue isn't their generous nature its the punative element that doesn't encourage and enable work.

Person can't risk irregular shifts as Benefits doesn't allow changes in income as you need to be reapply and it can lead to debt

Link it all to tax, with national minimum income, when you work you lose 50p in the £1 of the minimum income, adjusted through tax

Incentive to work, no worrying cliff edge if job doesn't work out

Unified credit could have done this sadly it doesn't .
 

pies

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I live in Surrey,

Renting a room is £800 pm
Our council tax is £300 a month

Shops struggle to recruit at minimum or living wage Because lack of affordable social rented housing, inability to buy a home on that salary.
So if shops cant employ people on minimum wage who are they employing ?
 

Arry

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I always said setting a minimum wage would stop firms paying the proper going rate for a job... with the influx of foreign workers prepared to do the job for that money, firms have resisted the notion of pay rises, citing the age old mantra... "you're getting the going rate", what more do you want?" Problem is govt minimum is no longer "the going rate" for many roles and firms don't wanna pay the true rate, hence can't get staff...

The other fly in the ointment is firms expect staff to work ridiculous hours for minimum wage... retail being a prime example... workers are expected to poke up with zero hours contracts yet be at the beck and call of their employer who sets their hours then drops them when not needed... my trolly dolly mate works on average 20 hours a week, then another 30 hours O/T for flat rate just to survive and he's on a zero hours gig, he gets bugger all pension on a zero hours job from his employers... 1 measly %
 
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pies

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I always said setting a minimum wage would stop firms paying the proper going rate for a job... with the influx of foreign workers prepared to do the job for that money, firms have resisted the notion of pay rises, citing the age old mantra... "you're getting the going rate", what more do you want?" Problem is govt minimum is no longer "the going rate" for many roles and firms don't wanna pay the true rate, hence can't get staff...
The issue has been building up for years. Now companies have an issue to sort out. When they needed labour they just hired cheap overseas labour. No intrest in training staff or paying and treating them with respect. Well the chickens are coming homebto roost and not in a lorry 🙂
 

Arry

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Naaah the real start of it was the minimum wage... gave employers cart blanche not to pay the real going rate for a job
 

TrickyD

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Saw a Romanian HGV driver on the news, he wouldn't come back to the UK now as he earns more at home. Firms need to pay more, we need to pay more for goods and services, it's the only way wages will rise.
 

cameraman

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Sky had been looking for a cable layer for six months. The job involves setting out cables on outside broadcasts for cameras, sound etc. Miles of the stuff (Fishomania had 12 miles) and mostly working on sport. Full training supplied and 40k per year. Obviously working away from home. No one applied until last week when they took on a retired 60 year old who was bored and keen to work.
 

davylad

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A lot of out of work people can't afford to get a job, ridiculous as it may be.
 

OldTaff

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Transport cost and availability is a massive barrier to many people attempting to get off benefits and into work that pays the minimum / working wage.

Without my car I can only get to work on time for a 6am shift by bicycle on a physically demanding cross country ride that takes 35mins, main road route realistically adds 10-15mins onto that on perilous A roads.

In my company there are 4 (including me) fully qualified Class 1 HGV drivers with valid CPC cards - none of us are on the lorries because we get comparable money in the warehouse & mill but without the dramas of unpredictable hours, traffic, no parking for breaks, lack of toilet facilities, having to do 4am starts, night work, constantly worrying about staying inside driver hours and working time directive, etc……

Money has suddenly jumped up in the last couple of months as the shortage is biting hard but conditions haven’t and that’s why drivers aren’t flocking back into the industry.

Zero hours contracts are effectively a form of modern servitude and slavery and should be abolished
 

Zerkalo

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I'm on UC despite being self employed. It means that I get less UC the more I earn, so it reaches a point where I'm working for nothing. I did get called in and them saying I'm not earning enough and they needed to review my benefits, meaning they were trying to stop them, but as I have a medical condition it means they can put me through the system for another year without regular meetings. After that, I think they will either stop my claim or I'll have to go in monthly to discuss why I'm not earning enough.

So the impression I get is that you have to 'prove' you're looking for work or have good reasons not to in order to claim UC. UC on its own is not very much and I'd imagine a lot of people on it require housing benefits and other assistance. There will be a lot of people who play the system, as much as those who don't.

Just playing devils advocate here though, mate in London for example, he teaches English, his wife is an Au Pair, and they struggle to live without benefits for their kids and living at her parents old house. Other mates on higher wages do alright, but if they can't afford to live, and they're not dossers, scroungers, layabouts and overspenders, then what has gone on with the cost of housing and living especially in London?

Then there's all the touristy places that depend on the service sector, for example nieces and nephews who live in the Isle of Wight, when tourism takes a hit so do their jobs. COVID probably effected the service sector in those places quite a bit.
 

Zerkalo

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When I worked for a bank that specialised in Mortgages for the Buy to Let market. I worked in the Property Management section managing properties in receivership, where the landlord had defaulted on his buy to let mortgage. I was surprised that most of the tenants were foreign nationals and their rent was paid through housing benefits. It seemed to me a money loop to me, direct from the taxpayer to the bank.
 

62tucker

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Seaside resort near me. Every shop. Pub. Chip shop etc advertising for staff. Main Reason.
No affordable houses for local people.
A lot of houses that come on market are bought by the rich for 2nd homes or for investments.
So the young end up moving to the bigger city areas.
Thing is. Without locals to run the local business there will be no seaside town left for the tourists to enjoy
They even have started a Petition
 
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