Jobs of the Future

Recent employment figures have been positive and highlight the trend of rising employment across all sectors. But do the figures tell the whole story?

A thriving economy

Even though the economy is creating jobs in abundance many workers feel unhappy about the positions that are available as the quality of jobs disappoints.

Many of the jobs that have been created in recent years are in low paid categories causing a situation where people are working for little reward with few long-term prospects.

The situation has evolved to become a significant concern for government as it is changing the nature of work.

The new digital economy is blamed for an increase in self-employment as people work on contracts with companies like Uber and Deliveroo.

But there is a bigger problem with more traditional companies as they introduce part-time, zero-hours, and low-paid contracts to reduce costs.

Self-employment too has increased in the last decade, which is welcomed and praised in equal measure although there is a dark side to such a shift.

It stems from a lack of support for those in self-employment as they are exposed to insecurity of employment, low-pay, no sick pay and a dearth of pension entitlements.

Shifting sands

In the new economy significant costs are shifting from employer to employee, which increases profit for the former and increased costs for the latter.

While businesses and the economy are benefitting society is not, as it splits between those with secure well-paid jobs and those without.

Any beneficial results of such changing patterns of employment will be short-term, as the changes are unsustainable economically and undesirable socially.

Work has always been seen as a way to alleviate poverty and build a life based on true grit and graft but today’s work guarantees no such outcome.

It also, ironically, causes problems for government as it creates a gap in the revenue it needs to collect.

The issue is under review, which is a step in the right direction but low paid jobs are endemic in parts of the economy and are difficult to address.

Many businesses have changed their operating models since the financial crash and are unlikely to revert to models more costly than their competitions.

And so it seems low-paid, insecure jobs will remain attractive to employers, while having a negative effect on workers and their families.

There is some hope, however, as the scale of the problem is of such significance that it can’t be ignored for too long.

So, unemployment levels are at historic lows but there is a pressing need to find answers for those in low paid and insecure jobs.