Employment: now and the future

This week the Taylor Review of Modern working practices was published. It was good to see that Citizens Advice have been quoted extensively as part of the review. The work of the Review was based on a single overriding ambition: All work in the UK economy should be fair and decent with realistic scope for development and fulfilment. Something I think we can all support.

The report recommends that any self employed worker who is under ‘control’ or ‘supervision’ should be entitled to holiday pay, sick pay and the minimum wage under most circumstances. The review will also call for workers in the gig economy to be categorised under a new term called ‘dependent contractor’. A “gig economy” is a labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.

This report is good news and lets hope the result is improved working conditions and a re-balancing of the relationship between employers and employees. However, there is a bigger issue that does not seem to be on the radar of politicians. The Labour party traditionally represent workers, their recent election successes were based on the slogan; for the many not the few. This is where I think the problem lies; our thinking about jobs and careers is based in traditional employment patterns and services.

So what are the jobs of the future?

Changes in habits, technology, competing markets and the impact of climate change all have an impact on jobs. Our coal industry became too expensive (Polish coal as I recall was the culprit), green power is really starting to have an impact.

Lovely MG’s

Maybe not a career as a bank clerk. It was not so long ago I could walk into Barclays and be greeted by a queue waiting to be seen by several clerks behind the glass screens. Now its a training session on how to use a machine!! I really don’t like it but actually there is no option. So where have all the people who used to deal with cheques/deposits/withdrawals? Our car industry, Morris, Austins, Rover, MG, Hillman and so on have all gone from “handmade” to “machinemade”

It was in 1979 that the Fiat launched their new Strada car with the strap line “hand built by robots.”

An Australian company has developed a robot that can lay 1,000 standard bricks in one hour — a task that would take two human bricklayers the better part of a day or longer to complete.The advance of technology is accelerating and widening its reach into not just manufacturing but the service industry. McDonalds drive through services were quite the thing but now the actual service is becoming automated. The following article is worth a read, it starts… “Two-thirds of Americans believe robots will soon perform most of the work done by humans but 80% also believe their jobs will be unaffected. Time to think again.”

Furthermore; this example from Bloomberg shows how robots are becoming intuitive.

So I think the Taylor Review of Modern working practices is timely and welcome and no doubt will help the current workforce but the conversation should be more about equipping our future workforce to meet the challenge of more machines and less “traditional” job opportunities. The need for Citizen Advice services will grow as workers seek to change direction, re-skill and find new industries. A job for life is not going to be an option.

Talking of jobs — Gosport are looking for a Debt Caseworker — more details can we see on our website

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