The new way of applying for jobs

16 02 2012

Who else remembers careers classes in school at age 16? The ones where they taught about applying for jobs and attending interviews? A young denim clad girl stood in a phonebox nervously calling up an employer from an advert she’d seen in the newspaper.  It showed her two interview styles, the bad one where she didn’t get the job and the good one where she did.

It seemed like such a simple concept, see job advert, apply, get interview, get job.  And that’s how it worked for the best part of 20 years after leaving school.  I left school in a recession, where unemployment was high and jobs were few but it wasnt like 2012.

I wonder if they now teach children on the brink of leaving school that the old methods of call up, get interview, get job no longer work. It seems todays youth, indeed the jobseekers of any age, have a new process to undertake.

Look for work > Compete with almost 3million other jobseekers > Nothing > Sign on > live on dole for 6months > Get sent to huge profit making commercial organisation for so called work experience. Unpaid > Maybe get interview at end of free labour > get job if passing interview despite having done the job for weeks or months already> put on probationary employment to prove you can do the job you have already been doing for weeks/months. > Maybe get kept on.

I was involved in a discussion lastnight with a DWP employee, that I wont name so he doesn’t get unduly harassed by the many unstable people on the internet. He claims that 25% of all Work Experience placements result in employment but that of those only 60% are with the work experience providers.  That equates to only 15 people out of every 100 will get employment with their, hmm… I want to say slave masters. I am not as enthused by these statistics as DWP employees seem to be. I’ll give my poorly devised dyscalculic statistical theory later.

This discussion came about after the revelation of the advert with Tesco for night shift staff on a permanent basis where remuneration was Job SeekersAllowance + Expenses. I should point out he claimed the permanent nature of the role advertised was likely a mistake as there had been problems with the software that published Work Experience positions. You cannot fault his loyalty and dedication to his employer.

Now while he sang the praises of the scheme and the successful employment rates, it got me thinking… I’m no statistician and being dyscalculic im not very good with basic arithmetic…. However, my very basic thinking went like this… There are on average 5 job seekers for every job advertised in JobCentre + ( approx 2.7 m people for 450,000 jobs) so there is a 1 in 5 chance of getting employment (not taking into account those changing jobs etc as that would complicate things in my wee brain) The improvement of chances while on a work experience scheme raises the stats to 1 in 4 people getting a job. Still quite poor but better than those not on the scheme. It sounds great so far, doesn’t it? The difference is 5 people per every 100.

However, these is another incalculable element to be taken into account. The time and effort of doing work experience prior to getting the job. People are devoting weeks and months to these employers for nothing more than their JSA and to me, taking that into consideration suggests the scheme doesn’t work. The Elements not being considered are the additional costs of working such as 5 lunches per week, suitable clothing and footwear, transport, childcare, tea on teabreaks.

Stastically, with a 1 in 5 chance of getting a job without all the effort, you’d be as well waiting until its your turn to get the 1 job. This Work Experience scheme is allegedly voluntary, jobseekers do not have to agree to go on it and according the my DWP virtual friend, there is also a 1 week probationary period where you can withdraw without any problems. This is very different to what I am hearing from those who believe they are made to attend such schemes with threat of sanctions if they do not.

Now Tesco claim they have placed 300 work experience staff into paid employment. If the DWP statistic 15 out of every 100 work experience people get paid employment with their placement offeror, and Tesco have taken on 300 staff from the scheme, how many are not getting jobs? Around 1700 people based on these stats.  These stats would also suggest that Tesco had only had 2000 work experience staff through the door. However, in the past few months alone, Tesco claim to have taken on 1400 people on work experience schemes. The 300 staff figure is said to be over the entire period of taking on work experience staff, which is longer than 3 or 4 months. Worthless bit of info – but there you go.

I have stated before, I am not entirely against people contributing to society for their benefits but the entire system is set up in such a way that unemployed people are just statistics and not human beings with very different and complex needs. I do not agree at all that large commercial institutions should benefit from free work experience staff or that forcing people to work for companies such as Tesco is the best way to endear them to employment. Not every jobseeker is a workshy scrounging bum and it angers me that people struggling in poverty can be treated with contempt and forced to do things that may not necessarily be suitable for them. There are so many different community projects and organisations that could benefit from volunteers, and society as a whole could benefit from these organisations but when the system is put to tendering and sub contracting and competition and profit is put before people, it cannot and will not work.

It used to be said unpaid internships were only for the rich. When the government vowed to make them available to all, I’m not sure society took this as meaning forcing the poorest and most vulnerable into unpaid work.

Apologies for poor spelling or odd words added in- on ipad and wp doesnt work so well with mobile browsers.

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