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An increasing number of people are applying for each job, while the amount of vacancies is decreasing. This Channel 4 news report provides some figures.

By taking an overall look at today’s job market, it is clear that whole sections of society are not free to work, particularly those trapped in a benefits system that is so flawed that it achieves the exact opposite to what it purports to.

In 20013-2014, almost a million people were given 3 day emergency food and support. 913,318 according to figures. Food poverty is in the UK.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 17.32.48

Food banks are appearing all over the UK with an increasing amount of people becoming reliant on them.

With the staggering numbers of people who have had their benefits sanctioned leaving them without sufficient funds even for bare essentials, it is time to look at some realities about job prospects.

I will do this by comparing the job markets of the 50s/60s with that of today.

Here are some reports appearing in the nationals about the actions of Iain Duncan Smith and the Department of Work and Pensions.

How many people coming off benefits are finding work? – The Guardian

The Jobless are being punished with hunger – The Independent

Benefits Sanctions Bully Claimants – The Guardian, comment.

Benefits Sanctions – Radio 4, File on 4

Benefit ‘Hit Squads’ set up Claimants to fail – The Guardian

Let’s see if there are any helpful suggestions for the DWP (to ignore like they do much research, the CAB, law centres, press reports and numerous other people including MPs such as Debbie Abrahams, who all suggest that the system is a complete failure).

How has the job market changed over the decades?

With a broad sweep of the brush, here is a picture of the job market in our grandparents’ time (or 1950s and 1960s). It seems as if the UK government has not noticed any changes since these times:

Employment agencies recruited staff for large estates

Employment agencies recruited staff for large estates

The ‘upper class’ employed people on their estates, were often self sufficient for food and lived off rents and other means of interests, but didn’t enter paid employment working for someone else.

The ‘middle class’ contained both ‘business’ and ‘professions’. When my parents were setting out in life, people went to university to study law, medicine and religion (plus other ‘professions’ not mentioned here). Teacher training was not dependent on a degree. My mother entered teacher training after her A’levels.

The ‘Working Class’ were named that because they did all the jobs that people who needed to earn a living did. Private income was essentially required to qualify as a doctor or lawyer.

“In the early 1960s, only about one in 20 young people were going into higher education”

– BBC article

Employees ran the estates of the upper classes, manufactured, catered, farmed, mined, retailed and did just about everything else that needed doing.

Searches for factories in the UK on Google had few results, so had to go historically

Searches for factories in the UK today produced next to no images on Google.

The education system we know and (add your own word here) today was created by the 1850s – based on a German schooling model – to make the workforce compliant with the industrial revolution. That meant weavers, bakers, candlestick markers, knife sharpeners and everyone else had to be retrained to become an efficient cog in the wheel of industry.

(For the sake of argument on changes over decades in the core job market, I’m missing out Victorian child labour, the fortunes of disabled people before Victorian ‘philanthropists’ became squeamish about how they made a living and the whole slave trade, plus other aspects, all of which require more research and discussion).

Doctors and Lawyers. Stiff workplace completion. Click for more Kip Piper cartoons.

Doctors and Lawyers. Stiff workplace competition. Click for more Kip Piper cartoons.

My father did not have the academic requirement (or desire) to become a doctor or lawyer, fight in a war or go into the church, so he did any odd jobs he could find; hod carrying, sold beds in Selfridges and stationary sales and finally became a petrol pump attendant. One day a lady in a very attractive car tipped him off about advertising sales being a nice little earner.

In our grandparents’ day there were social confines and conventions at play. People in ‘professions’ looked down on anyone in ‘business’.

I’m sure you can see plenty of changes that have emerged since our grandparents entered the workplace. One clear pattern is that even people who don’t need to earn a living to survive want to do something with their lives.

The next blog will look at things as they are now and see what changes the government could effect (if it wanted to, but it obviously doesn’t) to put the pressure on employers, not workers (who have no control over recruitment processes).

Sneak trailer for next blog: much greater honesty and transparency in recruitment and employment.

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