The Blog

Jobs in the UK Post-Referendum

This past week has seen Theresa May telling pro-EU civil servants to get on with the mandate of preparing the exit from the EU. Yet recent findings show that the job market is shrinking for new graduates and that women are losing out due to pregnancy and maternity leave. In short, job opportunities in the post-EU referendum era are quite tough and now we are witness to as many job adverts show employment opportunities in certain sectors as there are adverts for job training course (at a fee, of course). When we see more advertisements for cosmetic training courses than actual jobs in cosmetology, one must question the ethos of the current job strategies engaged by employers and schools making money off the backs of the unemployed with false promises for future employment. Indeed, as someone who has been working in academia, I question if higher education has not become its own pyramid scheme today with the scarcity of jobs for anyone who intends to live independently

This past week UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, stated that, "People also want to see the job opportunities, to see the economic opportunities, and so getting a good deal in trading goods and services is also obviously important for us." But how are we to negotiate any equal economic opportunities when there are so many problems with the way employment is undertaken in the UK? Between the abusive numbers of internships and volunteerships whose existence threatens the livable salaries of those who are working not-for-hobby and the low wages paid for many positions, one might begin to wonder why higher education is even necessary. Add to this the elite practices of job practices for which only the wealthier university graduate can afford to take low paying work in the centre of London because family is paying for rent and living expenses.

Currently the average salary of a teacher in the UK is £33,000, electrician £29,000, and junior doctors start off at £22,636. The overwhelming burden of student loan debt would put off anyone looking at the prospect of higher education versus the possibilities of full-time work in more professional job tracts. Certainly there seems to be more job security in many blue collar jobs as well as more certainty of job stability than for professional lines and when I speak to people in London, many educated individuals are finding more economic stability taking on blue collar roles as there are not job

A friend of mine working at the Tate Modern pointed out to me a few years back that as an an Assistant Curator, she made far less money than a secretary working at the museum. Unlike the secretary, she was also required to go back to the university to get a Masters degree at her own expense which incurred a salary increase such that she was still making less than the secretary. She was also expected to work well beyond a forty-hour work week while the secretary's work week observed a strict 9-5 paradigm, almost religiously observed. Currently gardeners at most UK museums make more than lecturers and the job opportunities for professionals are shrinking.

What May has to confront is that the job security for educated workers is evaporating and this is giving rise to a growing population of youth who may very well decide that the university is no longer worth the investment since jobs are simply not the reward they once were. Equally as important is that for the postgraduate professionals hoping to making a splash on the job market, the scenery is grim to non-existent. Friends and colleagues finishing post-docs in the country are now looking abroad for research work and university positions as the opportunities are not ripe today.

We need to look to new labour formats and even the introduction of a three-day work week under experimentation in Mexico which will create more jobs while allowing people to enjoy that thing called life.