Are you a number on a list?
Are you the one in Five?
Do you no longer exist?
Office of national statistics. INAC01. Jun 2013.
Working age population approx 41,000,000
Working (full or part time). 29,700,000
Non Working 11,300,000
Unemployed but looking for work. 2,510,000
Student of working age. 2,249,000
Full time carer (children or disabled). 2,275,000
Short term sick. 180,000
Long term sick. 2,037,000
Discouraged workers? 67,000
We are now in the second decade of the twenty first century. Technology has
advanced in leaps and bounds over the last 13 years.
We have seen technology sweep forward and we have very firmly moved into a
high tech society. You have only to walk down any town centre and watch everyone
with their noses buried in mobiles to see that.
This has taken us into the post industrial age, or the mobile age.
We need less and less people in factories, robots and drones are doing all the dull,
repetitive roles. Automation has taken over in many key areas. Robots making
robots making robots with a token human here and there.
We need less and less people in traditional industries where manual labour was in
demand. Our great industries are gone, the sight of thousands of people streaming
out of a factory is something seen all to often only in old films now.
There are few enough unskilled jobs left and science and technology are developing
ever newer robots or drones that can do many of them.
So what is left. Creative jobs, inventive jobs, interactive jobs. Jobs that require human
What happens to the people who cannot do these types of job?
Look at the numbers above.
Two and a half million people looking for work. Over two million people who will be
looking for work when they finish their courses. Two million long term sick who are
being sent back into the work force by the thousand every day, half of them are
simply incapable of holding a job but they are being forced to try. Carers and stay
at home parents, tens of thousands of these who are caring for people who are
long term sick will lose carers payments when the person they care for is declared
fit to work and sent out to beg in the streets. Eight hundred thousand others.
Add up these numbers.
What is the likelihood of creating enough jobs for all of them?
What is the likelyhood that this number is going to jump dramaticaly as we add a huge
influx of new potential workers next year?
What is the likelihood of that number going up as more automation is added, as more
and more help desks and call centres are outsourced or replaced with those intensely
annoying press 1/2/3 then press 1/2/3 then press and on and on systems?
What is the likelihood of that number going up as more and more of our Industries
replace people with robots, warehouse staff replaced by automatic stock systems,
production lines made fully robotic, shops and services replaced by web sites. Bus, train
and lorry drivers replaced with computers?
Are we going to restart any industry in this country that needs high levels of man power?
We are faced with a steadily increasing level of technology in every job. Our GDP is stable
or increasing with less people needed to achieve this. To run and maintain all of these we
need people who can think and function within the technology. Not everyone can do this
and I would suggest that many of those who cannot are those who are listed above.
These numbers are not going down, they will in fact steadily go up and more and more
people find themselves chasing fewer and fewer unskilled or semi skilled jobs. More
education is not the solution unless you are training people to fill roles that the robots
cannot do. Even then many students are not able to learn the advanced subjects needed.
There is no point forcing people to take engineering degrees if they cannot understand
the complexity of the subject.
Government and media demonization of those not in jobs does not help. Every make
work scheme to put the jobseekers in a supermarket takes away jobs for actual
employees. Every story in the media that is slanted against all benefit recipients
simply hides the problem.
Cabinet ministers performing brutal hatchet jobs through the most needy sections of
our population and justifying such inhumane cruelty by slandering all the unemployed
as scroungers and parasites make it less likely that the problem will ever be looked at.
We have a sizable number of families where parents and children have never worked.
Grandchildren are being added to this as a third generation joins the people who have
never held jobs and in all likelihood cannot hold jobs that are available.
This problem is not going to vanish. In fact it is going to continue to grow.
It should be looked at now, the implications of this are simply huge and if we leave it too
long then we may be unable to act.
This problem is not going away. Is it not time for us to face the reality that as many as
one in five of our population are simply unemployable and have a grown up discussion
on what we can do about it?