Open a newspaper or switch on the television and it seems that swingeing jobs cuts are still being announced on a regular basis. While we all acknowledge that the days of the ‘job for life’ are gone, traditionally there have always been sectors perceived as ‘safer’ career choices.
This is no longer necessarily the case. The reputation of the once lucrative financial sector has been decimated with the banking crisis and a swathe of cuts is still pending across the once safe public sector. The Government’s ‘public sector savings’ initiative, (ie job cuts), now extends as far as the military and there is no end in sight.
Where have all the jobs gone? Is there such a thing as a secure sector for a career choice anymore?
Normally, the economy would rely on the private sector to create new jobs as the country emerges from a deep recession. So isn’t now the time for the private sector to bounce back? As things stand, it’s unlikely in the immediate future.
The CIPD reported in February of this year that the number of LMO (Labour Market Outlook) employers planning on redundancies in 2012 is at its highest level for three years. On top of that the CIPD gloomily predicts that employment could rise as high as 2.85m by the end of the year.
With the continued squeeze on bank lending, employers cite lack of access to finance as one of the biggest obstacles to business growth – and consequently the creation of new jobs.
Last week we saw a marginal reduction in unemployment figures. Could that be a sign that the ‘green shoots of recovery’ are poised to flourish? Not yet. Statistics can notoriously be manipulated. The fall is in part the result of many unemployed people taking part-time jobs in an attempt to make ends meet and unwittingly removing themselves from the unemployment register.
The longstanding north-south divide continues to widen with employment prospects across the north continuing to fall dramatically. Only London predicts a positive outlook but its prohibitive property prices coupled and significantly higher cost of living are a deterrent to jobseekers considering relocation..
It’s a familiar story across much of Europe, so where can we turn to for that elusive job security?
There is a glimmer of hope out there. While UK and European employment flatlines at best, the Guardian reports rising demand in the international IT, engineering and commodities markets. For those skilled workers who are able, seeking employment abroad is a viable prospect.
In the UK, young people forced to seek alternatives are discovering untapped entrepreneurial skills and venturing out in business on their own. The Times also recently reported that women in the so-called ‘Madonna’ age group (late ‘40s to early ‘60s) fare better than other age groups in their job search.
For now, however, it’s watch this space as the UK faces a still fragile market and employers continue to wait for the longed-for recovery.