Thursday, June 7, 2012

(Opinion) Unemployment and the 'Work For Experience scam'

While the coalition government pats itself on the back as 45,000 people found work despite of the well into 2 million people in the Britain who haven't, and the UK economy set to further contract, the future for many Britons looks bleak to say the least. While it was not bed of roses for working people as they saw their debt obligations rise and their wages stagnate or actively decrease, a dignified existence could be maintained, that is until the bottom fell out in 2007.

Now Britons, especially those of the working class variety, find ourselves in the quagmire of excessive competition for limited places and having to work for free which can explain why the stewards used for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee were largely apprentices or unemployed job-seekers.

While some may rush into the debate and see the relationship between apprentices and job-seekers drafted in by companies for free as purely exploitative, they largely haven't experienced job-seeking at the lower end of the labour market where the unemployed have to deal with one of the oldest catch-22s in the labour market; experience.

With their being a shortage of jobs and surplus in available labour, the main factor used to pick a candidate from all the others is experience, as it is rather costly for employers to train new staff and mitigate the likely cost of rookie mistakes.

To deal with this disadvantage, inexperienced or unskilled workers have to take work where they will probably will work for free or work well below the minimum wage. While those who see this relationship as exploitative are right to say so, without such a relationship there will be no way for inexperienced  or unskilled workers to deal with the major disadvantage in the labour market, and employers know it.

Now with their being a major labour surplus, many unemployed jobseekers, especially those who lack experience, have to work for free while companies may say they are working for experience, anyone with sketchy knowledge of  exploitation will see those people are working for free and companies who take advantage of the labour surplus profit.

In conclusion,  while the relationship between companies and inexperienced workers has always been exploitative, it has increasingly, especially due to large unemployment levels, become necessary as workers seek to mitigate one of the biggest barriers to employment.The furore over the stewards who took part in guarding the event were working for free has only revealed a relationship that has existed for decades and, at one point, was about to become a government backed scheme.

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