The Government’s new Jobs initiative, ‘Jobs Plus’, which was launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tainiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, with much fanfare and joy last month and whose aim is to take 75,000 long-term unemployed people off the dole by providing them with employer-subsidised work placements, has been an under-whelming failure so far, with just 327 people applying for the scheme.
At icanwork4u we are not really surprised that this much touted PR stunt has not found favour with either the employers or the long-term unemployed. In a blog we posted two weeks ago we made the point that this new initiative paid no attention to the huge numbers of recently unemployed people, especially the young people whose only option seems to be emigration. Nor did the scheme address the droves of unemployed or under-employed self-employed people who are being forced into an ever-growing ‘Black Economy’ just to feed their families.
On our website http://www.icanwork4u.com we get messages and comments every day from people who are looking for work or from employers who are looking for staff. Many of the messages have a common theme. ‘We want to work…please help us’.
Providing a ‘selective’ subsidy to employers in the hope that they will hire people who have been on the Social Welfare or Unemployment Assistance for a year or two or more is an artificial interference in the jobs market-place and like all artificial measures in an open market, it has failed dismally.
Put yourself in an employers shoes. yes you would like a 2-year subsidy of up to €10,000 to hire an extra employee, but no, you wouldn’t have a clue where to start looking for such a person, someone who is two years on the dole, is local and who wants to work for your company. You are not going to go down to the ‘Social’ and start telling everyone in the Tuesday or Wednesday benefits queue that you are seeking a qualified butcher, an electrician or a lathe-operator, who is ready to start and has been signing on for 24 or more months. Not going to happen. Likewise you certainly will not put that on your Job Advertisement in the paper or on the internet. What would your customers think? What would your employees think?
Put yourself in a potential employees shoes. ‘Hmm…I would like to get a job. I’d like to get off the Dole. Let me re-do my CV. Yes, under experience, let me see, Two years collecting Unemployment. That looks good, bound to put me on the top of the applicant pile!’
At http://www.icanwork4u.com we believe in the open market approach. If there are subsidies for employment they should apply to all new employees, not just the long-term unemployed ones. Getting Ireland back to work is not easy but injecting artificial barriers and incentives into the process is a non-runner….and the low response to this Jobs Plus initiative is proof positive that the system is in need of overhaul, not band-aids.
If Joan Burton really wants to take people off the dole, she should invest in marketing the skill sets of the people who are in the unfortunate position of needing help. A subsidy to local jobs boards, like icanwork4u.com so that we can market people’s job-skills and availability, would address the failure of the Dept of Social Welfare to market the unemployed and place them in work. That, and a small universal subsidy for all new hires, say a 0% Employer PRSI contribution, for year one and year two of a persons employment, might go a long way to encouraging employers to take on new staff and reduce the burden on the government purse by reducing the amounts required to finance the Welfare system.
The severe budget that this government is threatening in a few short months will further reduce the consumer spending multiplier and shrink the economy further.
At http://www.icanwork4u.com we believe that there is a better way to encourage business and grow our economy. Does anyone in Government really understand how the market-place works? They should be asking the people, the employers, the entrepreneurs and the employees, not the civil servants for advice. It is not too late to do the right thing!