Tag Archives: innovation

The best job application ever?

Every once in a while someone comes along and really raises the bar.  Earlier this week I blogged on the brilliant “Employ Kyle” campaign conducted by Kyle Clarke.  Hot on his heels I came across this exceptional approach to the job search from self-confessed “PR propagandist, social media transmitter, digital brigadier” Graeme Anthony.

This just might be the best job application I have ever seen.  Creative, thought-provoking, passionate, engaging, different.

Would you employ this guy?  Judge for yourself.

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Filed under Careers, Hiring, Recruitment, Social Media

Anything to be gained from a jobless recovery?

I guess good news doesn’t sell newspapers.   This weekend was full of the latest views on double dip, inflation, stagflation, rising interest rates, dropping consumer confidence, rising unemployment and a jobless recovery.  None of these are fact.  For sure all are simply possible scenarios and all warranted countless column inches.  Someone once warned me ” be careful what you wish for”.

Much is being made of the jobless recovery.  Regular readers of my blog will know my views when it comes to unemployment (frankly one person out of work who does not wish to be is one person too many).  However, trying to take the positive from the negative I considered what is to be gained from the doomsday scenario the newspapers are suggesting.

Firstly a jobless recovery is not an accurate description.  It is simply not the case that employers are not hiring.  What is true is where they are hiring.  A recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development survey highlighted 36% of employers expect to lose staff in the next three months.  Despite this threat of cuts, the CIPD’s net employment index, which measures the number of companies planning to hire against the number planning to lose staff, is still in positive territory at +two (admittedly down from +five three months ago but still a positive number).

Dig a little deeper in the numbers and that’s where things get interesting.  What you will see reflects the stark difference between the public and private sectors, with the private sector showing strong hiring intentions at +19 while the public sector gives a reading of -35.

This is great news.  The private sector is hiring.  We have grown to depend for too long on an overbloated public sector and we need now to take the medicine to protect ourselves in the long-term.  I am not talking front-line services (I am married to a nurse and clearly too much of a coward to consider such a thing!).  Anything that puts more nurses on hospital wards, policeman on the street or makes for better public transport is to be supported and applauded but it is the private sector that drives long-term, sustainable economic recovery.

It is the private sector that creates employment and wealth, that pays down the massive public debt we have accrued in the western world.  It is the private sector that puts huge sums in to the public purse through taxation to create world-class public services.  It is the private sector that drives innovation, that will create the tools that are required to combat climate change, hunger, water shortage, disease.  This gets forgotten all too often.  It is the private sector that got us in to this mess and it will be the private sector that gets us out.

It will be the private sector that re – trains out of work former public sector workers and it will be the private sector that re – hires them.  Will this happen quickly enough to ease the pain for such individuals?  Probably not.  Rarely does any return to work happen quickly enough for the person concerned.  Governments need to create the environment that encourages entrepreneurialism to thrive.  For it is entrepreneurialism, the seeing and seizing of opportunity that will create long-term sustainable employment.

Human Beings are incredible.  In adversity comes incredible strength, determination, invention, creativity.  Through adversity comes great change.  We might just be living in one of the most exciting times in history.  Sure its tough, but let’s make the most of it instead of constantly finding ways to talk ourselves in to an even bigger mess.

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Making stuff might just be a good idea

I found myself at the weekend facing a rotten garden bench in a state of disrepair.  I wanted to rebuild it, to return it to its former glory, only to find myself reflecting on my own inadequacy when it comes to all things practical.  As the son of an extremely talented engineer who seems to be able to turn his hand to anything practical, I reflected on the need for the UK Economy to have less like me and more like him.  Making stuff is what it’s all about and what we have gotten too far away from.

I once made the mistake of saying to a prominent member of the then Shadow Cabinet that “of course the real problem with the UK economy is the fact that we don’t make anything any more” only to be put firmly in my place.  The UK is the worlds 6th largest manufacturing nation and is still home to some of the worlds leading names in cutting edge engineering (Rolls Royce for example).  Just a week after the Office for National Statistics revealed that the UK economy grew more than expected in the first quarter of 2010, the same body revealed that UK Manufacturing grew at its fastest rate for 15 years.

Regardless of where you live, manufacturing is the key to creating jobs and wealth.  The problems of the UK economy reflect an over reliance on the service sector, public or private.  Getting back to inventing and making stuff the rest of the world needs is what we now need to fuel economic recovery creating jobs and wealth in the process.

Take Brazil.  Often overlooked by the success of China and India, the economy is forecast to grow this year by 6.1%.  I am sure Brazil has its problems, what country doesn’t?  But Brazil is innovating, engineering, manufacturing, making stuff, making money and bringing huge swathes of its population out of poverty as a consequence.  A recent initiative has seen the Brazilian Government fund 25% of the purchase price of a house for low-income families, evidence of how a booming economy can really help the wider population without having to rely upon an over bloated public sector.

The World Economic Forum show Brazil as the top country in upward evolution of competitiveness in 2009.  60% of its exports are manufactured or semi – manufactured goods.  Innovation is immense and the country enjoys a sophisticated technology sector.  Research in to renewable energy and sustainability is growing.  Brazil is now leading the way in ethanol production techniques for example.  Unemployment is at 7%, still too high but down every year since 2004 when it peaked at 12.3%.  Corporation Tax is 15%, encouraging inward investment and creating employment.

For a country to prosper, it needs to foster a low tax environment that encourages investment by its private sector.  This in turn creates jobs that in turn creates wealth.  A significant chunk of that wealth must be re – invested in education and in particular in the sciences and mathematics, the disciplines that encourage great invention, innovation and engineering.  We need our scientists and mathematicians to focus on innovation that encourages sustainability, to make the stuff we really do need, to protect the planet from being eaten by ravenous humans hungry to consume.  Investment in science, engineering, technology, sustainability and energy is long overdue in the UK and in much of the Western World.  And all this from someone who struggles to hammer a nail in straight!  Back to that Garden Bench.

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Change is inevitable. Long live change!

Like many I have spent the last seven days enthralled by the reactions of my fellow Brits to the General Election.  The first change of government in 13 years and the first coalition government in a generation.  From radio phone ins to TV chat shows, from blogs to tweets, such change has engendered an outpouring of hatred, bitterness, resentment, envy, cynicism, grief, resignation, excitement, positivity, hope, in fact just about any human emotion you can think of. All caused by change.  Its scary, uncertain, exciting, inevitable.

The one thing of which I am certain is the energy that it has brought about, both positive and negative, brings with it enormous opportunity.  Look at the outcome.  We have the chance to alter our electoral system to the extent that the way we are governed in future could fundamentally change.

I have a sense that we are living in one of the most incredible times in human history.  In many ways a modern-day industrial revolution.  Do you think back in the 18th and 19th Century when such huge advances were being made in the way we lived people took the time to reflect on the enormous changes going on around them?

The rise of China, India and Brazil as economic powerhouses, the impact of the web on how we communicate, interact, transact, the amount and pace of change in recent years is incredible.  The world is a small place for those of us fortunate to live in the developed or developing world.  Innovation is immense.   I remember an office before email and mobile phones.  Now smart phones in all their forms are business critical tools.  Google barely existed 10 years ago.  Facebook the same.  Just look at what have they achieved through embracing the opportunities presented by change.

Traditional models and thinking are being tested to the limit and the status quo is being challenged at every opportunity.  Take my own industry.  Recruitment has not changed its business model in 70 years and yet is faced with enormous threats from so many new media and tools.  Many are burying our heads and taking the view that tough economic times mean heads down survival.  I can think of many other businesses that I have had experience of recently who are bemoaning the tough climate whilst continuing to do the same thing they always did without getting what they always got.

Change is scary but it inspires.  It encourages passion and emotion, it creates pain and opportunity.  This is the stuff that keeps us alive.  Long may things continue to change.

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