Tag Archives | Employment

A ‘no-consequences’ education produces unemployable graduates

By Rachael Sharman, University of the Sunshine Coast

A research centre in the UK recently found that lavishing praise on students, particularly low-attaining students, may be counter-productive. By providing a no-fail, no-consequences environment in which the top priority is to make everybody feel good about themselves, we are doing little more than setting young people up to fail.

It would appear our modern education systems have delivered us not only a backslide of Australian student rankings, but also our highest youth unemployment rate in decades. Research suggests that basic employability skills, where worker can arrive on time, take instruction and get on with others, are wanting in this generation of young people.

An ad for an apprentice recently posted on a job site perfectly summarised the difficulty faced by employers trying to give a young person a go. It listed only two selection criteria:

1) Not afraid to work

2) Can turn up Monday to Friday.… Read the rest

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Why Corporations Need Weirdos

Michelangelo-Buonarroti1.jpg

If you’re a regular disinfonaut there’s a good chance that you might fit a corporate employer’s concept of “weirdo.” Should you for some reason actually want to work for that kind of employer, Business Week suggests this might be the time to apply:

We need to expand our definition of diversity to include the weird—a group often maligned and avoided. These are people who appear to us as different, strange, and even offbeat; they just don’t fit in.

There is potency and innovativeness in certain kinds of weirdness that can help businesses thrive.

The key for leaders is to figure out how to support weird people so that they create—not destroy—value for the company. Some of these people have stifled their offbeat creativity out of social fear, camouflaging their true selves because they think it’s not appropriate at work to be as they really are. They leave essential parts of themselves at the office door.

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Bill Gates: Robots Will Take Many, Many Jobs – Probably Yours

PIC: World Economic Forum (CC)

PIC: World Economic Forum (CC)

Microsoft founder and GMO enthusiast Bill Gates made some pretty grim predictions during an appearance at an event hosted by right-wing think tank the American Enterprise Institute. Grim for them? No, no, silly little person: Grim for you! According to Gates, people are underestimating the number of jobs that will be lost to robots, and unless we’re willing to cut payroll and income taxes out altogether, future businesses will likely not be willing to hire human beings that need jobs. Gates is also against raising the minimum wage, as he sees that as potential discouragement as well. So get ready to work for peanuts or not work at all.

Via the Business Insider:

Gates said that within 20 years, a lot of jobs will go away, replaced by software automation (“bots” in tech slang, though Gates used the term “software substitution”).

This is what he said:

“Software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses … it’s progressing.

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Jobs Kill 150 Americans Per Day

800px-Favres_TodVia the Huffington Post:

More than 100 people in the United States die every day as a result of their work, according to a new report from the AFL-CIO.

The union found that about 4,693 workers were killed on the job in 2011, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 50,000 workers per year die from work-related diseases. Combine those numbers and you get about 150 work-related deaths per day, the AFL-CIO report found.

To put that number in comparative terms: Americans are 271 times more likely to die from a workplace accident than from a terrorist attack, according to an op-ed last month from Mike Elk, a labor reporter for In These Times.

The recent industrial disasters in West, Texas, and across the globe in Bangladesh have brought the issue of workplace safety into sharp focus. The fertilizer plant explosion in Texas killed 15 and injured hundreds, while the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh last month claimed the lives of more than 700.

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What Would A World Without Work Be Like?

What comes next? Via the Guardian, Nina Power argues that work is becoming obsolete:

As with all major institutional entities – law, prison, education – to question work is to tamper with reality itself. As with law, prison and education, it is almost always “never a good time” to talk about reform, or the abolition of existing structures.

But as wages bear less and less relation to the cost of living, it seems as good a time as any to ask if the underlying fantasy is that employers will one day be able to pay their workers nothing at all, because all those issues like housing, food, clothing, childcare will somehow be dealt with in another, mysterious, way.

Against the backdrop of rising inflation, increasing job insecurity, geographically asymmetrical unemployment, attacks on the working and non-working populations, and cuts to benefits – a debate about what work is and what it means has been taking place.

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Don’t Work So Much – It’s Better For Everyone

Anders Hayden writes at The Solutions Journal:

Since the Industrial Revolution, two main motivations have driven the movement for work-time reduction. Free time away from the job improves individual well-being, while reducing work hours can cut unemployment by better distributing the available work. These historical motivations for work-time reduction have been joined by a new rationale: the need to reduce the impact of human societies on the environment.

The urgency of reducing humanity’s impacts on the earth is well documented. Estimates of our ecological footprint suggest that we need 1.5 planets to sustain current consumption practices, while studies of humanity’s “safe operating space” have concluded that we have already crossed some critical planetary boundaries, including safe levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Two dominant responses to this threat have emerged. One has been to carry on with business as usual, pursuing endless economic expansion while downplaying or denying the severity of environmental problems.

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Has A Bachelor’s Degree Lost Its Value?

Writes Lee Lawrence on the Christian Science Monitor:
The children of white middle-class, college-educated parents, Hugh Green and Turner Jenkins are just the kind of kids everyone would expect to be stepping out into the world one sunny June day, bachelor's degrees in hand. But they both veered from the traditional American educational route. One decided that a bachelor's was never going to be enough, while the other concluded it was unnecessary. Mr. Green enrolled in an accelerated program that will keep him at Emory University in Atlanta for a fifth year and earn him a master's degree. Mr. Jenkins is immersed in a culinary training program in Gaithersburg, Md., that he hopes will launch his career as a chef. Once the hallmark of an educated and readily employable adult, the bachelor's degree is losing its edge. Quicker, cheaper programs offer attractive career route alternatives while the more prestigious master's is trumping it, making it a mere steppingstone...
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Job Seekers Being Asked for Their Facebook Login Details During Interviews

Facebook LoginDisturbing. Emma Barnett reports in the Telegraph:

Justin Bassett, a New York-based statistician, had just finished answering some standard character questions in a job interview, when he was asked to hand over his Facebook login information after his interviewer could not find his profile on the site, according to the Boston Globe.

Bassett refused and withdrew his job application, as he did not want to be employed by a business which would invade his privacy to such an extent.

And it’s not only job applicants, even people already on the job are being asked. More from the Telegraph:

While Lee Williams, an online retail worker from the Midlands, told The Telegraph that he was asked by his managing director for his Facebook login details, after his boss had looked him up on the social network and could not see any details about him as his privacy settings were locked down.

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Wal-Mart Rolls Back Discrimination Law Suit

Photo: Joey Caputo (CC)

Photo: Joey Caputo (CC)

Is Wal-Mart too big to sue? How will this and previous law suits against Wal-Mart effect the future of how other businesses deal with discrimination? Via MSNBC:

If you’re part of a group of employees working for a major U.S. corporation with a gripe about unfair treatment, your collective voices were potentially muffled Monday.

A key attempt to tackle inequality in the U.S. workforce suffered a major blow when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Wal-Mart — with its thousands of stores and millions of employment decisions — was too massive for a group of employees to sue for discrimination using class-action status.

Wal-Mart, according to a 5-4 decision by the high court, is just too big to sue. The court’s decision is a direct hit to women seeking parity in particular. Women now make up about half the U.S. workforce and that means no other minority group seeking a class action would likely constitute such a big block of employees at any one employer.

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