Jobs or Skills – the Real Election Debate
The amount of jobs created, lack of quality jobs or the promise of new jobs in the next five years appears to be a constant theme across the election debate. One politician said the government needs to create secure, well paid jobs rather than low paid jobs undertaken by so many people across Ireland.
Whatever your political persuasion, there are a number of things to be put straight before any more promises are made about jobs in this election:
Governments only have the power to create the conditions for multinational and indigenous businesses to create employment here. Businesses decide what they pay and this will be strongly based on the law of supply and demand.
Highly skilled engineers, scientists, sales and IT professionals will continue to be in demand. These high quality jobs will be taken up by those who are agile and constantly educating and developing themselves throughout their lifetime and not just once by going to college post leaving cert.
The jobs debate is superficial and not understood by politicians. It is easy to say we promise to create ‘X’ number of jobs in the economy in the next five years. It creates sound bytes and headlines for voters John and Mary to believe.
The real debate is the skills debate.
Does Ireland Inc have the right skills to stay investor friendly?
Governments create the environment for industry to flourish. We have a lot going for us in this country; we often are the best at what we do in our chosen fields worldwide. We operate in a global economy where many US multinationals have established their EMEA headquarters here (and we hope the majority stay for many years to come). Inevitably, some of these new technology businesses will fail, move on or close down. That is the nature of globalised commerce. The great thing is these companies have come here in the first place and our people have had the opportunity to learn valuable skills for future employment opportunities. Jobs will come and go but Ireland Inc has now become a source of talented skilled people with a great work ethic. But how do we ensure we continue to have the right talent pool to attract further inward investment? With so much change approaching with the future world of work, how can individuals remain employable?
The politicians appear to be basing their job figures on something over 3% economic growth for the next five years. Who would have predicted two years ago the sterling growth we had last year? So let’s get real, we don’t know if we are going to head back into a global recession due to factors outside our control, like China or oil prices, or if we’ll continue to grow at record levels. This is outside our control.
Why not personal tax breaks to create a Learning economy?
What our Government can control is the right environment and right taxation policies to create a learning economy. But the responsibility for the recovery also lies with us as citizens, we need to stop waiting for promised jobs and take more personal responsibility to change ourselves.
We need to change the election conversation from promising jobs to bridging the skills gap to highly skilled employment. In doing so, we will give everyone an opportunity for future employment, not just quick fix job lotto prediction numbers that win votes.
John Fitzgerald is the founder of the Harmonics Group. Harmonics specialise in helping organisations plan for change, manage change and support their people through change.
To learn more about how Harmonics career management methodology is being used in corporate organisations to enable self-directed career planning and help bridge the skills gap, please contact us on 01 8942616, 061 336136 or 021 7319604 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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