UK unemployment is not looking good, with the latest figures suggesting 2.7m are now claiming some form of unemployment benefit from the government. What’s worse is that 22.3% of the under-24s are now out of work – that’s over a million young people.
And the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development just predicts that things are getting worse. These numbers are already a 17-year high so how much worse can it get?
There have been several big job creation announcements recently, like McDonalds proposing to hire 2,500 new employees, but a regular – and politically thorny – complaint of the young unemployed is that migrant workers scoop up many of the starter jobs.
Politically this is dangerous ground, because as a European Union member, anyone from Britain can also seek work anywhere in the 27 EU nations – it is a reciprocal right every European is entitled to.
Economists often call this problem structural unemployment, when jobs are being created, but the local population finds it difficult to relocate to them because of established home and family ties. Migrant workers are a lot more footloose and able to locate themselves right next door to any new job opportunity – it’s hard to compete with that attitude.
I can’t fix the issue of structural unemployment in a blog, but there is a chink of light for the young people of Britain in my own industry.
The customer services industry is still expanding. At Teleperformance, we are still growing; we are still training new advisors. In many ways, the contact centre has become a career of choice for young British people as it offers so many eventual options – our new South African MD started out as an agent himself, but the skills learned in the contact centre apply to many other careers so it is a great place to start out.
And most consumers value a local voice with similar cultural touch points, so local Brits have a natural advantage when entering into customer service – people always prefer to feel that they are talking to someone similar when calling for help.
It will take a lot for the UK to ride out these challenging economic circumstances, but there are opportunities available – many more in this business than in manufacturing, leisure, or catering. Why not check out the Teleperformance Facebook page for our latest opportunities?
Photo by Donna Grayson licensed under Creative Commons