to wonder why anyone is unemployed in London?

(99 Posts)
wonderinggWoman Thu 01-May-14 21:39:30

There have been a few programmes on tv recently that have featured unemployed people in London. I can't understand how there are healthy, able bodied people who aren't working. There's a lot of work in London, public transport is good.

I am not wealthy, but have lived in London all my life and have always worked, now I worked my way up as a professional but previously in any job available, waitressing, cleaning, telesales, bar work. I'm also a single parent but don't see that as a reason to rely on the state.

It upsets me that those who genuinely can't work through sickness and health issues have to compete for council accommodation etc with those who are entitled and can't be bothered to work.

Aibu, am I missing something here?

Shewhowines Fri 02-May-14 10:21:50

Minimum wage - childcare costs = a problem

Sazzle41 Fri 02-May-14 10:29:43

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime - my best friend works in childrens mental health in Tower Hamlets. Yes its the most poverty stricken borough in London. But if you knew the problems there, often a cycle of thrid/fourth genearation abuse/domestic violence/mental health issues, just living is a challenge to a lot of residents, never mind attaining the social, education and work skills necessary to survive in a dog eat dog place like London. I also did teacher training in a deprived part of Derby. The fact some of my children even got to school was a miracle never mind learning once they got there with what was going on at home each night. A lot of them didnt want to go home come 3pm unsurprisingly.

Worra & Lovecat - i also live in outskirts East London so hellooo !

Lovecat Fri 02-May-14 10:39:04

<waves to Sazzle too grin>

Yes, a friend of mine teaches in Barking & Dagenham and she says some days it's an achievement just to get to the end of the day with no violent incidents sad

Regarding jobs in Pret, which I've now seen mentioned twice on this thread, it's not that easy to get a job there <disclaimer - Evening Standard link>

Kittymautz Fri 02-May-14 12:11:28

There may be lots of jobs advertised in London (ignoring the fake agency jobs and zero hours minimum wage contracts which don't guarantee you will earn enough to eat and pay bills, let alone pay London rent), but there are many many more people looking for work.

This time a year ago I was unemployed (I took voluntary redundancy to switch careers), and I was very lucky that I had some skills and experience in a relatively specialist area of charity fundraising, so I was able to apply for suitable jobs and be in competition with a smallish number of applicants. I got a great job within around three months, albeit on £7k less than my previous job (but had paid my mortgage off early with redundancy money so could afford that).

As well as the more specialist charity jobs, I also looked at more general admin type jobs. Most had well over 100 applicants, and these were not particularly well paid or interesting jobs.

I have a friend who used to do well paid contract work in the design area. He hasn't been able to get regular work in the last few years, just a couple if short contracts. He is in pretty dire straits right now and is more than willing to take on minimum wage work, but even this work is very hard to come by, due to the numbers of people after every but if work, especially considering he is a man in his fifties competing against energetic twenty-somethings.

Kittymautz Fri 02-May-14 12:14:14

Oh, and to address the suggestion of volunteering to get experience, yes that's a great idea but in the charity sector it is common to get dozens of applicants for unpaid volunteer positions.

At one charity I know, they advertised a minimum wage six month internship. They had 90 graduates apply.

fridgepants Fri 02-May-14 12:18:40

"Where I live, in Hertfordshire, there is no excuse whatsoever for an able bodied childless person to not have a job."

I can think of one really good one.

Also, I have been unemployed in London and what was difficult was cominbg off housing benefit/JSA and having to wait six weeks for my first full pay cheque when I got a job - benefits stop as soon as you start work, not as soon as you get paid, so you have to try and cover your rent and bills etc in the meantime. The DHSS do not pay travel to interview costs within the M25, at least not when I claimed there, so it could cost you about £7 to attend an interview, £3 if you can get there and back by bus. Transport is expensive, having to come up with a work-suitable wardrobe if you don't have one is expensive.

Lack of relevant experience is less of an issue than employers deciding you are overqualified - even if you are more than happy to do basic admin or work in a supermarket, regardless of what you were/earned before, employers won't take a chance as they think you'll be off like a shot when something more suitable opens up. My dad went from working in one of the 'professions' to night shift work in a garage in the last recession, and believe it or not had to do some persuading.

fridgepants Fri 02-May-14 12:25:30

"I don't have the language skills (lots of the jobs are in local businesses where you need to be able to speak Hindi/Bengali/Punjabi/Urdu etc.) or the appropriate experience."

The DHSS suggested I applied for a job at an Asian-language based company (being vague as details would out me) as I'd worked for a company in the same specific sector in the past. I told them I didn't speak that language, to which they replied 'but they only say it would be 'preferable'. Why would they employ a non-speaker when in the area nearby there are many many people who are first or second-language fluent?

Pret want people who are constantly positive - sure, most retail/food service work does, but they can fire you if they don't think you're acting happy enough. I have a (hidden) disability so there are days when it's a real challenge to be personable and professional to contacts in my current, non customer-facing role - I don;t think I'd last a week, especially if I disclosed my condition to them.

turgiday Fri 02-May-14 13:36:20

OP if you are telling the truth, your friend is lying to you. She would not be given a council flat for those reasons.

turgiday Fri 02-May-14 14:01:06

I think one issue rarely acknowledged, is that some people are barely employable. Some of these individuals would struggle to get volunteer positions as they usually need more support in even the most basic job, than the work they actually do.

I remember in the 80's being told the local Job Centre had a secret list of people who they thought were not employable, and they basically left them alone. That no longer happens.

goldfishmemory Fri 02-May-14 14:09:59

I live on a London council estate and it's often not obvious how or why people were allocated their tenancies. I got mine because I suffered from DV but it's not something I talk about to anyone, so they could just assume there was no reason for priority. The only childless people on the estate are those who have mental health/medical issues. Sometimes these are clear once you get to know them, but with some people it's not obvious at all.

Most of the people I know here work. Those who don't aren't usually what I'd consider unemployed, as they aren't getting JSA - usually on ESA for health issues, or Carer's allowance due to having disabled relatives to look after, or studying so getting a loan.

Southeastdweller Sat 03-May-14 11:08:02

Regarding jobs in Pret, which I've now seen mentioned twice on this thread, it's not that easy to get a job there <disclaimer - Evening Standard link>

Love, to be clear, the article suggests that it's not that easy for a Brit to get a job there.

Also, the article is over two years old. Seems like there's more Brits working in Pret now, if the number of British accents I hear in some branches is anything to go by.

MrsDeVere Sat 03-May-14 11:16:04

When I was breifly unemployed I went through hundreds and hundreds of job ads at the job centre.
Some of them were not actual paid jobs, commission only.
Some of them could not guarantee hours
Some of them were on-call only
Some of them were night work
Some of them were residential
Some of them required moving to another side of the country
Most of them required skills and qualifications I do not have
Some of them were for jobs I am not physically able to do (no disability but I would struggle as a hod carrier or scaffolder)
Majority of them had working hours that were impossible for me to do. I am not lazy but logistically I cannot work extended hours. Not unless my OH gives up work and even then he would not be able to manage the child care due to his disability.

I needed part time, local and within school hours.

I doubt I am the only person in this position and I am probably better qualified than half of them (not a boast, I am a lot less qualified than most of the other half). I have a lot of experience in various sectors.

Nancy66 Sat 03-May-14 11:22:29

As others have said: if you're fit, single, childless then yes work is fairly easy to come by.

less so if you don't fall into above categories.

BIWI Sat 03-May-14 11:28:54

Actual LOL at MrsDV as a hod carrier! In a pink high viz vest, obviously!

MrsDeVere Sat 03-May-14 11:32:22

My DS falls into that category and it took him a long time to find a job. He still has rent and a lot of fixed bills to pay.

I was really pleased when NEXT gave him a job. Less pleased when I found out it was a 12 hour contract.
Then they put it down to 6 hours.
He sometimes got more but it wasn't guaranteed and he wouldn't know until a day or two before.

He ended up with three jobs which I don't have an issue with. Most of us did that sort of thing when we were young. But the lack of employees rights DID bother me a lot.

NEXT won't show up in the zero hours contact list of employers but they might as well be included. SIX hours?

My DS's colleagues were not all young blokes with no ties. Adults with children were expected to work under those conditions too.

MrsDeVere Sat 03-May-14 11:33:15

I DO have a hankering for one of those special pink hard hats BIWI grin

Nancy66 Sat 03-May-14 11:38:03

That's true Mrs D, most retail jobs do seem to do that. Would be ok if you worked the same hours every week and could look for other work on top but seems the hours vary all the time.

SugarMouse1 Sat 03-May-14 13:56:01

Really? I live in west London and there are loads of charity shop volunteering roles available.

I have no degree and no specialist experience but I have only ever been unemployed in London for a couple of weeks at a time.

Although, it would have sometimes been easier to be unemployed then on part time minimum wage with high transport costs.

I have lost jobs for my lack of 'social skills' too, not being 'bubbly' enough being one. But not all jobs care. The ones worth keeping value hard work above anything, so it's not an excuse to say mild ASD repo pole can't get customer service jobs. I also have depression/anxiety/phobia of public speaking/ distrust of cliques, but I manage.

It is doable, not in anyway easy.

mamma12 Sat 03-May-14 14:07:26

Maybe you should stop reading the daily mail and get to really know your neighbors instead of being so judgmental. I have a brilliant job now, having spent one whole year applying for every single job I could. I'm educated to post graduate level and I was rejected by many employers who said I was overqualified. sorry but you really haven't got a clue. I actually pity you that you would feel so strongly about something constructed by the right wing press.

Sicaq Sat 03-May-14 15:52:34

As had been said, hundreds of people going for every job. And for many jobs qualifications work against you - will you employ the unemployed doctor of nanotechnology to fill your job in Costa or Poundland, knowing she's using it as a stopgap while she's between fixed term contracts in her actual career?

SugarMouse1 Sat 03-May-14 19:58:03

If being overqualified goes against you, just omit your qualifications then, surely?

focus on your work/voluntary experience and relevant skills.

twofingerstoGideon Sat 03-May-14 22:23:44

Yes, it's always a great idea to lie by omission on job application forms. We should all aspire to play down our hard-gained qualifications, eh?

Aspiringhuman Sat 03-May-14 22:40:10

It can be difficult to pretend you don't have qualifications. If I tried it, well actually I did try it but never used that version of my CB because it left massive gaps in my job history. Not just the time I spent studying but the years I spent doing jobs that could only be done with those qualifications.

Southeastdweller Sat 03-May-14 22:52:13

I think some clever 'massaging' on CV can be helpful, especially if it's only a short term job you're applying for.

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