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?

expatinscotland Thu 01-May-14 21:40:41

No childcare?

WestEast Thu 01-May-14 21:42:18

Lucky you for being so fabulous.

wonderinggWoman Thu 01-May-14 21:43:04

I'm certainly not fabulous.

Wantsunshine Thu 01-May-14 21:44:02

There are so many jobs in London I can kind of see your point. In some areas shops are always trying to recruit staff and can't get enough people

If there were jobs then surely the job centre would make people apply for them and stop their benefits if they didn't. They have sanctions targets to meet so would be glad not to have to invent a reason to stop someone's benefits.

Chippednailvarnish Thu 01-May-14 21:44:49

I'm also a Londoner and I'm inclined to agree with you. We don't have the same employment issues that other places have such as transport. The only issue I can see is the cost of childcare.

expatinscotland Thu 01-May-14 21:44:59

Who looked after your children if you had to work nights, weekends, split shifts?

lessonsintightropes Thu 01-May-14 21:45:00

It's tricky. I work for a homelessness charity and when people come to live in our services for a while, it's usually because things have gone fairly dramatically tits up in their lives, which also interferes with the ability to hold down a job. About half of the people we work with are in paid work by the time they leave, and the remainder are either in training or further education and well on their way. However, the minimum wage doesn't go very far, and finding a private rented property and hold onto a basic job can be very difficult for people working their way out of addiction or complete chaos (particularly young people leaving care - lots of ours do go onto uni which is a better option for many). Self-employment is a really good option for a lot of people we work with, especially street food - quite a few people we've worked with in the last six months have made a really successful transition to that way of making a living.

For people not in that situation - so many jobs are still filled through family/friendship networks (such as jobs in cafes or in construction) and sometimes it can be hard to get an in. But for those who are determined, they almost always make it.

Childcare is of course a major issue.

wonderinggWoman Thu 01-May-14 21:45:46

I feel sorry for people who have health problems etc and genuinely need help, when there are people who just can't be bothered to work.

dashoflime Thu 01-May-14 21:45:52

Your missing that council housing isn't related to benefits.

Actually: if there was more council housing there might be more people in work. The very high rents tend to set up a poverty trap- where coming off Housing Benefit is a massive risk.

Its much easier to move into work in a council tenancy

Louise1956 Thu 01-May-14 21:46:36

My friend who lives in chelsea told me that when the local Costa coffee advertised a job, they got 300 applicants. That does not give me great confidence in the availability of jobs in London.

WorraLiberty Thu 01-May-14 21:46:38

What does council accommodation have to do with being unemployed? confused

crazynanna Thu 01-May-14 21:47:13

I think there are actually more people unemployed vs jobs available. In my local (London) newspaper, there are regularly stories of queues snaking down streets outside supermarkets, etc, for a handful of vacancies.

crazynanna Thu 01-May-14 21:48:26

Oh and I live in council accomodation, and receive no HB at all.

candycoatedwaterdrops Thu 01-May-14 21:50:15

London is a big arse place; from Brent (greater London) to Westminster.

wonderinggWoman Thu 01-May-14 21:50:17

I know that many council tenants are in work. There are some I've known in rl/ seen on tv that don't work and could work though.

I know one person who took a council flat because she didn't fancy living with her parents anymore, she couldn't be bothered to get a job though and pay towards her accommodation confused

It was probably a mistake to think the TV programs had any connection with reality.

lessonsintightropes Thu 01-May-14 21:51:50

We also got 176 applications for a £20k entry level job in fundraising and communcations, and were able to give two candidates a job. It is vicious in terms of competition for jobs where there is clear career progression.

lessonsintightropes Thu 01-May-14 21:52:28

Wondering your friend is, I think, in a tiny minority of people who are currently being housed.

WorraLiberty Thu 01-May-14 21:55:19

I know that many council tenants are in work. There are some I've known in rl/ seen on tv that don't work and could work though.

And there are plenty in private lets who don't work, so I still don't see why you're bringing up council tenants?

And I'd like to know what area the person who got a council flat 'because she didn't fancy living with her parents', is in.

They're like hen's teeth here in London, especially if you are single with no children.

expatinscotland Thu 01-May-14 21:55:25

Still wondering who looked after your children when you were working odd shifts, split shifts, weekends, nights, etc?

QueenStromba Thu 01-May-14 21:57:03

I'm probably going to find it easy to get a bar job because I've got experience. Bar jobs don't stay unfilled though because it's a job that you don't need experience for. Same with waitressing. I have a couple of pubs who are going to call me when they have hours for me - they just don't have the hours now.

Blu Thu 01-May-14 21:57:08

The huge rents and childcare costs do create a poverty trap for young people who have not built up the professional experience to get better paid jobs.

However, my general belief when anyone is faced with a 'work for the same amount of benefits' opportunity is that a job is the stepping stone to promotion, training courses, life long pay rises, pension contributions etc, whereas benefits is not. (unless you can study).

I know one person who took a council flat because she didn't fancy living with her parents anymore, she couldn't be bothered to get a job though and pay towards her accommodation

The problem with that is that you can't get a council flat just because you don't want to live with your parents.

So we know what kind of thread this is don't we.

There is transport but it's expensive, there is childcare but it is expensive, there is housing but it is expensive.

Also interested here in this cheap, flexible childcare...

wonderinggWoman Thu 01-May-14 22:01:54

Expat I have a childminder who works the hours that fit with my job.

Worra my friend is/was on the outskirts of east London when she got her flat, I know she could easily get a job if she wanted to. I was actually surprised she could get a nice flat considering she had a nice place to live with her parents and wasn't ill/homeless etc.

Oh, and I worked in the area and Council housing is not given to people who don't fancy living with their parents. Even in my shitty borough it was VERY hard to get and long lists and B and B first.

Your friend or you is talking nonsense.

crazynanna Thu 01-May-14 22:03:37

My DS lived with me well into adulthood, could not afford private renting and he had more chance of fitting a spaceship up his arse than getting social 1 bed housing. Only when he got married, and they both work for local council, could they save and afford the deposit on one of those shared scheme properties for workers in certain professions...he is 30 now, and has only in the last 4 years managed this.

arethereanyleftatall Thu 01-May-14 22:04:58

aside from the issue with childcare, I agree with you. Where I live, in Hertfordshire, there is no excuse whatsoever for an able bodied childless person to not have a job.
The problem is that:
Nmw minus childcare Minus travel costs equals lower amount of money than benefits.

Amethyst24 Thu 01-May-14 22:06:01

I was made redundant in 2011 and claimed my 6 months JSA. I was a highish earner and there were NO JOBS in my field that paid the same - none. I got to interview stage for two maternity cover positions, and they both went to internal candidates.

I'm very fortunate that my redundancy money plus the income I get from a rental property plus my partner's income meant there was no crisis, and I was able to make a career for myself as a freelancer, and write a novel that's made a fair bit. But if I'd been single and less secure I honestly don't know what I'd have done.

I've now stopped looking for FT work because I don't need to. But I am not sure I'd have found another job paying the same even if I'd spent 2.5 years looking. And I'm totally unqualified to do anything outside my field.

The Jobcentre made me look for admin work and I actually laughed at them - no employer in their right mind would have employed me to do filing or whatever when they could get someone with relevant experience, who was good at the job, liked it and wanted to do it as a career.

I'm sure there are lots of people in similar situations. It's not just people wanting to work for NMW.

lessonsintightropes Thu 01-May-14 22:06:36

MrsTP - this is exactly my understanding too, it's virtually impossible to get a social housing let for anyone other than a very small proportion of homeless families, usually with other issues such as health needs/SS involvement. Most families in TA or teenage parents services (we run one) go into private rented.

wonderinggWoman Thu 01-May-14 22:06:47

Ok well I'm not going to name the borough but I can swear on my dc life that she got a flat.

I'm sorry for those who genuinely can't work, as I said in my OP, I wish they got a better time of it which they can't whilst there are those who can't be bothered.

I agree that childcare can be an issue, I'm not aiming this thread at parents.

crazynanna Thu 01-May-14 22:09:03

^ I'm also a single parent but don't see that as a reason to rely on the state^

I agree that childcare can be an issue, I'm not aiming this thread at parents.


WilsonFrickett Thu 01-May-14 22:09:24

I do know what you mean op - I haven't been out of work a day in my life. But then, I've had a brilliant life. I've been supported, educated, and I have always had the social skills which have meant customer service roles came easily to me.

Then I look at my DS who has ASD, and brilliant though he is, his condition means that most 'people' jobs will be impossible for him. Put that against a background of massive youth unemployment. And suddenly somone who on paper should be able to work easily, just like his mother... Can't.

It's not always as simple as 'I want to work, so I went to work'.

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Thu 01-May-14 22:10:19

Well, I would imagine, as crazynanna said, that there are more people looking for jobs than there are jobs available.

Also, as an example (although I'm Dublin based, so a much smaller, but still the capital city, so comparable, I think). I worked in the travel industry, which was badly hit by the recession. So when I was made redundant, there were no jobs in the industry to apply for. I applied for everything else. Unfortunately, for the available office jobs like say, GP's office, solicitor's office, university admin etc, there were always applicants that also had admin experience, but in the relevant industry. So clearly they were preferable candidates to me. I applied for shop jobs, deli counter jobs, waitressing jobs, and so on. However, I'd been sitting in an office for years, and there were again plenty of applicants who had relevant shop/waitressing experience etc. So why would a shop or restaurant owner hire me with my complete lack of applicable skills over someone who had relevant experience?

I was out of work for almost a year, and applied for anything and everything. It was a difficult time. People seem to think that the easy answer is 'oh just get a job in a shop/bar/McDonald's, or do you think you're too good for that'? I'd have done anything. But with no experience in industries that are often thrown about on here as having plenty of jobs available, it wasn't a lack of willing but a lack of experience making me an undesirable candidate. Surely that isn't too difficult to understand?

Incidentally, I finally managed to claw my way back in to the travel industry. Earning around €10k less than I was 7 yeara ago. Fucking shite, but that's just the way things are.

BIWI Thu 01-May-14 22:11:59

Did you just join Mumsnet to wonder about this? Or to ask us all if we thought you were being unreasonable?

She may have got a flat. She didn't get one at the expense of other, vulnerable people on the list, because she didn't want to live with her parents. Possibly she lied to them, or you, possibly she has issues you don't know about, possibly there is masses of Council housing in your borough...

When people talk about wages being less than benefits, there are two options, lower benefits or higher wages. I know which I think would be a better idea.

lessonsintightropes Thu 01-May-14 22:13:17

Wilson yes, you're right and it's very difficult for people with support needs to find sustainable work, particularly in a highly competitive work environment - there are some jobs out there really well suited (and supported) but not enough of them.

MaryWestmacott Thu 01-May-14 22:13:28

Well, perhaps there's unemployment because (whispers it) not everyone is equally employable? There are lots of jobs in London, there are also lots of people looking for jobs, and a lot of the shops who are always trying to recruit people still won't just take anyone - there will be more than one person to apply and some people just aren't very employable. Not being very bright, no experience or qualifications, not being very sociable, clearly lacking social skills, or just being obviously a twat, I've met some of them, these people get jobs when there are no other people who will work for that money. In London, there's always someone else.

Remember, a vast number of the jobs in London are filled by people who live outside London and commute in (including in shops and lower paid jobs). London unemployed are competiting with lots of other London unemployed, with new people coming to the city, and then all those who live outside on easy commutes in. Few cities have such good transport, meaning that few cities are you competiting with other candidates from such a wide geographical area for low paid work.

piscivorous Thu 01-May-14 22:14:55

I think in all areas of the country there are unemployed people who would love to work but are not able to for a variety of reasons but there are also unemployed people who are either unemployable or just can't be arsed.

Southeastdweller Thu 01-May-14 22:17:24

I know where you're coming from to an extent. Companies like Pret are always looking for people. They're not bothered about lack of experience.

WorraLiberty Thu 01-May-14 22:17:50

Worra my friend is/was on the outskirts of east London when she got her flat, I know she could easily get a job if she wanted to. I was actually surprised she could get a nice flat considering she had a nice place to live with her parents and wasn't ill/homeless etc.

Yes I live on the outskirts of East London too.

Now why won't you name the Borough? It's not going to identify you or your friend in any way whatsoever hmm

MooncupGoddess Thu 01-May-14 22:19:44

There is also a continual flow of keen young continental Europeans who come to London for a year or two to have fun and improve their English... I'd imagine a 21-year-old Czech with A-level equivalent and three or four languages is more attractive to a coffee shop manager than a Londoner with a couple of GCSEs and no customer service skills.

MaryWestmacott Thu 01-May-14 22:21:44

Also, when lots of people lose their jobs (as has happened recently in London), if those people can't get a job at the level they left at, will take a step down. (Like ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN ) So as well as competiting with people who are on the same level of intellegence/qualification/experience as them, they are now competiting with people who are (in job terms!) better than them. If they then can not get a job at their level, they have to take a step down. And so on, but if you are at the bottom of the pile, you have no step down in type of role to take, so you end up unemployed.

Skinheadmermaid Thu 01-May-14 22:23:52

I am unemployed. I have experience in receptionist/admin work. I have applied for hundreds of jobs and had four interviews. I've also applied for waiteressing and shop jobs but they don't want me because i do not have experience in that role. The jobs i've missed out on have gone to people with more experience then me.
I am sick to the back teeth of being given the run around by companies saying they will arrange an interview after they receive my references and never calling me back or phoning me and saying they will call me back with an interview date and not calling me back. I have spent a fortune in tube fares registering with agencies and going to interviews.
I do not claim any benefits, my fiancé is currently supporting me, God bless him.

Southeastdweller Thu 01-May-14 22:24:20

Transport expensive? A bus pass here costs little less than £80 a month. To be used all over the city. I'd say that's pretty good value.

ICanSeeTheSun Thu 01-May-14 22:31:12

I would know how to start looking for a job.

Even though I have been in the same job for 10.5 years I have only 1 reference.

Don't know how to fill in a CV or job application.

I was lucky I rang my friend boss, had an informal chat and started a few days later.

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Thu 01-May-14 22:55:03

See, that's it, MaryWest. I honestly wouldn't have considered retail or restaurant work a step down. But there are people (on here, especially) who seem to think it is, so then assume that 'professionals', like I apparently was, can easily walk in to such jobs. Not the case at all. My years of office experience with a tour operator were worth jack shit when it came to being considered for these jobs. Rightly so, too, of course the person with 3 years relevant experience should get the job over me, with all my work experience being completely unrelated to the job in question.

It's often trotted out though, that people 'decide' to remain out of work rather than take a job deemed to be 'beneath' them. I didn't consider any job to beneath me. It's just that, despite my 'professional career', blah blah, I was up against people who had much more applicable experience. So of course they got the jobs. So with that, and there being no work in the one area I had lots of experience, I ended up out of work. Again, not so difficult to understand, surely, OP?

Mary, your post has actually made me feel a bit shite, though I know that wasn't your intention. I'd hate to think that I was contributing to people having to 'step down' until there was nowhere else to go, through my applying for shop/bar etc jobs. I was just desperate. I can honestly say though, that I never got an interview for any of these jobs, presumably (hopefully) because there were applicants with much more relevant experience.

SugarMouse1 Thu 01-May-14 22:59:51

£20 a week is a lot to someone on part time minimum wage- if you only earned 100, spent 20 on transport, that would leave you with 80 a week, when the dole is 71!

If you had to get a prescription/eye test/work clothes you'd be worse off.

Besides, would you work a stressful job, getting up at 3/4 am and doing split shifts, so sometimes finishing at 10 pm too, just for nine quid a week!


SugarMouse1 Thu 01-May-14 23:02:01


You do realize people often aren't honest in interviews? It's fine to exaggerate that you did that type of work a long time ago.

Or it's possible to gain retail/cafe experience by volunteering

I live in London was unemployed for 18 months recently, no childcare issues, but after 25 years works in the same field I was made redundant, no jobs in that field, and I applied for other stuff but no experience and they could pay school leavers less to do these jobs. I now have a job in retail, but was a fluke that I got that job, as it was through a friend, other retail jobs i applied for i didn't even get an interview.

MrsD0nnaLyman Thu 01-May-14 23:21:03

When I left my student job in a London pub for my graduate job in 2011 there were over 30 applicants for my post. 75% were educated to degree level and all had at least 3y experience of bar work (generally from student jobs). While I was working there every single one of us had a degree.

Around a year ago, DH advertised for a receptionist at work. They received over 150 applications for the one post. They only have 8 admin staff in total.

That is why single people can remain unemployed in London.

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Thu 01-May-14 23:30:32

SugarMouse, I'm sure many people do lie in interviews, and on their CVs. I wouldn't, though. Every job I have ever had was obtained based on my experience and merit. I wouldn't be happy misrepresenting my experience to get a job, and in doing so, taking a job away from someone who did have the relevant experience. That just would not sit well with me. I'd feel unethical in doing so.

I'm working now anyway, in a job that I do have the relevant experience for, so this is no longer something that I personally have to deal with. I was just illustrating for the OP how someone with experience in a specific industry can find themselves out of work, despite there being a possible abundance of 'unskilled' jobs in their geographical area.

Also, I honestly don't know a shop or restaurant locally that takes on volunteer staff, except charity shops. All of our local charity shops have huge waiting lists of prospective volunteers.

I'm a single, childless person living in n London...I've been unemployed since November...this is despite applying for a minimum of 10 jobs a day...I've had umpteen interviews but for every job, they are receiving 100+ applications. I applied for a nanny job and they had 238 applications in just under 24h...there are, unfortunately, far mor applicants then jobs.

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Thu 01-May-14 23:59:33

Exactly, IHope. There are far, far more applicants than there are jobs available. Before I got back into the travel industry, I worked in Security at Dublin Airport. I had 3 interviews over the course of a week for that job. The DAA hire in groups rather than hiring individuals (as obviously it is more cost effective to train one group of 12, than it is 12 individuals). For our group of 12 hires, there was around 900 applicants. 900. So 888 people applied and got nowhere. 888 people who attempted to get that job. Most unemployed people really do want to work.

lilola Fri 02-May-14 00:16:09


MaryWestmacott Fri 02-May-14 06:27:52

Shadows, sorry, I didn't mean to upset you. Realistically,

MaryWestmacott Fri 02-May-14 06:36:29

Shadow, sorry I didn't mean to upset you. Realistically, when there are more available labour than jobs, then employers can be more picky, more demanding about who they employ, and why take a risk on someone with no experience when you can someone with experience for the same money? Why take someone with no qualifications when you can get someone with them (even if they aren't needed for the role)? Why pay more than you have to for experience and skills?

When the tables are turned, when there's not many people with skills and experience needed, or just not many people prepared to do low paid work, then wages rise to compete for staff.

However (at the risk of sounding a bit UKIP) in London local people have to deal with large numbers of migrants who do plug the gap in times of labour shortages at the lower job levels, stopping the rise in wages an the situation where companies have to accept those with very limited cvs/skills.

twofingerstoGideon Fri 02-May-14 06:38:28

Isn't it astonishing how many brand new posters are on MN posting about things like unemployment, benefits, etc.?

Welcome to Mumsnet wonderinggWoman...

Chunderella Fri 02-May-14 08:19:17

The reason some people are unemployed in London is because there are fewer vacancies than there are people who want and can take them. Simples.

vrtra Fri 02-May-14 08:24:36

I always feel sorry for these people whose " friends" come on here to slag off their work status and life choices in the guise of anecdotes about "my friend who's never worked a day in her life". Why not say it to their faces if you think they are such terrible people?

vrtra Fri 02-May-14 08:25:03

Of course it would help if they existed.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Fri 02-May-14 08:27:46

to wonder why anyone is unemployed in London?

because if you don't get much more money for working than claiming out of work benefits, its rational to choose not to work. which also means you avoid the costs of working.

Preciousbane Fri 02-May-14 08:32:07

I am not in London but my friend interviews and regarding people taking a job well beneath their professional level. She received dozens of applications for the lowest grade admin job in her company, only just above minimum wage. All applications from graduates were not considered.

I can certainly believe someone not wanting a zero hours contract and remaining on benefits. My next door neighbour had one but as a second income, one week she worked 4 hours.

sarahquilt Fri 02-May-14 08:37:26

I'm amazed by it too op. I'm an immigrant in the area and I and all of my friends who are immigrants have never been without a job for the years we've been here. London is teeming with opportunities.

JassyRadlett Fri 02-May-14 09:00:33

You forget that not everyone looking for work is unemployed, and that not all vacancies will go to an unemployed person. It's massively easier to get a job when you have a job.

There is also the issue that many people, for whatever reasons, don't necessarily have the basic maths or the 'soft' skills needed for customer-facing jobs, and non-services jobs that are unskilled are not so common.

Third issue is the hugely itinerant nature of London that drives competition for all jobs - working holidaymakers, students and other short term workers etc with experience or who present well, who drop in and out of employment without ever touching the welfare system.

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

You can't look at unemployment figures and number of jobs advertisements and use this as proof of there being enough jobs for every body to earn a living.

Unemployment figures only count those on out of work benefits. There are also people out of work and job seeking yet not receipt of benefits. There are also people who've taken zero hours or very part time positions in preference to nothing.

As for the job adverts. Some are 'ghost' jobs placed by agencies to collect information. Some are duplicate adverts for the same job. For the actual jobs a growing proportion are zero hours contracts and many are part time (some 10 hrs per week or less).

By listening to the Government's crude figures you are in danger of grossly underestimating the number of people looking for work whilst simultaneously overestimating the work available to them.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Fri 02-May-14 09:14:53

however it is remarkable (last time I checked) that tower hamlets in central London had some of the highest unemployment in the country.

Lovecat Fri 02-May-14 09:18:24

I too live on the outskirts of East London <waves to Worra and wonders where she lives> and have lived in my borough for 26 years.

In that time I've seen friends on the council housing list for about 10 years before they were granted the smallest of small flats. That was the late 90's. Now the situation is even worse and would-be council tenants are being put in B&Bs and bedsits because there is no available housing. My niece's friend got pregnant 2 years ago and was thrown out of her parents house (strict religious parents), the council put her up in a homeless hostel for the course of the pregnancy and then with her baby for 3 months until she got allocated a tiny bedsit via a private landlord who does nothing to maintain the property.

I find it hard to believe that your friend was just 'given' a council flat. Unless she has underlying issues that you are unaware of, this just didn't happen.

Lovecat Fri 02-May-14 09:27:24

And there are plenty of jobs where I live. I haven't been able to get one though. I'm either too old, too qualified, not qualified enough, it won't fit around school hours/pay enough to make it worth the childcare, 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.

Thankfully I bagged a rich husband so when I got made redundant after 30 years solid working since leaving school, I am able to sit on my arse and MN all day if I so wish (I'm not, honest! I am retraining and volunteering to get the experience I need for what I want to do). Not everyone is in that position nor would wish to be.

Preciousbane Fri 02-May-14 09:37:06

Lovecat have you watched the documentary about council housing in Tower Hamlets? Called how to get a council house. I'm not in London and knew it was difficult but not that difficult, it was an eye opener for me.

I have ended up not working due to health issues and have a DH with a decent job. I realised how absolutely screwed I would be if single once I looked in to if I would have to survive alone.

mummytime Fri 02-May-14 09:48:57

My DN is working with a charity which is setting up a new Cleaning agency because: lots of people are "employed" but on zero hours contract, at minimium wage and with no help with transport. A lot of "jobs" in London are like this. They don't pay enough to cover costs, and do not provide regular hours (so child care is very difficult).

Lancelottie Fri 02-May-14 10:12:57

Companies like Pret are always looking for people. They're not bothered about lack of experience.

Yes, but (like Wilson) I have a child with ASD, who would probably say quite honestly in interview that the noise did his head in, that when stressed he tends to throw things or rock in a corner, and that he gags at the sight of 'mixed up' food.

I wouldn't employ him for anything customer-facing!

Sazzle41 Fri 02-May-14 10:18:27

I live in London. An huge amount of the jobs, even say doing two, wouldnt cover the rent of even a studio flat. Child care costs are now beyond most people unless you are both earning so people without extended family are stuck. As lessonsintightropes said, competition is vicious and my agencies have all said 'candidate rich market means they interview even for 1 week temp jobs'. Times have changed, go on any job site that covers London and there are only a third of the jobs there were pre recession.

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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