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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?

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 01-May-14 22:00:54

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.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 01-May-14 22:02:26

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?

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 01-May-14 22:12:18

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!


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