November 20, 2017

400,000 Euros per job created ? There is a better way…

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Minister for Unemployment Batt O'Keefe

Recently, The Minister for Trade Enterprise and (Un)Employment Mr. Batt O’Keeffe ,announced the creation of 50 high-tech jobs, at a cost of €20 million. Not surprisingly these jobs are are to be created in his constituency. Think about that for a moment, €400,000 for each job created. And even then, the profits are repatriated to the parent companies Country of origin.

According to the government’s “Jobs and Growth 2010” report, all of the state enterprise development agencies combined are going to create 100,000 jobs over the next five years. that’s 20,000 jobs per year or 400 jobs per week. Given the current economic recession it is extremely unlikely that any of these jobs will be created in the next two years. Even if they were created, they would only make a small dent in the 460,000 adults presently unemployed. So, do the other 300,000 people stay at home for the next five years and wait to see what happens, after 2015? I for one, am incredibly curious as to where these jobs will be created.

I have gone through approximately 10 different government reports looking for a cost per job created by each state agency in 2009, but to no avail. The majority of the government’s publications relating to job creation are totally aspirational and non-specific. They bang on and on about upskilling the existing workforce or retraining those who are presently unemployed.

They talk as if ,by having a particular skill, you are inevitably going to find employment. This is where their entire job strategy(?) falls over. The reality is, that they do not have a credible job creation strategy. They are simply waiting and hoping that something somewhere will emerge that will get them off the hook.

Until we actually create new jobs we are never going to solve this economic crisis. The first thing this country needs is to acknowledge and recognise the competency and skill sets that exist among the unemployed. Most of these people do not require further training or upskilling.

What they want ,more than anything else is assistance with creating a job for themselves. the people who are unemployed are not stupid or uneducated, but they are totally ignored. Given the magnitude of the red tape that exists when starting any enterprise in this country, it is no wonder it is so difficult.

The fact that the majority of people who are unemployed are also existing on social welfare assistance, would suggest that they cannot afford to employ professionals to assist them with a business start-up. Sure, there are some places available on a start your own business course but, the reality is, that it generally takes money to get the business off the ground. And money is something that is in very short supply when you’re on social welfare.

An interesting take on why we are where we are.

We continuously hear the government talking of entrepreneurship, which is a new departure for them. I doubt many can even spell the word never mind understand what it means to be one. Indeed, it would be very interesting to ask a number of TDs what their understanding of the word is. To me, it means that a person is willing to do anything and everything possible in order to create wealth. There are a lot of us out there.

All that is required for these people to create their own jobs is a small amount of financial assistance from the government and a lot of guidance from experienced and knowledgeable people. I am not talking about people who stand in front of classrooms and lecture about business. I’m talking about people who have been through the experience of starting, running and making a success of a company.

Broadly speaking I believe the government should employ experienced and educated people who are presently unemployed to advise anyone on the live register, who wishes to start a business. There are tens of thousands of people presently unemployed who have good education and extensive experience in the SME sector.

Instead of simply creating more ‘jobs for the boys’ I suggest that these positions be remunerated relative to the success of the company’s which they have had to advise from start-up. Indeed, I don’t think it would be a major problem to incorporate a shareholding for the adviser in all of the start-ups. This way, the adviser to the start-up company has a very strong personal ,as well as financial interest, in the start-ups success.

By way of opening the discussion. I suggest that the government launch a scheme whereby up to 50,000 euros can be made available to any person who has a credible costed plan for a new business, which can demonstrate a minimum of five new jobs created over the next three years. If a person does not know how to put together a business plan the government should provide them with the education that is required, until such time as their plan is acceptable to the mentor’s.

This proposal would not mean handing a blank cheque to anybody who wants to start a business. The mentors must be sufficiently satisfied that the business proposition is credible. Furthermore, they are unlikely to award 50,000 euros in totality, unless they are certain that it is critical to the success of the proposed venture. If it does not succeed, then the mentor will have to take approximately 50% cut in their salary or forego an equivalent ‘success bonus’. Consequently, it will be in their personal interests to ensure that the business get all the support and mentoring it requires over those three years.

Many of these business will fail but many more may succeed potentially creating tens of thousands of new jobs and possibly whole new industries. We know how to identify new opportunities and markets, we just need a little assistance in exploiting them. Seeing that we are smart enough to attract the most technical industries to this Country, turning some of that talent on ourselves would be no bad thing.

If the government would simply stop interfering and let us get on with job creation, we will create the jobs that the economy can sustain. Furthermore, I estimate that that thousands of new business’s would be created in the Country by us, the unemployed. We have the ideas, education, drive and determination to succeed. All we need is a little bit of help, less red tape, less queuing, less form filling and less of being treated like ‘the accused’ when we attempt to engage a public servant and just let us get on with it.

We are quite smart, you know.

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