Up or down… I can’t tell, can you?

Last week we had some good news… unemployment figures were down!

Brilliant!

Then I was listening to the radio on the way home… and I have to say it was a long drive from Shropshire to Edinburgh!

I must admit, it was the business section of the Simon Mayo Drivetime show on Radio 2, so the analysis wasn’t, umm, in depth, but went something like this:

What brilliant news, the unemployment figures have fallen by some 33,000!

But, of course, there is a caveat. The number of people in employment is also down. What? How can that be?

Unemployment is down but so is employement!

Apparently, went the story on Radio 2, people are using the fact they’ve been lost their job to do other things; it seems we’ve legitimised the mid life crisis! The newly out of work are not registering as unemployed, they are going off around the world or taking a sabbatical to write a book or getting involved, unpaid, in charity work or any one of a number of other things… including joining the ranks of Enterprise Britain.

Add to this the underlying stats, too, about long-term unemployment increasing (up by 61,000) and the number of over fifties out of work (up 14,000) and the picture just isn’t as rosy as at first glance.

Having said all this, the negative figures in some key sectors of the labour market can be seen as a real opportunity for us in Enterprise Britain for a couple of reasons.

The first is that there is suddenly a whole lot of talent available to EB that has previously been locked up in larger organisations on much higher salaries than we could otherwise afford. The second benefit is that there are some good government schemes available to us to help get people back into work.

For example, I was talking to a guy the other day who was going to have a seniors operations person joining his business for three months on a ‘try it and see’ basis and the government was picking up the salary.

At the end of three months, he was telling me, either he would take over the salary and the Ops Manager joins the business or they part company with no further come back.

What a great scheme for everyone involved.

It also illustrates, in a round about way, why EB is so important to the economy and for the government. This scheme, as far as I’m aware is only available for EB businesses… why is this?

It’s because government (at least sub consciously) sees our business sector as a great untapped resource for reducing unemployment. If only they would shift their understanding from their subconscious to the conscious and support us other, more direct ways…

Anyone else nervous about the budget?

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