Right you lazy FIRE 50-something layabouts – Britain needs YOU

Listen up, y’all Feckless FIRE Folk. Kwasi here, and the problem Britain is having is that you bunch of layabouts CBA to show up for work. This Will Not Do.

While unemployment is at is at its lowest rate for nearly 50 years, the high number of vacancies that still exist and inactivity in the labour market is limiting economic growth

So wotcha gonna do about it, Kwa? Well, apparently

Anyone who works fewer than 15 hours per week on the National Living Wage will have to attend coaching sessions at job centres and prove they are trying to increase their earnings.

That’s highly interesting, Kwa. I am one of these feckless gits, so exactly whaddya gonna do about it if a mustelid remains sleeping in a curl and decides to pass on your coaching sessions?

A sleeping stoat
A sleeping mustelid, with the tail curled back to the tip of the snout. Do Not Disturb…

“will require benefit claimants working up to 15 hours a week to take new steps to increase their earnings or face having their benefits reduced. “

What benefits, Kwa? When I left work I didn’t take up the 6 months Jobseeker’s Allowance I would in theory have been entitled to, because I did not want to subject myself to your despicable goons at the Jobcentre mouthing off that finding a job is a job and all sorts of mealy-mouthed metrics making a misery of life. So I walked away from £72*26= £1872, basically for the sake of retaining my mental health. I’ve still always held that against the System, particularly when I had a check of my NI record to establish how many years I needed for a State Pension. At least I saved a lot of money on NI by picking about seven years up at the absolute steal of £150-ish a year of Class II. So excuse me, Kwasi, me old mucker, if I twitch my mustelid snout, exhale a weary “whatevs, Kwa” and keep the muzzle in contact with the black tip of my tail and return to sleep.

More fundamentally, Kwasi, this is cost cutting, it’s not going for growth, which I hear is the new great hope. Oddly enough despite not being a rabid devotee of Ludwig Von Mises, I’m not totally without sympathy for the viewpoint. We have tried the austerity route for the last 12 years, and it doesn’t really look like it’s ending well. I’m not even that uptight about bankers’ salaries, bonuses, whatever. Making money out of money is one of the few things that Britain does well. Perhaps it is time to try and grow the pie, in which case, Kwa, you’re looking the wrong bloody way. Git ya snout out of the Benefits Street trap. You’re right that perhaps Britain isn’t gainfully employing many of its old gits, but stick with the bankers’ bonuses principle and don’t start firefighting the bottom end.

As an example, I am a chartered engineer. Last year I was able to earn a damn sight more that the National Living Wage at £9.50 ph, which is apparently what the National Minimum Wage is called these days if you are over 23. My working pattern was extremely part time and doesn’t even fit your stupid weekly assignment. When the customer want a job done and I was on the critical path, it was fast and furious for up to fifteen hours a day. Followed by long periods of bugger all. What the UK really doesn’t need is any more minimum wage hours. It needs people earning a better screw. It’s hardly going to create that much trickle down wealth having more over 50s cleaning toilets three-and-a-bit hours a day on NMW, is it? We told furreners to piss off and stop doing these bottom-end jobs in 2016, and it looks like we don’t fancy doing them that much either 😉 We get to put up with shitty toilets or the rate for the job goes up. That’s capitalism, innit?

More recently, Covid has probably made people think about what they value in life, and perhaps work ain’t all that? Regardless, Kwa could do with thinking more laterally here. I am now past the official normal retirement age for The Firm, though it’s still a while before I get to draw my State Pension. The Baby Boomers are retiring, which means a large lump of bodies and experience is leaving some industries like farming and construction – there is increasing desperation in the number of job ads I am getting snowed with through Linkedin and the IET, to the extent I am toying with leaving LinkedIn, though it’s a nice way to keeps tabs on ex-colleagues without the rampant evil that is Facebook.

Presumably some of these higher value jobs actually need doing, and both Kwa and employers could do well to widen the way they look, because I would say that what Britain needs is more high-value work getting done, and perhaps if these feckless over 50s are clearing off then maybe they need conventions or other gatherings where specific projects can be matched with specific people, because what these old gits probably want is more flexibility and they often don’t need a permanent job or a career track.

I can understand the problem for employers1, this sort of diffuse and messy talent pool is probably hard to qualify and manage – can they do the job? Will they do the job? It’s the problem of managing part-timers versus ft employees, but writ large. But if things are this hard for employers, maybe they need to suck it up, or leave the job undone.. And if you really believe in going for growth and trickle-down economics, Kwasi, then I’d say this is a more rewarding fire to fight in terms of adding value to the economy than harassing minimum wage workers. Because, in the shibboleth of trickle-own economics, these people earning high rates will pay more tax. I paid tax on 100% of my earnings last year due to other income being over the personal allowance. So I was contributing a damn sight more to His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs than Kwa’s putative army of greybeards working 16 hours a week on NMW, which is £8k p.a, rather less than the £12k personal allowance so they will be paying diddly squat in tax.

A random walk to a Jobcentre

I was in the City of Wells recently. Lovely cathedral, many coffee shops. Nearly all of which are hiring 😉 As I wandered past the Jobcentre I thought to myself this joint ain’t been painted since New Labour times. Usual dispiriting notice from G4S on the door that beating the staff up Will Not Be Tolerated. Seriously, why do they bother? It’s not like some I, Daniel Blake desperado is going to rock up to the Jobcentre ready to beat the living shit out of someone as the frustration of having some pimply youth tell him for the 19th time that looking for a job is a full-time job etc gets his goat. He reads G4S’s notice and think “Oh, I’ll not do that, I’ll turn round and kick the cat instead”.  But what it does do is make ordinary people think this is a horrible place where hope comes to die. It’s tough enough if you have lost your job without being told that this is a place that is so dispiriting punters end up wanting to lamp someone. Even if it’s the case, just don’t set the scenery that way, eh? Anyway, what have we got here? Under Way to Work and a faded rainbow, we have from top left

Jobcentre ads

Teachers, boarding house cleaners and more at the local third-rate public school. You can tell a public school is for Rich But Dim rugrats when it’s all about the sports facilities and the Equestrian Centre, puhleese you poncey pretenders. However, if you’re looking for a job it’s probably OK. The problem is that bus fares are dear (or perhaps the Ermine is tight, I have taken Margaret Thatcher’s dictum about buses to heart and haven’t been on one for ages, but the last time I did use one I thought it was dear) in this region, the return trip will nuke a fair part of one of your NMW hours, and it’s a fair way to cycle from Wells to Street where the job is.

Getting people to pay for aspirational education seems something Somerset is exceptionally good at. Seriously, if you can’t afford to pay for a first-rung independent school for the precious fruit of your loins than save the 100k pounds2 in an ISA and buy a good chunk of their first house for them, it’s a better allocation of capital.

Next up is a Sales Advisor at Seasalt in Wells. I think we used to know that as ‘shop assistant’, at least it’s round the corner.

There’s a curious recursiveness about the one at Fusion Recruitment. I couldn’t work out if the recruit will be recruiting others, or it is simply a job agency which will take 50% of your money for finding you work. If there’s one thing that would improve the lot of the low-paid, it would be a stipulation that employers recruit their staff and employ them themselves, rather than have layer upon layer of agencies top-slicing what it costs to pay people. I am old enough to remember when companies directly employed their cleaners and janitors. Even if we can’t return to those halcyon days, I think intermediaries should be regulated down to one layer of salary-salami-slicing scamming scum only between the worker and the company that benefits from the end result.

Now we have a technician job working for Wells Cathedral School, another independent school. WTF is it with Somerset and public schools. At least this crew charge the going rate, rather than the pound shop specials.

Another recruitment agency, then some construction work, more shop work before we come to ‘highly skilled work’

High skilled work

Presumably that’s Jobcentre speak for ‘better than National Minimum Wage’  – a Wookey Hole tour guide. Below is an ad for electronics engineers at Tizo. Orthography is slapdash at the Jobcentre, I spotted errors on the company name in several of the tickets, clearly the Jobcentre can’t find the data entry staff. This is in fact for Trizo Ltd. Maybe the typos are a general intelligence test to see if you deserve the better than minimum wage pay grade – if you can parse the errors and recover an actionable signal then you get the cigar. The second high skill work was British Solar Renewables, job unspecified. I could probably pitch for either of those. Indeed, Somerset seems to have a surprising number of electronics and aerospace companies recruiting, more or less all the time. That could have been useful information for me, ten or fifteen years ago 😉

Low-skilled Work. Zilch. Nada. None

This is where Kwa is going to run into trouble dumping on the hapless low-skilled greybeards. No fricking jobs anywhere to be seen.

Concentrate your fire on the high-value jobs that the ageing baby-boomers are walking out of. I can think of engineering and nursing as two examples – engineering because I know the field and the flood of recruitment is increasing, not falling back, and nursing because demographics and changes made years ago making this a graduate-only role – I don’t know if that made sense or not but slapping a £30k up-front barrier  isn’t going to help in an industry with a quarter of the workforce over 55.The age profile of engineering isn’t anywhere near as bad, so I don’t know what the problem is with that. Whatever it is, Kwa, don’t piss about at the NMW end.

Either upskill the flipping heck out of your more talented school-leavers – if you can identify those university course that go in this direction then grants and not loans like it was back when these old folk were young. Previous generations managed to afford that because they did not shy from telling kids they failed exams, and they considered university for the 10%, not the 50%. A modern economy can probably carry a higher percentage, but if it’s on a grant basis then perhaps target courses where more than 50% of the graduates end up paying higher rate tax for 10 years, I am sure the ONS could do something here, and don’t stick with university – if a trade pays HRT for 10 years then subsidise that training too. The country needs higher rate taxpayers, there’s not many of ’em but they pay 2/3 of the income tax take

The advantage of training young people is firstly, well, they are young. They have more working life ahead of them – the 50 somethings by definition have only 17 years tops of working life left in ’em. Plus the young are short of money, because they will want to buy houses and spew out kids, so they are unlikely to go part-time. Whereas your old geezers are probably more precious about their time, because they have less of it left, which is presumably why they are scarpering in droves, or reading FIRE blogs dreaming of it. I was that guy, once 😉  They are more likely to work part-time, or save like madmen into pensions, all of which impairs the tax take. But I’m all for matching remaining higher-value jobs with them, because getting higher-value jobs done is probably more useful than another couple of hours out of people on NMW.


  1. My sympathy for employers doesn’t run terribly deep, however, because they have themselves to blame in many cases. 30 years ago, employers used to train their staff in the intricacies of technical jobs, whereas now they tend to holler that universities should do that. They don’t, and perhaps shouldn’t, but as I got older I saw more and more contractors make some quite tyro mistakes as some fields, like analogue and RF design seemed to fade from the collective armoury. Both of these fields are art as much as science – experience and inquisitiveness matter. Similarly, a great software engineer is 100 times better than a good one, not 10 times better. Sadly while I was able to reach goodness I never reached greatness there, but I could recognise it when I saw it. 
  2. derived from the first school’s £9510 pa day fees, and assuming 11 to 18 so eight years inclusive = 76k plus 33 for the prep school which is presumably public-school-speak for what civilians know as primary school. If you want them to drive a horse, which is a big thing at that school, then that’s £7000 a year extra, Sir. Character-building no doubt. I can tell this is not a top tier school because apparently independent school fees are normally £15k pa, so 5 to 18 will set you back £200k. The other independent school on this job board is reassuringly expensive at 15k pa, and specialises is something other than sports and horseyculture, so presumably is a cut above :) 

31 thoughts on “Right you lazy FIRE 50-something layabouts – Britain needs YOU”

    1. Ah, we aren’t talking London prices. Or Eton 😉 The IFA article is from July this year, and says

      According to the Financial Times, the average fee for independent schools is currently £15,191 per child per year, increasing to £36,000 for children who board.

      I was taking the day rate. Having said that, boarding seems to be a Somerset speciality. Mrs Ermine and I ate at the Hauser and Wirth place in Bruton, which felt like an suburb of London – Time Out featured it, I half expected to run into a Tube station, though the prices in the restaurant were within the groove. Anyway, this town of 3000 people is home to not one, but two boarding schools for some reason that escapes me.

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  1. IMO, the typo says an awful lot!
    This part of Kwa’s ‘plan’ is just some raw meat for the more rabid Tory party members, not a serious attempt at anything useful. Much like a lot of politics today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting – I know one of EMI’s alumni, though I didn’t realise the site had been in Wells, I’d assumed it was in Bristol. Also seems a surprising amount of recruitment based in Yeovil, which is a place that looks like hope went there to die from the state of the town centre. Shame the A37 chunters through it via an interminable string of roundabouts. And driving up past Crewkerne I was surprised to run across the modest facilities of IQD who made some crystals for an amateur radio conversion for me in the early 1990s, as well as a few custom TCXOs for me at work in the later 1990s. Presumably the aerospace biz was enough to support that sort of specialised component manufacturer in the early 1970s.

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      1. In its heyday EMI had sites around the country.
        Re Wells: IIRC, some signature management work still goes on at Wookey Hole.

        Yeovil is home to Leonardo Helicopters, which you may know better as Westlands.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cause of some upset with Hezza ISTR back in the day. Actually the one piece of light around Yeovil is the RNAS museum full of boys’ toys and a chance to see just how cramped Concorde really was!

        Interesting that Leonardo is still hiring in Yeovil and Bristol. Maybe I should have moved here 20 years ago, since electronics was my first love, not so much software. Though I did have to rise up the greasy pole towards the management end, since Britain despises non-managers, so the fact that I was a better electronics engineer than software engineer was masked a little bit by a slightly less dreadful way with people than your average geeky engineer pushed into management. All water under the bridge now.

        Perhaps I should be more open minded about Yeovil. All I know about it is from passing through it on the main roads, and perhaps like few cities present their best faces to the railway lines (with a notable exception for Edinburgh Waverley) . High Streets are depressing up and down the land these days.

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      3. FWIW, some of the very best software engineers I ever worked with were ex hardware engineers. IMO you are completely correct about ‘black arts’ such as microwave and analogue.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re not wrong. You can spot a failing business, their only strategy is cost cutting as they can’t develop revenues and have no pricing power.

    If the government focussed on developing high value industries….not fracking, which will never happen, or any of the other head banger,libertarian Austrian economists/fantasists wet dreams….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, ICT, some Biotech around the fabled Oxford/Cambridge non-corridor, Film/TV/music, renewables, some high-tech microelectronics f’rinstance. There’s not actually a dearth of possible targets. I believe the Kwa and Truss wrote a tract along those lines. We’re not even that bad at football and pop music, which they said addled young Britons’ brains 😉

      I have never found a public library copy or even a way to get hold of an ahem, unauthorised PDF and I am sure as hell not going to pay for that sort of rubbish, so I am light on details, but if Britain were a company it’s been one that focuses on cost centres rather than profit centres for the last decade. That doesn’t usually go along with a bright future.

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  3. I’m lucky that I haven’t had the need to go into a Job Centre since I was a student looking for summer jobs. Despite having a bunch of A levels I found they just offered low wage jobs to students, I assumed because it was temporary.

    Back then I ended up with a job centre placing in a plastic coatings factory for a few weeks. The most interesting part was I found how how those wire racks they used to have in fridges got coated in plastic. I went home and pulled a rack out of our fridge and there it was, the little bit of snipped off wire used to hang the almost red hot heated metal rack into a vat of plastic powder stuff agitated with air blown up through it. I dipped hundreds of those things and snipped the wire off. I felt sorry for the lads who worked there full time, maybe they got out of there eventually. There was no health and safety stuff then to make you wear a mask to stop the powder getting in your lungs, or if there was nobody did because it was too hot and uncomfortable. This stuff should all be done by automation / robots now.

    It turned out the better option for student summer jobs was to go through the Physics department at IC – I got a placement at the CEGB Research labs for a summer which was much more interesting.

    It’s interesting that you found some tech jobs advertised through the job centre though. I did used to see that occasionally around the Cambridge area when idly looking after I finished college, plenty of tech companies around there. As a career software tech worker I mostly wrote off looking in Job Centres for placements as my work area seemed too specialised for what they had. No internet late 1980s so one job was found looking at ads in a PC / computer magazine and just ringing up one to chance it – I bagged a job with a startup (it tanked, but was fun and led on to other things with many learnings). Otherwise it was specialist magazines like Computer Weekly – the job centre was really a last hope resort.

    I won’t be taking up Kwasi’s offer for over 50s, I’ve got my retirement stash to spend down on more interesting things! What’s he going to do about all use refusers though – try and pass a law to conscript us into some low wage jobs?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. > red hot heated metal rack into a vat of plastic powder stuff agitated with air blown up through it

      That’s really cool, I’d assumed it was something like Plasti-Dip

      > the job centre was really a last hope resort.

      I was surprised to see those tech jobs too. I was only in a job centre a couple of times as i was unemployed in Thatcher’s first recession for six months after graduating. They were pretty decent, really, one interview, got the forms singed, we haven’t really got anything for you, piss off and come back in six months if you are still unemployed. I found my first job in the paper. Some tricky high-impedance feedback on some optical sensors, sometimes we had to hang the circuit boards on a hook and dip in a container of boiling Arklone P, otherwise known as 1,1,2-trichlorotrifluorethane. Made you very light-headed if you were in there too long 😉

      > What’s he going to do about all us refusers though – try and pass a law to conscript us into some low wage jobs?

      One of the problems specifically identified in Britannia Unchained which Kwa co-authored with Liz Truss was in fact specifically

      The British are among the worst idlers in the world. We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor.

      So all you FIRE sorts, consider yourselves on report and the red dot is on your heads…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. The UK now has few ways to pay for its collective standard of living it can’t afford, due to decades of mismanagement with the resultant economic vandalism, characterised by cyclical crises in which the state bails out the rich and powerful. This year’s wheeze so far is bailing out the too-big-to-fail energy companies as their pharma equivalents have had their turn. That debt always accumulates to be paid for by the current and unborn generations of the powerless – this is the reality of trickle-down economics, aka re-heated Thatcherite neoliberalism. The elite can get away with pulling this scam repeatedly because the public wail with the pain that is the only real thing trickling down, yet dutifully line up next time to vote for the same bunch of charlatans come election time. It seems beyond their capacity to understand that if you reward someone for mugging you, they will keep doing it. This is strange because school bullies reliably teach everyone this for free all the time.

    As you allude to though, this latest apparatchik (channelling economic policy written out by right-wing think tanks funded by the billionaire brotherhood) knows perfectly well that his claims are lies, but he’s paid to be the piper and wants his 30 pieces of silver. To be fair to him, his recent predecessors had limited time at the trough, so he has to dispense with the usual banal platitudes and get to looting fast. When international investors work out the UK can’t pay back its record debts because it doesn’t make much or sell much of value externally to get foreign exchange for critical imports, they’ll short the £ as well as UK plc.

    The over 50’s probably are not obeying the call in droves because it’s simply not worth it for survival wages, once you deduct the job costs of a job, commuting, clothes etc. and for insecure work at that. Those poor enough to have no choice will be already working these jobs waiting for a miracle to save them or death, whichever comes sooner, so that public call is just dogwhistling to the ruling party faithful that everything is under control. It’s not like they need to be democratically elected anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yup, I’d like to claim it was clairvoyance or genius on my part, but its obvious, as is their real strategy. Naomi Klein explained it ages ago in her book ‘The Shock Doctrine’, it’s called disaster capitalism, those with power create a disaster or use one gifted randomly by fate to rip off the masses while they’re disorientated by a catastrophe.

        What should happen next then, is that the supposedly independent central bank raises interest rates at nosebleed speed so ordinary mortgage-holders lose their properties and then the already wealthy can pick them up at fire-sale prices.

        Knowing this and having too much in cash, I am metaphorically biting my fingernails over what currencies to switch most of my £ into to avoid a significant haircut in savings, but all major currencies have been similarly debased, while other asset classes are also overvalued. Maybe just hedge quite a bit into the $ on the basis that it’s the least bad nag in the knacker’s yard. Difficult times for the sheeple and being a black sheep’s no fun either, enough knowledge to see you’re in sh*t, but not enough to know how to get out of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. > What should happen next then, is that the supposedly independent central bank raises interest rates at nosebleed speed so ordinary mortgage-holders lose their properties

        For eight long years I have been wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong again with this post. I feel its time is nigh. On a stopped-clock principle if nothing else. Britain’s over-extended mortgage borrowers just aren’t ready for a reversion of interest rates to their 6-7% historical mean

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  5. Hey, I agree with your assertion that reversion to the mean with mortgage interest rates is just a case of overdue reality asserting itself. I meant more that in precipitating that, the connected can profit massively by speculating on gyrations in the property market, whilst for ordinary people the outcome is always going to be higher rents, mortgages and losing homes.

    Still, it’ll be interesting to see it dawning on the half of the population that repeatedly voted in the extremists, (until the Tory party was purged into Ukip in all but name) how it’ll be working out for them. Do the ‘red wall rebels’ feel levelled up now?

    And there will be an avalanche of higher, unavoidable bills still working their way through the process, because this budget was effectively a devaluation of the £. Ironic then that in their alleged pursuit of ‘sovereignty’, the assorted bigots who went all in, will mostly no longer afford to live in their own country, since it has been covertly sold off from beneath them, to foreigners at that.

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    1. > it has been covertly sold off from beneath them, to foreigners at that.

      Them furreners seems less keen that they were. I have some sympathy for the viewpoint that this is probably the only way Brexit can get done, economically. It’s shit or bust time 😉 Project Fear did say that Brexit would be an economic disaster, and it seems to be turning out that way. Not so bad if you are rich, perhaps not so absolutely terrible if you are asset-rich. Possibly OK if you are one of people at the low end competing against low-wage EU migration.

      The destitute, those we used to call the middle classes, people with too many kids, the chronically ill, well, you’re toast, probably.

      I got a sneaking admiration for Kwa, in that at least he’s not cakeist. He’s pretty much laid it out whose end of the boat has to go down and whose end goes up to Make Brexit work. As for the Red Wall, at least they are getting what they voted for. Either they were those who were losing out to the EU migrants, in which case they rationally voted in tune with their interests, and have positively got what they wanted. If not, well, tough luck. Voting has consequences.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I just laughed so much at this post. Far better than a couple of comedy acts I watched in the Edinburgh Fringe.

    I have some retired friends who still work. One is a cautionary tale of a family man who continually remortgaged upwards to finance home improvement and family costs. So he needs to work.

    The other went to work for Borders Force because he was lonely at home. So please engage the borders staff in cheerful conversations next time you pass through.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I was on the ‘dole’ for a short while after I had graduated. The next time I claimed was 25 years later when I was made redundant. In that time, I thought the job centre had massively improved, although on both occasions, they couldn’t help me with what I was looking for. I didn’t mind the weekly meetings as it got me out of the house!

    This 50-something year old is still working for a few years yet. When I passed my 5-year anniversary at work, some colleagues said ‘here’s to another five’ and I nearly said out loud ‘I hope not!’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s nice to hear someone say something good about the Jobcentre 😉 My first experience of them was 40 years ago now, and it was OK. I’ve never darkened the threshold again, bar 15 years ago to help a friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Is Sir feeling Trussed up enough now, what with the £ easing towards parity with the $? Is this an Eton mess? Defined as something sweet, enjoyed by those in power, but not something the vast majority who don’t go to privileged, tax exempt, as ‘charities’, private schools (called public schools to fool the sheeple at the first hurdle) have access to. So as Nickleback sang, are we having fun yet? If only I was a hedgefund buddy of those who knew what the ‘mini-non-budget’ would be, I’d also have shorted the £ and never have to work again. Though even for those outside the club this feels like there’s more time to run on this scam, what with Kwasi Krazy egging on the markets with his calculated weekend comments of ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet, deregulation baby, there can never be enough tax cuts for the rich, burn, burn it all baby.’

    The clue is in the name, we’re trussed up & helpless, while our lives and savings go up in smoke, the americans call it hogtied, but either way, there is no safe word for the unconnected, clueless masses.

    But hey, turn on MSM TV and distract with irrelevance.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. If you have the skills there is plenty of highly paid work out there and age doesnt come into it. Locally, between Dyson and Renishaw, there must be over 500 engineering jobs available. The list include battery engineers, material scientists, design engineers, mechanical engineers, software engineers, electronics, etc.

    But, it seems, nobody valurs these skills anymore, and therefore no body studies for them.

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    1. Oddly enough the last people I did some work on had the dilemma that many of their contractors were old gits, many of whom didn’t actually need the money, which made them jittery – normally you can rely on people who need the money to pay their mortgages, FI folk, not so much.

      I had assumed this is because most of Britain’s engineers are ageing Baby Boomers retiring, but the Engineering Council report doesn’t really back that up. Maybe Brexit Britain has found its mojo and is looking to become the workshop of the world again, though I would have thought that would be easier to see. So either we are after doing a lot more engineering or there’s something else going. I am still being snowed with requests to accept recruiter invitations, and my LinkedIn entry looks obviously moribund. The IET and Imperial also snow us with engineering and technical openings.

      No idea what’s up with that. But there seems an ongoing shortage of boots on the ground in engineering firms.

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      1. So instead of the government offering tax cuts to the rich they should do something far more radical, and offer free degrees to all Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths courses.

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  10. If engineering is anything like science, there will have been a period where salaries were very poor indeed. I remember as a lowly science graduate in the early 90s thinking the advertised salaries were a little low, and moving into an adjacent profession. I looked at the salaries for scientists in the early 2000s, and they had barely moved.

    Needless to say, on both occasions various bodies were complaining about the lack of scientists – but seemingly uninterested in doing the one thing that might increase the number ie raise the salaries.

    There was no shortage of scientists, only a shortage of those willing to work long hours for peanuts. Add in, nowadays, the devaluing of experts – and there’s no social cachet attached to being one either.

    Any vaguely numerate graduate likely goes into the city or becomes start up founder (by way of software engineering).

    Liked by 1 person

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