At least, that seems to be the opinion of Stephen Overell (associate director of The Work Foundation):
According to a new study, having a badly paid job can be worse for one's mental health than having no job at all.Screw their mental health! What about the mental health of the poor schlubs paying for them to stay idle?
... in general unemployed people have worse mental health than those in work. However, merely moving into work did not lead to an improvement, and the transition from unemployment to low-quality work worsened mental health. Instead, the job had to be of a certain level of "psychosocial quality" to be beneficial, meaning it had to be relatively secure, that the pay was perceived to be fair, that work demands were not excessive, and that people could exert some influence over when and how their work was done.Funny, I don’t remember fellow blogger Longrider demanding work that had a ‘certain level of psychosocial quality’ – he took work beneath his undoubted skills simply to get off the benefits list for a while.
Has Stephen never heard the phrase ‘beggars can’t be choosers’?
Work provides time structures to the day, it obliges participation in shared activities, and it generates status and identity. Without it, people and places often go to pieces: apathy sets in, simple tasks take longer, there is less social contact and what little money there is goes on luxuries before necessities.Yes, precisely. So why are low-paid jobs somehow exempt from these beneficial effects?
Countries with "work-first" policies may not necessarily increase wellbeing. In dedicating themselves single-mindedly to the quantity of jobs in a society, policymakers ignore the critical social and psychological importance of the quality of jobs.It seems Stephen thinks the only possible benefit from these jobs accrues to the people doing them.
What about the benefit to everyone else of not having to fork out to pay for their benefits?
Such a message is, of course, particularly relevant in Britain – though unfortunately most of it will go unheard. Under the slogan of "making work pay", the coalition aims to incentivise the workless to take work, arguing that doing so will help the life chances of individuals and families. The blind spot is in imagining any job will do. The evidence suggests it won't.Your evidence, you mean? Hey, let’s give it a try. The evidence might, after all, be wrong, mightn’t it?
Faced with the challenge of job quality there is a tendency among politicians to think not much can be done, aside from attempting to encourage growth so that people can change jobs if they want to.You mean politicians are learning that they can’t micromanage everything?
Well, bring it on! That’s great news!
Admittedly, subtle issues of autonomy and stress do not lend themselves to quick regulatory fixes. Yet, as the Australian study points out, job quality has historically been an area where political intervention has brought far-reaching social advances – for example through minimum wages or laws on working time. The absurdity of our current situation lies in imagining that the nature of work is now a political and social irrelevance so long as jobs exist.The Australian study? Oh, now you tell us that this wasn’t even a UK study!
Go away and come back with some better arguments.
Carrot and stick.
We can't afford to make unskilled work more rewarding. The solution is to make benefits less rewarding. I really don't see any alternative.
I don't blame the claimants, but those who engineer the system so badly.
The Work Foundation is a fakecharity so he should be ignored for that reason alone.
As it happens, he may have a point, but as you say, beggars can't be choosers.
He may have a point, in that an unemployed person looking for work has hopes of a good job. When s/he accepts a bad one, it's depressing. Hope should return over time, as a respectable work history enhances the chance of promotion or getting a better job. As you say, it's wrong-headed to assume that there should be an option to stay optimistically on the dole at the expense of others who may find your choice depressing.
But which is it? Psychological 'issues' as a consequence of having a menial job, or only being able to get a menial job as consequence of having psychological 'issues'?
It's not necessarily a cast iron rule, but the latter is as likely as the former. Whatever the clowns at the Work Foundation wish us to believe.
XX Zaphod said...
We can't afford to make unskilled work more rewarding.XX
I am in two mind on this.
Before I got through the interview procedures for my present job, I did agency work.
The qualifications had to match the job. So you were working alongside Fred Schmidt. Both equaly qualified, both doing the same job. Yet he was getting 15 to 25 Euro per hour, whilst the agency worker was getting 3,50.
Over the last 10 years more than 60% of the jobs "created" here are agency work. In fact between 2002 and 2004, it was over 75% of "created" jobs. (That figure may still be so. Or it may even be higher. V.W in Wolfsburg for instance, have changed over 80% of their jobs over to agency work.)
Often it is not a case of "higher wages for lower ability/qualifications", but a simple case of not willing to pay the going rate for the qualifications/abilitys on offer.
My step-daughter has a degree, though no opportunities in her field have come up so far (and no, it isn't some artsy-fartsy degree that no one cares about, but that's not the issue) and she does voluntary work to get experience.
When she goes to the Job Centre, she is appalled by the lack of insight, knowledge and above all the inability of so many staff to either spell or construct readable sentences. They are quick to tell her what she can't do but not very quick to help her find a job.
Her feeling is that she could not only do their job but also do it better (avoiding spelling mistakes, for a start) but... they are in the job and she isn't. They can be superior and treat her disdainfully.
Her view is that once you get a job in the caring, sharing civil service it doesn't seem to matter if you are doing it well. Just get the job and hang on to it, maybe with a union behind you to help.
One day she will break out of the unemployment spiral, but until then there are forms to be filled in and spelling errors to be amazed over.
AND, don't forget, if you are on low pay, it does NOT get you out of the "welfare trap". As with the low pay jobs it is just NOT POSSIBLE to cover rent and household bills. So the State pays "top ups".
"Paying less" is only works if landlords, utilitys, shops agree to lower THEIR prices at the same time.
"We can't afford to make unskilled work more rewarding. The solution is to make benefits less rewarding. I really don't see any alternative.
I don't blame the claimants, but those who engineer the system so badly."
I've got a cunning plan for the carrot: end globalisation, end outsourcing to low wage economies, end immigration and deport ehm, you know! That will drive wages up.
The stick: no work no pay, unless you are over 65 or have a really serious health problem. Bloody hell I know a man who has one arm and has held a full time job for the last 30 years.
Problem solved. Unless you are a big globalising capitalist or a Frankfurt School Marxist in which case the present system suits you fine.
When everything was made here, it was expensive and unreliable. If you saved for years, you could afford a tv, and possibly aspire to owning a car. Maybe a washing machine, probably a vacuum cleaner or just a carpet sweeper. Not everyone had a fridge or record player. Fitted carpets, right to the edges, were a status symbol.
I'd like the british worker, (including me), to get his finger out and match the productivity of the foreigners.
I want the benefits of globalisation. Have my cake and eat it? Maybe. But we're carrying too many freeloaders, unemployed and management. Too many who are in work, are lazy and greedy, and take the piss.
I don't think trade barriers will give me what I want.
"We can't afford to make unskilled work more rewarding. The solution is to make benefits less rewarding."
"The Work Foundation is a fakecharity..."
Is it? I had a feeling it might be. Just why are the government funding so many of these things that are - currently - attacking their policies?
"...it's wrong-headed to assume that there should be an option to stay optimistically on the dole at the expense of others who may find your choice depressing."
Indeed. Tackling this should be the priority.
"But which is it? Psychological 'issues' as a consequence of having a menial job, or only being able to get a menial job as consequence of having psychological 'issues'?"
"Often it is not a case of "higher wages for lower ability/qualifications", but a simple case of not willing to pay the going rate for the qualifications/abilitys on offer."
I can see it from the businesses' point of view, but how do you combat this, without huge state interference in the jobs market?
"Her view is that once you get a job in the caring, sharing civil service it doesn't seem to matter if you are doing it well. Just get the job and hang on to it, maybe with a union behind you to help."
Sadly, that seems to be true of all civil service sectors, and not just in the UK.
"I've got a cunning plan for the carrot: end globalisation, end outsourcing to low wage economies..."
But as Zaphod points out, that would - in a lot of cases - mean going backwards...
"But we're carrying too many freeloaders, unemployed and management."
Yes, top-heavy management and unnecessary 'extra' layers - environmental, H&S, etc - are certainly a drag on society.
I can see it from the businesses' point of view, but how do you combat this, without huge state interference in the jobs market? XX
Perhaps that is what is needed.
Either in the jobs market, or in price control.
"The market" seems incapable of sorting it out.
It's the over-generous state benefit system that is distorting the jobs market.
If the state stopped interfering, the jobs market could sort itself out.
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