ONE of the biggest myths – and it is the size of the Wizard of Oz – is that there is job security. There is none, so get over it. It’s not that employers are bad, but just that no one can honestly promise job security in an ever globalising world, or in one where the pace of technological change is accelerating so fast that the only constant is that there will be change.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t periods of long-term alignment between employees and employers in building businesses, and that is the goal.
I’ve been managing people since 1995, and have always felt the kindest thing you can do to people you manage is to assume that they have taken full responsibility for their own professional development, and to treat them as grownups.
Neil Record, a former Bank of England economist, has a fine reputation as a non-partisan fiscal expert. His Policy Exchange report recently put the public sector pension liability at £1,104bn – none of which appears on the state’s balance sheet.
I work with many public sector people who I respect, and who are committed to their jobs working hard to improve the country. In general, however, public sector employees enjoy benefits unheard of in the private sector – higher wages, longer holidays, shorter hours, and that elusive job security.
The UK cannot afford to continue to grow the public sector. Having two parts of the country operating on different operating models – one where there is job security, one where there isn’t – breeds disharmony, frustration, and lack of alignment.
We are at a cross-roads as to where we find the growth in the recovery. Either we bet on our business people and entrepreneurs, and sweep away the inordinately high costs of doing business, by reducing PAYE and National Insurance; buying more from SMEs; encouraging more investment from successful entrepreneurs into the next generation; teaching our children discipline, achievement and confidence in addition to skills; and setting entrepreneurs loose to solve society’s more thorny problems through privately-backed social enterprise. Otherwise, we will continue to create state jobs swelling the public sector in an artificial world where the full liability is not even accounted for. There is only one outcome from following that course, and it strips the Great from Great Britain.
I believe that we can become an entrepreneur country. Britain is good at shaping the future, and its business people are used to and up for the burden of building growth, creating jobs, and delivering recovery.
Julie Meyer is the CEO of Ariadne Capital