The Notebook: Jimmy McLoughlin on data, the honours list and the jobs of the future
The notebook is a place for interesting people to say interesting things. Today’s author is Jimmy McLoughlin, a former No.10 business adviser and now the host of Jimmy’s Jobs of the Future, one of the world’s fastest growing business podcasts
I STARTED Jimmy’s Jobs of the Future as a lockdown project whilst I was a stay-at-home dad. I had gone from being then-Prime Minister Theresa May’s business adviser to spending 12 hours a day at home with my six-month old daughter. I had gone, effectively, from Downing Street to diapers. We listened to a lot of podcasts and I wondered if there was a way to help tackle what I worry is a coming unemployment crisis.
In No.10, it was part of my job to tell the PM about job redundancies at the daily 8am meeting. There was much to say, but we were still at record high employment numbers. “Where are all these new jobs coming from?,” she would often say.
And the truth is, they come from entrepreneurs creating perhaps two to three jobs a week, leading to thousands a week across the country. These small increases don’t get the headlines but they are a fascinating insight as to where our economy is heading.
When we interview entrepreneurs on the show, there are two areas that come up every time: “data and engineers”. That’s why I think May’s successor-but-two Rishi Sunak is right to focus on getting better numeracy and data understanding in our academic system.
The challenge we face is making this relevant for Gen Z. When I was at school, we were shown how to use trigonometry to calculate how high a cat was stuck up a tree – something I am yet to apply to the real world.
Instead we should use more real- life examples in our schools, using social media and sport case studies. Could kids look at social media engagement data and decide when best to send a tweet, instead of how to get Felix the cat down from the sycamore?
You would never hear a CEO say “I know nothing of finance, I leave that to the CFO.” The same is becoming true of data: Rishi Sunak is right to put it at the heart of the country’s education.
HONOURS FOR EXCELLENCE
Kudos to Ben Francis and Bejay Mulenga who were both awarded MBEs in the New Year Honours list. Too often our honours system goes to big business elites who seem to have whole teams dedicated to applying for honours. Sir Hugh Robertson, who is chair of the ports honours division is onto them, saying “we can spot the polished ones”. It can be hard for the government to be aware of the work of entrepreneurs. Bejay and Ben’s gongs suggest that’s changing.
Here’s to Tooting lad Amol Rajan for his documentary on how to crack the class ceiling, examining why the working class is being held back in all levels of British society from business to politics. Our last five prime ministers have included two women, the first man of Asian heritage and two Old Etonians. While diversity and inclusion is becoming an ever important topic in boardrooms, there is less of a focus on the diversity we cannot see, such as class.
I have been engrossed in Matthew Perry’s autobiography, ‘Friends, lovers and the big terrible thing’. Once you’re past the string of lovers – which largely feels like a long apology letter to each of them – it is a harrowing read on drug and alcohol addiction. I am frankly amazed he managed to fit so much in. There are political links, too: his mother was an aide to Pierre Trudeau who was Canadian Prime Minister and of course father to current PM, Justin. He also recounts an hilarious Newsnight interview with Peter Hitchens, available on Youtube.
NO CHANCE OF HIM DRONING ON
Last year we witnessed incredible drone light shows – above Buckingham Palace and as part of the New Year’s Eve display. They will soon replace fireworks displays.
These drones are actually operated by a British-based company, New Substance, that employs 50 people in Leeds. As they are a B2B company, they don’t have much brand exposure, but they are a great example of British innovation and a job of the future.
The founder, Patrick O’Mahoney, recently appeared on my podcast, Jimmy’s Jobs of the Future, to talk about the future of the creative events space, including how they are repurposing a North Sea Oil Rig for new, enterprising uses.
Jimmy’s Jobs of the Future is available on all podcast platforms and https://www.jobsofthefuture.co/at jobsofthefuture.co