National Assembly for Wales

Enterprise and Business Committee

Employment opportunities for people over 50

Evidence from John (Powys) – EOP 11


Dear Sir/madam,


I write in response to the recent letter in the County Times by William Graham AM – Chair, Enterprise and Business Committee.


Yes, I do believe there is an issue with employment for over 50s which is exacerbated by the lack of jobs in the UK as a whole.  I fully believe there is no economic recovery apart from the South East of England, in fact Wales and Scotland recently reported a rise in unemployment and are along with many regions of England struggling badly. 


Unemployment figures are manipulated by the Tory Government and are totally false as many people are only in temporary, part-time or zero contract hours earning minimum and minimal pay and thus not able to contribute to the nation as tax payers.  This obviously has a detrimental effect on the economy as the only thing the Tories seem to understand is cuts, which is being shown around the world to being a total failure.  As investment is not happening in the private sector, the Government should invest in the public sector rather than cutting it as it has been doing for a number of years.  Common sense states then that people would be in permanent employment, confident enough to spend in an economy whilst paying tax into that same economy and causing an upsurge rather than a downward spiral that the Tories only seem to know.  Everybody should be looked after within a country and not just the rich as the Tories tend to.


So some of the issues are:-


·         Working past 65 years of age is wrong as there are not enough jobs to go around and it is not just the poor pensioners continuing to work, but the greedy, well off who are blocking the jobs marked for the over 50s as you state, but also the young .  The Pension age should revert to 65 and people should be made to retire to open up the job market. Some people having worked all their lives in a physical job are worn out by the time they reach 65 never mind 66.


·         Age disadvantage is a problem with the number of companies not responding to applications or one feels when age is mentioned by a company or agency as not being a problem, but what they are really doing is covering themselves as you feel their body language and wording states they do not truthfully want older people.


·         A large amount of jobs are only advertised as temporary, so for anybody who has managed to at least get a little bit of part-time work, the risk is too great to move to the possibly longer hours, but temporary employment which could result within days or weeks being without any work at all. 


·         What has happened to the Government run Job Centre?  Everything appears to be advertised through a multitude of agencies mainly on websites.  Some of these agencies appear honourable, but as I have experienced from talking to those, a large number are just trawling their adverts and posting them on their own websites.  The repetition is horrendous as is the messy appearance of these websites.  Jobs are still continually advertised when in fact they have long been filled which leaves a false situation of an appearance of many jobs being available when the truth is they are not.  Basically either ban or strongly regulate these agencies.


·         Agencies by their own admission as I have found on a number of occasions are not putting clients forward for an interview to companies and are arrogant in their belief that they know all businesses inside out and are the experts at filling the vacancies just from reading applications and CVs.  They are in fact a jack of all trades, but master of none.  I have contacted a couple of these albeit more reputable agencies and discussed this point, asking them how they believe they know me as a total stranger and how they can dictate as to whether they believe I have the skills or not to fulfil a role advertised by a company whose business when discussed with them, they truthfully do not understand.  I have raised points with them and you realise by their comments that they do not have the knowledge that they so arrogantly believe.  These agencies are therefore an unnecessary barrier which bars the job opportunity of people, and the over 50’s in particular.


·         I strongly believe job advertising needs to come back into the local papers and most certainly under more Government control to stop agencies flaunting their arrogance, flooding the websites with jobs that do not exist and ruining the hopes of people already depressed by the pathetically poor job market. 


·         A number of these job sites are virtually impossible to navigate due to being poorly set up, passwords and ID’s which do not work, and also the fact that not everybody has a computer and access to the web.


·         Numerous companies do not even respond to applications, whether these are sent online or by post to them.


·         Too many Tory cuts mean that no-one is investing in the country.


·         Total lack of jobs in Mid Wales as a whole.  It would appear that Mid Wales to many MPs and AMs does not exist.  Certainly Westminster has no interest in Mid Wales, but unfortunately also the Senedd does little outside of the M4 corridor in South Wales and whilst there are certain bubbles of opportunity up in the North East Wales and along the A55 expressway, certainly Mid Wales is totally ignored.  It is a shame that here in Montgomeryshire we have a Tory MP and an AM who seem totally oblivious to the lack of job opportunities, poor wages and the future of the people they are being well paid to represent.


·         I have applied over the last 4 months for endless jobs and am continually being turned down and this is having a detrimental effect on my health and confidence.  Governments should be aware that they are elected to look after all the people in the country and I fully believe that everybody has the right to work.  However, that cannot be so if there are limited jobs and the few that are about are being filled by the under 50s.


·         No account is taken with regards to somebody out of work with respect to the expense incurred in looking for a job without an income to finance the costs of ink cartridges and paper for the computer, postage and envelopes, telephone calls, fuel in car to travel to an interview as well as the additional heating cost from having to be at home due to having no work etc etc.


·          Tighter immigration controls. Far too many people have come, and in fact are still coming into the UK taking or being given jobs the locals are denied whilst also driving wages down. Money is then sent out of the country to their families back home rather than being spent in the UK to help boost the British economy.


·         Too many government cut backs in local authorities and various other state run businesses resulting in the country infrastructure crumbling. Services no longer available, jobs of numerous types not being carried out. A quick look at the weeds growing up all around our towns is just the visual symbol of very many services no longer able to be carried out. The government says there is no money to keep feeding into these services, total rubbish as the fat cats still sit in their jobs high up the council/ government trees. Cut back on these too many overpaid roles and spread the employment to more people. One wage of £100,000 could finance six or seven reasonable paid jobs.


·         Incentivise companies to employ older people. Truthfully a company is going to think hard before it fills a vacancy with somebody who will retire in a few years. Therefore they need an incentive to do so. This could be widened to jobs being created within local authorities – the money is there, it just needs to be used wisely by investing rather than continual blinkered cut backs.


·         Retraining. I have just priced up the cost of a weeks’ training to allow me to operate a Fork Lift Truck. It is approximately £500 basic or over £700 for High Reach plus the cost of travelling over 100 miles each day during that week. At the end there is no guarantee that putting that qualification into a job application will give me any more chance of a job.


·         Tighter import controls. In the Thatcher era, she decimated manufacturing in the pathetic belief that service jobs and London finance would pay the countries way. Foolish views now still haunting us in the UK, so we need those controls. Stop selling our knowledge off cheap to the up and coming third world countries and invest ourselves in manufacturing,  first for our own market to satisfy our needs and then for export.


·         Jobs advertised on websites, as already stated the majority are, do not in the main, state the company name or its business. More openness would allow the applicant to tailor their application to the company needs and if they can somehow overcome the agency barrier would be better informed and prepared for the hopeful interview.


·         Where is the sense in having agencies which take on the unemployed and hire them out on zero hour minimum pay contracts with no guarantee of any work. A company is obviously paying them a higher rate to enable them to function. Stricter employment rights should be implemented even if that means a financial helping hand from the government.