Lack of opportunities and austerity caused Brexit
Jenny Roper, March 24, 2017
Thornily says "Austerity programmes combined with a perception of uncontrolled immigration were the cause of Brexit". Does he have supporting data? The question was a straight yes / no. It would ...
Read More Steve Milner
March 24, 2017 13:37
Speakers at HR Tech World shared different views on whether job insecurity and flexibility contribute to social unrest, or more autonomous, fulfilling working lives
Deep structural, historical changes to the world economy are creating disillusionment and frustration among global populations, warned Daniel Thorniley, president of DT-Global Business Consulting (and co-founder of the CEEMEA Business Group), speaking at HR Tech World in London.
Thorniley cited Brexit as one notable result of this. “In 2011 Mervin King said he was shocked there had not been a revolution in England,” said Thorniley. “Then we had a social revolution in 2016; it’s called Brexit.
"Austerity programmes combined with a perception of uncontrolled immigration were the cause of Brexit,” he added.
Thorniley said that Brexit was a time of “tremendous uncertainty” for HR, and will make attracting EU talent more complicated: “Yes London is attractive, but now [EU expats will be thinking] do I want to go to London or Amsterdam, Paris or Frankfurt? They’ll think: 'I’ll just go to Frankfurt and see what happens over the next few years'.”
He warned that the global economic outlook, and opportunities for the average person, are much worse than many realise. “We’re don’t know we’re living in seismic change,” he said. The world economy “has never properly recovered from the crash of 2008/9.”
Stats Thorniley cited to back this up included real wage growth in the UK from 2008 to 2013 being the worst since 1348 when the bubonic plague hit, real wages in the US not growing for 42 years before 2011, and 62% of people aged 16 to 24 in the EU not “[having] proper jobs”.
This lack of opportunity for the young concerned Thorniley most. “One of the tragic things is the gap in generations. The social and economic structure we’ve created is ripping out the hearts of our children,” he said, referring to high rates of youth unemployment, the fact that older individuals are now better off than younger for the first time, young people having to live at home longer, and the increased insecurity of jobs young people do manage to secure.
But co-founder and CEO of Catalant Patrick Petitti, also speaking at the conference, sounded a more hopeful note for impermanent gig ways of workinggig ways of working. He stressed the importance of companies staying abreast of the desire to work in new, less permanent, long-term ways among the young.
Companies need to find new career and development paths for such employees, he said, who won’t typically want to progress up the corporate ladder. “Now it might be more about horizontal opportunities,” he said. “Or people working in a different division of a company. Or maybe it’s even letting your full-time employees do projects for other companies when they have the capacity. Some companies are thinking about that.”
Businesses that embrace this successfully “will have the competitive edge”, said Petitti, adding that “companies will look to HR leaders to [lead on] that.”
Sharing details of Shop Direct’s ‘Shine’ recognition programme, director of employee relations, engagement and people services Colin Watt spoke on the importance of including the large number of part-time contractors the firm works with in recognition activities, where possible. “We know they’re not colleagues… but they work alongside us – so why wouldn’t we recognise the work they’re doing day to day?” he said.