Sir Richard Branson has an intriguing idea on how to lower unemployment to a rate of 1.6% . Branson claim we can lower unemployment in three easy steps:
Talk to the 10-20% of the work force who want to work less.
Then give those hours to the unemployed to get them back to work.
Sir Branson made the suggestions on how to lower employment recently during an appearance on CNBC. He said, “If I was running America, I would make sure that the 10% of people are out of work were given jobs and the way I would do that was I would say to companies, ‘talk to your work force, find out how many of them are willing to work 50% of the year rather than 100% of the year. How many are willing to job share? How many more would be willing to go part time?’ And you will find that in every company there’s something like 10% to 20% of the work force who would actually like to work less hours. . . .” Branson believes as many as one out of every five workers would choose to work less if they did not fear losing their jobs.
Now, Sir Branson’s plan doesn’t create new jobs or new revenues to grow the economy. But it does hold the potential of making people happier and of preventing foreclosures and bankruptcy. Stressed out workers who want to work less than 40 hours a week would have the chance to dial it back a bit. In addition, unemployed people would then have the chance to get back to work, reducing the financial devastation that chronic unemployment brings. As Sir Branson noted, it is a simple solution and it is one that can be implemented very quickly. Sir Branson estimates it will reduce unemployment to 1.6% overnight. That rate would be lower than it has ever been in our lifetimes. So why not give it a shot?
Most everyone knows it is easier to get a job when you have a job. Employers are inclined to suspect that there may be something wrong with an executive who has been downsized. The reason? Companies often use downsizing as a way to rid themselves of underperforming employees. However, while it has always been hard for someone who is unemployed to get a new job, it has never been harder than it is today. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow recently noted that people who are unemployed are staying unemployed for an average of 40 weeks — the highest level ever since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping track.
Former Chief Economist and Economic Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden Jared Bernstein recently published a chart on his blog that breaks unemployment into three groups. There’s the recently downsized, the new entrants to the job market, and then there’s everyone else mired in continued unemployment.
As leadership in Washington grapples with job stimulus programs, the biggest problem that needs solving is that of not being able to get a job unless you have a job — a classic catch-22. We at The Good Search and at our recruiting research division Intellerati regularly hear from strong candidates who through a perfect storm of event have found themselves unemployed longer than they — or anyone really — thought possible. Author Joseph Heller first coined the term in an historical novel by the same name. His satire on bureaucratic think and circular logic resonated so deeply that “catch-22” has since come to mean any “no-win situation”. Until we solve the catch-22 of persistent unemployment, nobody wins. Our recovery will remain elusive as Major Major’s sanity.
What does it take to get hired these days? Try a website, a video, a mustache, and no pants. A brilliant marketing campaign has been waged by a jobseeker Matthew Epstein targeting Google as his next employer. He has set up a website that speaks to Google and Google alone. To leave no doubt as to the purpose of his website, you can find it at the web address http://googlepleasehire.me/
Matthews effort has “gone viral”. In the Internet world, that’s not an easy thing to do and that fact certainly qualifies him for further scrutiny. He’s proven he can write and demonstrates a wry sense of humor along the lines of what you’d see on The Office or, dare I say, 30 Rock. Moreover, it takes courage to apply for a job dans pans. Courage, I tell you. Moreover, he brings it all home by allowing us to meet the the real Matthew at the video’s end. Matthew’s “grand gesture” is a tried and true device used by industry icons that include Donny Deutsch, one of the most successful CEOs in advertising history. Donny is reported to have sent car parts to the home of the Pontiac rep to land an account with Tri-State Pontiac dealers. He sent a fender with a note that read, “We’ll cover your rear end.” Donny won the account, doubling its size. Matthew, the savvy marketer that he is proving himself to be, has set up a blog where we can track his progress. His latest post: Matthew has a second phone interview with Google this Friday.