Employment and Skills

Knocking off early

Thursday May 19, 2016 Mark Cox

Mr Cox  a senior economist at Business and Economic Research Ltd (Berl) thinks some things need to change, but that the labour market will find its own way forward and people would reject Mr Bregman's vision as a bridge too far.


"The labour market is always in a state of flux,'' he says. "The point about technology is that it is always changing ... Some jobs will inevitably disappear, but others will appear in their place.''


He agrees we are seeing some hollowing out of medium-skilled jobs.


And believes some people whose jobs disappear because of technology change will need financial help to retrain.


Mr Cox questions whether the country's 150,000 unemployed would have the skills to step into the breach if a shorter working week was introduced.


He also doubts many people in specialised jobs would want to give up their long hours.


"The fact of the matter is that people on high incomes want to carry on working the long weeks so they can afford the second house, the bigger mortgage, the boat and the foreign holidays.''


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