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There’s someone for everything

Principal Advisor, Productivity Commission
7 November 2019

There’s a great new ad campaign running for Trade Me at the moment based on the slogan, ‘there’s someone for everything’. You may have seen the one with the car (my personal favourite), or the one with the house (which is Judy’s).

But that got us thinking – where’s the one for the job?? In so many of the discussions about the future of work, there’s talk about changes in working arrangements and how they may – or may not – suit different people.

So, we thought about what a script might be for such an ad: 

Scene: Two people, one in their 40s, one in their 20s, looking at an online job ad. Let’s call them John and Jack:

John:   Look at this job ad – flexible hours? Where’s the security in that…
Jack:   Look at this job ad! Flexible hours would be perfect – I can fit the job around my study and my other gig job, and I’m not tied down to 9-5!

John:   And it says I can work remotely – they can’t even give me office space?
Jack:   And it says I can work remotely! I’m not tied down to work in an office! Café life rolls on…

John:   It says on-the-job training will be offered, with the potential of leading towards a micro-credential. What’s the point of that?
Jack:   On-the-job training! I’d love a micro-credential on my CV.

The intent of this script is to think about what makes a job a good job, and the value of different types of arrangements for workers at different ages and stages in their lives.

For example, income security for a parent with a mortgage is far more important than for someone without dependents. And training options are likely to be more highly valued by someone at the beginning of their career.

Flexible, online ‘gig’ work can expand opportunities for people in thin labour markets. Although the evidence suggests this type of work may not yet be as prevalent as the hype might have us believe.

My main takeout is that what is most important is to create a good job market ie, one that provides ample opportunities for jobs of all kinds, for all different sorts of people. This means maximizing employment opportunities so that people are not forced into unsuitable working arrangements, and that they can find work that suits their different personal goals and needs.

Image: John and Jack MacCormick

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Comments

  • Gravatar for Amy

    Amy 7 Nov 2019, 15:40 (9 days ago)

    I very much enjoyed this column but the pedant in me notes that in the Trade Me ads, the buyers and sellers are making exactly the same statements (with the exception of compost/longdrop, admittedly), just with different intonation/implications. That's a bigger screenwriting challenge - though I am sure you could master it if you wanted to! However, it may not contribute to your productivity in the workplace. Thanks for the link to the ads, which I'd not seen before and by which I was greatly entertained. I shall insist upon a snake gearstick for Christmas.

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    • Gravatar for Amelia

      Amelia 7 Nov 2019, 15:59 (9 days ago)

      You're right Amy - it was definitely a bigger screenwriting challenge - we briefly discussed trying to make our own video but quickly decided that was a less than productive use of our time... ;) Don't forget to get an air horn to go with that snake gearstick!

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