Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

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Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby Willow » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:40 am

REI wrote: Assuming for one minute that a job is a job, the rate of new job creation in the private sector would look healthy enough.


That's the problem though, a job is not a job. 60% of Public Sector employees are female - most work part time / flexible hours / term time only to fit in with childcare. If there are childcare issues such as a sick child which requires a day or more off a short notice, this is not usually a problem in the public sector. It is much more difficult to get a job in the private sector with the same kind of flexibility.
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Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby Nick » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:00 pm

Willow wrote:That's the problem though, a job is not a job. 60% of Public Sector employees are female - most work part time / flexible hours / term time only to fit in with childcare. If there are childcare issues such as a sick child which requires a day or more off a short notice, this is not usually a problem in the public sector. It is much more difficult to get a job in the private sector with the same kind of flexibility.


I'm not challenging you, but I am surprised to hear that. My view is that the Public Sector is often (but not always) a softer sector to work in, but that the private sector is more flexible.
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Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby REI » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:14 pm

Willow wrote:
REI wrote: Assuming for one minute that a job is a job, the rate of new job creation in the private sector would look healthy enough.


That's the problem though, a job is not a job. 60% of Public Sector employees are female - most work part time / flexible hours / term time only to fit in with childcare. If there are childcare issues such as a sick child which requires a day or more off a short notice, this is not usually a problem in the public sector. It is much more difficult to get a job in the private sector with the same kind of flexibility.


Are you saying that 60% of the government workers are female and that most work less than full time?

One way to hear this, if 500K are let go (natural attrition and maybe forced cuts) will have a much smaller economic impact when measured by wages lost to the economy. It would also take a lot less than 500K private sector positions to make up the gap.

If there are so many women working less than full time, does this also mean there is not much of a problem for future public sector pensions as part-timers (generally on a lower wage rate) will not be building much of a pension pot.

I do expect there are some mothers working in the public (and private) sector who are on flexible schedules. I just find it hard to believe that more than a marginal number of the UK public sector is run by part-time workers. If the UK was really efficient and able to run the country with a large segment of working mothers who work less than a full week I would expect it to be a model for employers around the world. The UK government (central or local) is not held up as a model of efficiency. Too many workers and too little produced is the normal description even when there are some really talented people in specific roles or positions.
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Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby Willow » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:19 pm

Too many workers and too little produced is the normal description even when there are some really talented people in specific roles or positions.


That is very true of the public sector but a different issue to the one of female workers and flexibility.

Are you saying that 60% of the government workers are female and that most work less than full time?


60% of Public Sector workers are female - civil service, local authorities, police, NHS etc etc. What's more 40% of all working women have public sector jobs.

Flexible working does not necessarily mean part time. I, for instance, work full time over a 9 day fortnight. Flexi-time or Toil is a staple of public sector life which you very rarely see in the private sector (I believe that flexi-time is the reason that Public Sector unions opt for ineffective strikes rather than a serious course of industrial action which may be really effective - but that is a whole different conversation).

In many public service jobs, there are core hours that you have to be in - ours are 9:30 - 4, in my old civil service job, it was 10 - 3 but the office is open from say 8 - 6. The standard full time working day is 7 hours and 24 minutes (37 hours per week). As long as you are in during core hours, you make up the rest of your hours either side of that - so you can come in 8 - 4 on Monday, 9:30 - 5:30 on Tuesday etc etc to suite childcare arrangements or whatever. Unless your job is public facing and you have to be on a reception counter, or there is some kind of team rota in place so that phones are covered, you can usually swap and change this to suit without having to inform your manager. Obviously this only applies to office type jobs - but that is quite a large percentage of the public sector. I doubt many private companies, particularly small businesses, would be happy with that situation.

Then there is the wonderful world of job share - where two people do one job. They may say that there will be 500k jobs going, but given that many of these jobs will probably be at the lower end of the scale - admin and the like, you will find that quite a few of them are jobs that are currently job shares. The loss of 500k jobs will most probably mean 600k + people are losing their jobs and at the level, it will be mostly women.

They have also not made it clear whether the 500k is Full Time Equivalent for jobs that are naturally part time. For example - if there are two dinner lady posts that are 18.5 hours a week and both are being made redundant, are the figures classing this as two jobs or one Full Time Equivalent job? I suspect the latter.


There is an interesting debate going on at present around whether women are expected to be the ones to carry out Cameron's 'Big Society' transformation. This is a very good blog article which articulates the debate better than I can:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/10/will_the_cuts_change_the_role.html
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Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby Willow » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:39 pm

Actually, just found this, which confirms that in 2006 65% of public sector workers were women and 35% men (compared with 60% men and 40% women in the private sector).

The article also says that just under 30% of working women were public sector employed, but more recent stats suggest that it is actually closer to 40% now, so the 65% may also have increased.

http://212.58.231.21/elmr/05_07/downloads/ELMR_0507Millard_Machin.pdf
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Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby REI » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:03 am

Willow wrote:Actually, just found this, which confirms that in 2006 65% of public sector workers were women and 35% men (compared with 60% men and 40% women in the private sector).

The article also says that just under 30% of working women were public sector employed, but more recent stats suggest that it is actually closer to 40% now, so the 65% may also have increased.


If I understand the above correctly, more women work in the private sector than in the public sector (70% private olds stats, 65% new stats).

Of the people who work in the public sector, the majority are women.

The UK public sector employees 50+%; slightly more than half of all people who have paid employment. Assuming roughly half, women seem under represented in the public sector. On a relative basis, private employers have too many women compared to the public sector (half or less of the jobs but way more than half of the women working).

I am not sure what people should conclude from the numbers. Does it matter or is the relative distribution just noise around a normal distribution?
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Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby Willow » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:10 am

The UK public sector employees 50+%; slightly more than half of all people who have paid employment.


No - you've misunderstood somewhere

Of 29 Million people in the UK Workforce, 6 Million work in the public sector so:

20 % or 1 in 5 working people work in the public sector.
40 % or 2 in 5 working women work in the public sector.

What is bascially means is this:

For every 100 jobs lost in the public sector - 65 - 70 women will lose their jobs
For every 100 jobs created in the private sector - only 40 of them will go to women, unless the private sector becomes more flexible to accommodate working mothers (or society becomes more accepting of dads working part time).

The government do not see this as an issue, because many of those women are second wage earners rather than main wage earners, and they feel that it will result in saving in subsidised childcare. More women back in the home, also means more people to do unpaid caring for the disabled and the elderly as front line services are cut.

The only alternative is better, subsidised childcare to allow women to take up less flexible jobs in the private sector.

I doubt very much that women will be happy with this arrangement. It will certainly be interesting to observe the inevitable gender shift.
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Postby Nick » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:33 pm

Of course it does depend on whether Sir Humphrey allows the cuts to actually take place. I saw on breakfast TV that the last government identified & cut £35Bn of waste. But when an investigation went back to look at the savings, only £15Bn of the cuts actually went ahead. That's not just the public sector, when I worked for Unilever the research division was making 10% annual reductions in numbers of employees and costs. :clap: Through a series of initiatives (which the initiators were generously rewarded for) these sorts of savings were achieve year after year for at least 15 years to my knowledge. :dance: Strangely after 15 years of these annual savings the division employed the same number of people and had the same budget. :? I remember my boss observing "this laboratory spends more on stationary than it does on chemicals". :lol:

How are private firms which do public sector jobs counted? My wife works for a private company which deals with NEETs (Not in Employment Education or Training) - clearly Public Sector IMHO, but a private Co. In London I often deal with private companies employed by Social Services to house and supervise benefit recipients.

The cuts do seem likely to fall on certain members of society more than others, not just women but certain geographical areas. I guess that will always be the case, but if you accept that the government will cut the least required expenditure, and that cut hits certain parts of society, that would imply that the money wasn't being spent fairly in the first place. Expressed as an extreme, it shows that the government was employing women/tynesiders because it wanted to give those sectors more employment rather than the work needed doing.
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Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby Lynda » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:16 pm

My elder son works in the Public Sector and has already been told that his Department is to close. That will be the second time he's been made redundant in three years.
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Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby Nick » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:01 pm

Sorry about your bad news Lynda,

I often requote Harold Wilson "To the man who has just lost their job the unemployment rate is 100%"
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Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby Willow » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:26 am

I guess that will always be the case, but if you accept that the government will cut the least required expenditure, and that cut hits certain parts of society, that would imply that the money wasn't being spent fairly in the first place.


Nick, you can't really be that naive. While there is a definite need for efficiency savings, many, many of the cuts will be to front line services. At the macro level, where the policy decisions are made, it has little to do with 'least required' and everything to do with politics and ideology.

At the micro level, where the services are used, whether that service is required is entirely dependent on your life circumstance - what is least required to one, is vital to another (CAB, Consumer Direct, Legal Aid, Sure Start, DLA etc etc).

For what its worth, on a personal level, I agree with the need to cut, and I certainly agree that the public sector is bloated. I certainly don't think that the cuts should be moderated just because they will disproportionately affect women, but equally I'm not convinced the right things are being cut, but that is life.

I also think that the government are entirely aware of the affect this will have on women and families and that it is a deliberate move to shift British society back towards more Thatcherite Conservative ideals.
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Re: Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby Nick » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:35 pm

Willow wrote:Nick, you can't really be that naive. While there is a definite need for efficiency savings, many, many of the cuts will be to front line services


Are you suggested that money isn't wasted on the front line? Change wasted to luxury. An example - unemployed lads in Gloucester get the opportunity to do a 12 week course learning to fit CD players to cars. If they do the course they get some freebies, plus one of them gets to win a brand new Scooter. It's front line. It keeps them off the streets. It keeps them out of prison. They learn a skill (sadly probably how to take CD players OUT of cars but I digress). Is it good use of money?

You have to trust that the people implementing the cuts (the managers of our Public Sector Services) will cut out the right things & retain the right things. If they can't do that then we shouldn't be paying ANYTHING for Public Services.

Willow wrote:I also think that the government are entirely aware of the affect this will have on women and families and that it is a deliberate move to shift British society back towards more Thatcherite Conservative ideals.


I don't think there can be any argument about that, it's what they were voted in to do.
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Re: Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby Lynda » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:51 pm

Andy will just have to start job hunting again. He's not exactly heartbroken - he was never as happy in that job as the one in the Ministry of Justice.
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Re: Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby Willow » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:27 pm

Are you suggested that money isn't wasted on the front line?


No, not at all. I'm just saying that what one person sees as a waste, someone else will see as vitally important. If one of the lads on the course you mentioned has managed to get a decent job out of it, I'm sure him and his family would say it was a very good service. I'm sure the people who Consumer Focus got massive refunds (over £70 million) from nPower for think that it is a wonderful service. Many others think it is a money wasting Quango (even though its budget is only £5 million).

Money can be saved everywhere, of course it can, but most of the crucial decisions that are made are not about saving money, they are about politics and ideology. If it was simply about saving money, ministers would not make such specific policy announcements, they would simply announce the departmental budgets and then let the people who run those departments find the best savings.

You have to trust that the people implementing the cuts (the managers of our Public Sector Services) will cut out the right things & retain the right things. If they can't do that then we shouldn't be paying ANYTHING for Public Services.


Maybe - but the managers don't generally make the decisions. Take our local authority - the various departments have come up with a series of proposals for cuts to front line services. Many of these are sensible cuts because the services can be bought cheaper in from the private sector - care homes, domiciliary care services etc are considerably cheaper to 'buy in' than they are to run in house. These proposals then go to Cabinet where the Councillors have the final say in which of the proposals are implemented.

Needless to say that some of the most sensible cuts which ultimately save money, but don't have a massive impact on customers, get thrown out by the Councillors because they are politically sensitive. They are not going to close old run down care homes because the press will rip them apart for moving little old ladies out of their homes - even if it is two thirds cheaper to place them in a private sector, much more modern care home.

Similarly in the Civil Service, the various departments will be bound by half cocked policy initiatives announced by ministers whose only experience of the area they work in is the six months since the last election, who have made said announcement to get some publicity and one over on the opposition.

It's a nice thought that managers will be allowed to make sensible, logical decisions, but after 12 years of public sector work - both in civil service project teams where we have implemented some of these crazy policies and local authority, I know the reality is that public services are generally subjected to the whim of whichever political ideology is dominant at the time - logic and sense be damned!

I don't think there can be any argument about that, it's what they were voted in to do.


Hmmm - tenuous, last time I checked, no party was voted in. It was hardly a resounding victory and I think many many people (possibly more of the Lib Dem supporters) are now regretting that vote. They certainly upset a lot of Tory female voters with the Child Benefit announcement. They said before the election that whichever party got in and started making cuts would end up out of power for a generation after then next election. I think that is probably right - but the Tory's are going to make damn sure that society will have been fundamentally and irrevocably changed by then.

Having no strong affiliation with any political ideology, I have not yet decided whether the changes they are making are for the better or not - I think it is too early to tell and there is not a lot that can be done to stop it anyway. I do think we are in for an interesting and turbulent few years.
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Re: Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby REI » Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:51 pm

An interesting discussion.

At some level it is always hard to measure productivity and manage the amount spent where there is no competition and no external market forces correcting bad behavior. When you spend someone else's money and they cannot see what exactly how it is spent, you have issues.

Then there is the idea that people vote based on all sorts of things that have little or nothing to do with the actual decisions. Representative government is all about electing representatives where you do not know what they will be doing when in office. There is no direct connection between the vote and the role someone plays and the decisions they make. Much of politics is about retrospective spin where you try to shape what people think.

Nothing new with the above. People will continue to debate why government does or does not do what they do. Maybe we should tilt towards smaller government as that might lead to fewer opportunities to misspend.

Explain this.

Why does the NHS hire so many workers that it is the 3rd largest employer on the planet earth (after the Chinese Army and the Indian National Railroad). The UK has 80 million people funding the NHS (if we include everyone on the dole plus the workers). India and China are much bigger. It just seems a little odd that 1 out of 80 are needed for the NHS.
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Re: Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby Nick » Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:16 pm

REI wrote:Why does the NHS hire so many workers that it is the 3rd largest employer on the planet earth (after the Chinese Army and the Indian National Railroad). The UK has 80 million people funding the NHS (if we include everyone on the dole plus the workers). India and China are much bigger. It just seems a little odd that 1 out of 80 are needed for the NHS.


Image
If the image doesn't display it's at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Inter ... 25_GDP.png

Expressing as a % of GDP is a good way of considering this, as it largely filters things like labour rates out. If you look at the spending per capita

# 1 United States: $4,631.00 per capita
# 16 United Kingdom: $1,764.00 per capita

It tells the same story only more so.

So I would suggest that many more people are employed in health care in the US than the UK, arguably twice as many. So I don't think your statistic is indicating that we do more health care, or use more people to do it, merely that they are organised more centrally with one employer. Even that is misleading in that Healthcare Trusts are independent. Surgeons have a private practice, and GPs act like little businesses & are owned by a partnership.

As to the effectiveness of the healthcare on a life expectancy basis the UK kicks donkey, as nations we have a similar genetic mix, so the life expectancy might be a good pointer to the efficiency of healthcare.
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Re: Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby REI » Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:55 am

I was not commenting on the costs as the Chinese Army, the Indian National Railroad and the NHS are in different sectors. I was also not talking about quality or success rate in terms of health.

I was only pointing out that the concentration of workers in one specific company or organization seemed odd. One out of 80 working for the NHS speaks to an extreme amount of centralization.
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Re: Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby Nick » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:23 am

I think I covered that - yes there is a single umbrella organisation, and very little competition, but in reality management is very decentralised. I only introduced costs as a measure of comparison of how many people work in the US health care industry. They indicate that 2 - 4x as many people per patient work in the US system. It doesn't show up as large numbers because they are spread amongst competing employers.

Given that the US & UK systems give such similar health benefits, but at a quarter the price for the centralised co-operative system, it's difficult to argue that the competitive system has anything to recommend it.
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Re: Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby REI » Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:09 pm

Nick wrote:I think I covered that - yes there is a single umbrella organisation, and very little competition, but in reality management is very decentralised. I only introduced costs as a measure of comparison of how many people work in the US health care industry. They indicate that 2 - 4x as many people per patient work in the US system. It doesn't show up as large numbers because they are spread amongst competing employers.

Given that the US & UK systems give such similar health benefits, but at a quarter the price for the centralised co-operative system, it's difficult to argue that the competitive system has anything to recommend it.


The logic is carp.

The cost of health care in the two countries is very different. It is mostly attributed to the higher costs associated with a more litigious society in the US. While the same number of people live and die (the outcomes) the costs per person are higher in the US. Other than cancer the UK and US medical systems produce the similar outcomes.

What is jumping off the page is the NHS is an employer even if there is a loose alignment given the trust system. 1 in 80 work in health care if we focus on the NHS. More if we include the private providers.
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Re: Women Will Pay the Price for Sorting Out the Economy

Postby keith » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:25 pm

I've worked in and now with the public sector and my OH still works in it.

My local council has just created the post of "obesity officer" now is that job vital.

We were recently putting in some data lines for a project and the NHS wanted one as well, they asked us to order it as BT quote us £2K
less for the same installation.

IMHO I could cut numbers in most Government departments simply, and keep services as they are.

remove all the "business managers" in the NHS, anyone who thinks operating on people is the same is making chocolate bars is deluded.
Remove all the equality, ethnicity monitoring etc - just appoint the best person to the post.

Have 1 central purchasing department for Government , local Government, the NHS Police etc. How much could be saved by bulk buying etc.

Sir Phillip Green identified that some Government offices were paying nearly £80 for a box of paper.

simplify the CSA - FFS it's now a straight % of income so you can do the calculations on a spreadsheet or calculator you don't need hundreds of millions of pounds worth of IT.
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