Below is the August edition of our monthly newsletter. The newsletter is sent out to Business Council members and friends of the Jobs Foundation. You can find out more about the Business Council here.
Business Council recruitment drive
It has been a busy summer! After the launch of the Jobs Foundation in July, we have been working hard to build our Business Council. This network will bring together a national movement of like-minded people who believe business is a force for good.
To boost recruitment, we wrote to several hundred business leaders after our launch asking them to join the Business Council. This was well received (letters still coming in!), and we were delighted so many respondents signed up. We also rolled out a media push with op-eds from friends and supporters across a range of local and regional outlets.
As people return from their holidays (hopefully escaping the airline chaos!), we are very pleased with the progress we have made over the summer. And with the addition of a new Network Manager in September, a growing national profile, and a full schedule of events and meetings in the Autumn, we look forward to building on this strong start.
Thank you to the very many people who have helped us get here, we are so grateful.
CEO, The Jobs Foundation
The Business Council continues to grow
Core to our mission of championing business as a force for good is building a broad coalition of business leaders who share our mission. The Business Council will be an opportunity to connect and inspire local businesses as they create job opportunities in their communities.
Media coverage across the country has helped us drive a strong number of sign-ups to the Business Council. New recruits represent a broad array of businesses, based in all parts of the UK. We have representatives from manufacturing, communications, property and the professional services sector. Our aim is to reach 500 sign-ups by the end of the year and we are on track to hit that target.
Going forward we will continue to build awareness and grow the Council. If you know business leaders or businesses that exemplify our belief in business as a force for good, please encourage them to join.
In the news across the UK
The Jobs Foundation is very much a national movement, aiming to represent businesses and business leaders across the country. In that vein we have been delighted to receive great coverage of our launch and subsequent work in a host of superb regional publications.
In July, our trustee Simon Boyd (Managing Director, REIDsteel) gave an interview to Dorset Biz News in which he welcomed the launch of the Jobs Foundation. The Bournemouth Daily Echo and Business Live also covered Simon and REIDsteel’s decision to join the Jobs Foundation. The Daily Echo quoted our CEO Georgiana Bristol saying “businesses offer an economic and social infrastructure for the country and help reduce poverty.”
Later that month Carl Richardson (Partner, Richardson LLP) wrote in the Express and Star on the importance of making a positive case for business in Britain.
On 31st July our Advisory Council member Judith Donovan CBE wrote in the Yorkshire Post about her own experience running a business. She said “it’s important that we celebrate the people who make our businesses work.”
And lastly this week, Advisory Council member Jago Pearson (Chief Strategy Officer, Finnebrogue Artisan) wrote in The Irish News on the importance of a good job for young people. He said businesses “increasingly provide excellent in-work training and development, health and wellbeing support and of course a good day’s pay for a good day’s work.”
National Media Coverage
The Jobs Foundation continues to make the case for jobs and businesses in the national press.
On the 16th August, our Director Patrick Spencer wrote the City AM Notebook. He discussed news of record wage growth and pointed out that it “almost certainly means the Bank of England will raise interest rates again.”
He also wrote about Jobs Foundation research on the negative perception of big business, and on how the media reinforces certain negative stereotypes. It’s worth noting that we can be culturally quite down on businesses and businesspeople: “We asked ourselves the other day, how often the ‘villain’ in a film is a suited-and-booted business type. The answer is more often than you realise – Lexcorp in Superman, Skynet in the Terminator, Erin Brockovich takes on super-polluter PG&E, You’ve Got Mail is actually the story of a big corporation taking over an independent bookstore, and of course the Simpsons, where the pantomime villain is Mr Burns.”
Matthew Elliott, President of the Jobs Foundation, wrote an op-ed in the Telegraph at the end of August calling on policy makers to refocus their attention on jobs. He identified three trends that warranted concern:
- the recent rise in unemployment,
- the worsening problem of worklessness,
- and the risk of job displacement driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Matthew argued that the labour market has performed strongly since 2010. Between 2010 and 2020 four million jobs were created, all of them in the private sector. We have a higher employment rate than the US, Ireland and the EU and OECD averages.
But this progress is now in jeopardy. Unemployment has increased “with almost quarter of a million more people unemployed than at last summer’s low point.” Matthew also spoke to the concerning increase in the number of people completely outside of the labour market: “The problem of general worklessness has also worsened since the pandemic: 8.7 million people aged 16 to 64 are out of the labour market altogether – 323,000 more than in January 2020. A lot of these people (2.6 million) are out of work due to long-term health issues – almost a third higher than in April 2019.”
The Fourth Industrial Revolution – proliferation of AI technology, robotics, and the further computerisation of human jobs – also presents a challenge. However, drawing on the historical example of 19th Century entrepreneur Richard Arkwright, Matthew called for a positive pro-business mentality: “We need to ensure that this generation’s Arkwrights are fostered, encouraged and allowed to succeed, to create the jobs that will ensure we prosper both as families and as a country.”