Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Distribute work opportunity fairly

I wish to explain my concept of distribution of work opportunities fairly among the people who are qualified for the work.

Let us look at a particular trade, say primary school teachers. We have to register those who are interested to work in this trade and have been certified to have the required qualifications. Next, we look at the demand for this trade. We adjust the working hours so that the available work is distributed fairly among those that are interested. If the demand is high, everyone works longer (but some may opt to work for less hours). If the demand is low, everyone works less hours (and they can use their spare time for other part time work). The remuneration will be based on hours of work.

This system has the advantage of job security. A person who is trained and certified to be suitable for a particular job will know that work will always be available.

If there is an excess of supply, some workers may opt to be trained for another trade. They can choose a trade in good demand and suits their ability. They do not have to worry about finding employment, after they are qualified.

The system of certification for a trade or profession already exists for doctors, lawyers, airline pilots, engineers, teachers, taxi drivers and others. It can be extended to more trades.

The distribution of the work opportunities can be made through the market, in the form of an online employment exchange.  Workers will register for the trade that they are interested to work in, and provide their certificate for screening. The exchange will be more capable of identifying candidates with fake certificates, compared to individual employers

Employers have to pick the workers from the exchange. They have the assurance that the registered workers have been screened to be suitable. The exchange will also provide a recommended rate of hourly pay for each trade, although both parties are allowed to negotiate the actual rate for each case, but should be above a minimum wage. They should also keep to the maximum hours of work for that trade, to ensure that there is a fair spread of work opportunities. Transparency helps to ensure that the negotiated rate is fair to both parties.

Discrimination by age, gender or culture can be minimized through this exchange. If a person is certified to have the qualifications, there is no need for the individual employer to make an individual judgement of suitability, which is likely to be marked by prejudice.

Young people can plan ahead for the trade that they like to do, and can take into account the demand for that trade. They can study in the polytechnic for the desired trade or profession, knowing that the work opportunity will be available, but the number of hours will depend on demand.

Older workers who are displaced by technological change can also prepare for a new trade or profession in a more productive way, knowing that their training and skills will be put to good use.

There is no need to compete for a job, so that some people get the job and others are unemployed. Sharing of work opportunities create a sense of community, rather than adversity. Fair distribution of work is an important strategy to achieve a better quality of life for all.

Some people will argue that this concept will lead to complacency. This risk can be managed. Even among professionals, there is the risk of unethical practice leading to their removal from the register.

Implementing this concept is not easy. It can be done in stages, starting with the trades and professions that are more suited to this model. Over time, more trades can be brought into the system. As it develops to involve a larger segment of the population, the new practice will become closer to the norm.

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