Tuesday, May 26, 2009

John Key, you confuse me

OK, so that's not really much of a surprise, seeing as there's very little that John Key and I would be able to agree upon. But his latest announcement has me even more confused than usual.

Seems Mr Key wants to encourage loads of expat Kiwis to come home and "plug the brain drain" in order to help us out of the recession.

Call me stupid, but - um - where exactly are the jobs for all these people going to come from? John Key seems to take great delight in booting as many public servants out of their jobs as possible (why do you hate public servants so much, Mr Key?), and has been known to make more public servants redundant in a single day than the total number of jobs saved by his much vaunted 9-day fortnight plan - and yet he now seems to be saying that there are tons of jobs out there for all those highly-educated Kiwis who've left EnZed for pastures new.

I hate to break it to ya, John - but I think you'll find that many of those jobs are either filled already, or no longer exist.

Take my field of expertise for example - the New Zealand IT industry. A year ago it was definitely true that we needed more IT professionals here. I could have walked out of my job a year ago and found 5 great positions within a week. Today that's definitely not the case. I've said before in my blog that if you apply for an IT job these days you'll more than likely be up against hundreds of other people (no exaggeration - apparently a webmaster position advertised at the Ministry of Justice recently garnered 300 applications!).

These days you're lucky to even get an interview in my experience - I've stopped bothering because it's just not worth my time and effort - I'm doing much better with contract and freelance work - but that's not what Key's talking about. He's talking jobs and Kiwis coming home to set up new businesses and suchlike, and I think he's dreaming.

He's certainly not talking about public servant positions (see above!) - by the time he's finished there won't be any of those left at all - and yet it's where a heck of a lot of highly-educated Wellingtonians end up. I know a bunch of ex-public servants who've gone to England to work, and I think some of them do want to come home - but they won't find many openings in Government right now.

So what's he talking about? I think you need to be a lot more specific John - are you talking nurses, teachers, doctors, police etc? I don't think there's much of a chance of persuading expat Kiwis in those professions to come home - you're freezing (already crappy) pay for most of those jobs "in a spirit of working together to help NZ ride out the recession", and I can't imagine many people would give up a job they already have overseas to come home and battle for one here.

Personally, I'd rather all those IT professionals didn't come home right now. There's enough competition around here already, without having to compete with a whole bunch of web designers fresh off the plane from London. Call me selfish, or call me realistic - but I truly don't understand where he thinks these jobs are hiding, when more and more job losses are being announced every week.

Redundancy sucks, but I've found out it's not the end of the world - it can be a new beginning if you're prepared to work at it. But persuading Kiwi expats to leave good jobs overseas to come home in the middle of a recession when they'll be up against all the usual applicants here PLUS a whole bunch of recently-made-redundant job-seekers - I think that's unrealistic, and dishonest, and pretty short-sighted.

Think again, John. This expat Kiwi plan ain't gonna fly.

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artquest1 said...

Hey, Ali!

So glad to read that freelancing has provided lots of work for you. You sound like you're in a much better place than earlier this spring.

I don't know if you're a member of Clay's fan club or if you've read his response to the California Supreme Court decision on Proposition 8 (which made gay marriage illegal). If you haven't read it, I think you'll like it.