Do start-ups create good jobs?
I am partially sighted and 10-15 years time I’ll be blind. What cash-strapped start-up would hire me?
I have deep reservations about start-up businesses’ ability to provide good employment opportunities. Matthew Taylor, a former Labour advisor and who is currently conducting an enquiry into modern employment practices said recently that when Labour were in government, they used to think that any job was better than no job. However, he is now looking into whether this is actually the case.
I only have my personal experience to draw on, but generally I have found start-up businesses struggle to produce jobs that either pay well, offer real career progression or accommodate for people such as myself with physical disabilities.
There are several recruitment websites that target those looking to work for a start-up business, and when scrolling through their jobs I’ll often see numerous “internships” or volunteer roles. This would be fine if there was a genuine route for career progression, yet how far can someone progress in a company of 6 people.
When looking at the quality of these jobs, I find it helpful to think about the idea of ‘capitalisation’; this refers to the ability of those in authority to capitalise on a person’s potential. I currently work for the civil service, and they actively invest in people such as myself to help me make the most of my abilities. I have been offered adapted pieces of computer hardware and software to help me see my computer screen better and overcome my poor vision. This may be relatively expensive for the government in the short-term, though over the course of my lifetime it is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the cost of me not working at all.
This brings me back to the point of what type of jobs do start-ups create? We may think a company that produces 100 jobs as “better” than a company that produces 50. Yet, what if those 50 jobs capitalise of people’s potential much better. I feel larger companies or government bodies, such as the one I work for, are in a better position to invest in people who would otherwise struggle to utilise their potential. And this should be the measure of success for any start-up business: to ensure they are ultimately creating good jobs, rather than just any job.