On the day CMI released research into the importance of equipping youngsters with the skills to survive at work it was interesting to read an article in the Guardian suggesting that no amount of education will enable us to compete with cheaper labour overseas.
Whilst the article is fundamentally correct in the sense that developing countries are now not only taking low skilled work from the West, they are increasingly taking a big chunk of knowledge work as well, it’s tone is a wee bit too fatalistic for my tastes.
It claims that all but the very best will see their livelihoods shipped overseas and there is nothing we can do about it. Balderdash to that I say. Yes, people from BRIC countries are increasingly able to offer talent at prices that make it very difficult to compete with, but rather than lying down and taking our fate why not use this as an opportunity to rally ourselves from our slumber and get cracking to compete with these people?
What concerns me is not the challenge coming from abroad but whether Britons have the stomach for this fight any longer. It may just be a media portrayal but there is an increasing sense that people are willing to look anywhere but in the mirror when calamity strikes.
If we are to compete with these rapidly emerging and very hungry nations we have to accept responsibility for our own lives and do are damnedest to put up a good fight. Sadly such self responsibility was not particularly evident in the 370 comments left on the article.
It’s not good enough to expect a living purely by virtue of being British or even by having a degree under your belt. You not only have to provide excellent value to an employer but you have to offer more value than people elsewhere in the world. We can’t turn back globalization now (nor should we try).
How are you competing?