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Employment as social good

I wrote the below in April 2020. Tell me I'm wrong, but I don't think we achieved the social re-set we could have done.

"My hope - once we emerge from this - is that employees are seen less through the lens of bottom-line cost, and more as part of what any organisation can offer to society.

Somewhere in Britain's not-too-distant past, we've lost the idea of providing employement as an end in itself. The idea that offering more-than-the-minumum number of jobs is an essential part of the social reponsibility of an employer.

Britain is psychologically stuck in two eras: the Victorian and the Second World War. And we're happy to be highly selective about which bits we remember and celebrate.

I'd like us to get back to the principles of some of the Victorian philanthropists, people like Joseph Rowntree or Robert Owen. Now, there was plenty wrong with philanthropy and charity in the 19th Century (or Dickens wouldn't have had much of a career). But we can - we do - cherry-pick our ideas and ideals.

To provide a job is to provide someone with a steady income. That means certainty, self-esteem, purpose, dignity, status. It means employers can grant people health and wellbeing.

Because I hope more people come to realise that there's little more important than that."

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