Jimmy McLoughlin is a former adviser to Theresa May and Boris Johnson and is writing on the launch of second series of Jimmy’s Jobs of the Future – a top 20 Apple business podcast.
Transitioning careers is hard, really hard. I should know: I left Downing Street over a year ago, and despite being a business adviser specialising in entrepreneurship and technology, I have failed to transition careers. I have written extensively about that process here.
It is more difficult to work out the world than ever before. As a young person – or any person for that matter – it can be difficult to know where future careers are coming from and how you build relevant skills for the future. The World Economic Forum surveyed large global businesses last year, and 43 per cent said they were planning to reduce the size of their workforce. By 2025 they estimate that the computers and humans will do the same level of work.
This can seem daunting, but the job market has always evolved. The first caveman to train a hunting dog was probably accused of taking another caveman’s role, in the same way Luddites in Nottingham opposed machinery in the 19th Century.
The difference now though is the pace of change, and people can see it more. Supermarkets in the UK now employ more people than coal mining did in 1960. People can see that the traditional job of cashier and check out assistant disappears each time they go into a store. Amazon this month launched its first cashier-less store, and we can rapidly expect the same across the UK.
One of the hardest parts of my job in Number Ten was when the phone would ring at 7:45am with a FTSE Chair calling me to say they were just about to announce a large number of redundancies and wanted to let us know ahead of the markets opening. I would then deliver the bad news to the Prime Minister in the 8am meeting – after all, every job lost would mean a family and potentially an entire family impacted.
However, pre-coronavirus the employment statistics were continuing to go up. Where were all the new jobs being created?
It was a fair question, and I endeavoured to brief the Prime Minister on new entrepreneurs that were perhaps adding a dozen or so employees a week, it would not make headline news, but cumulatively they were making a big impact.
I thought I would try and democratise this information. That is why I launched a podcast, ‘Jimmy’s Jobs of the Future’, which interviews entrepreneurs about where they are creating the jobs of tomorrow and recreate the Prime Ministerial briefings.
It is hard to know where the world is going and how to future-proof yourself against the dramatic change that is coming. I think that entrepreneurs who are building fast-growing companies is a good place to start. We regularly hear tales of a retail corporate cutting hundreds, even thousands of jobs, which understandably makes
headline news. Little do we know about the fast growing scale-ups which are creating hundreds of jobs every day.
Before the pandemic we had witnessed a ‘jobs miracle’ over the last decade, but where are these jobs coming from? It’s down to the entrepreneurs who are starting around 1,000 companies a day and making incremental hires along the way. It’s not headline news, but is fascinating, and I want to help shine a light onto these people and tell us where they are going to take their companies in the next decade.
For example, we hear a lot about ‘a green recovery’ and ‘green jobs of the future’, what does this actually mean?
Well in our first interview we speak to Hayden Wood who founded Bulb, the renewable energy company, five years ago. It is now the fastest-growing private company in the UK and employs over 900 people. They’ve also become a modern-day export, launching in France and Texas recently. We ask him where he thinks the company will be growing in 3-5 years and what skills they are looking for – the answers are illuminating for anyone that wants to work in energy or a fast growing scale up.
For this series, we’ll be travelling across the UK meeting entrepreneurs who are creating dozens of jobs every month: Nigel Toon, who has built a billion-pound company in Bristol; and Graeme Malcolm, who is building a world leading quantum company in Glasgow. They need people with PhD-level skills such as software engineering and data
scientists, but they also need marketeers, copywriters, and international operation scalers.
Readers of ConservativeHome may know that my father was a coal miner from Cannock Chase and became Chairman of our party. People may describe that as social mobility in action. However, what does social mobility mean to the public? I think it is a rather odd Whitehall/think tank term that doesn’t hold much meaning in the Dog and Duck.
Sometimes in the technical policy arguments over furlough, it has been forgotten that work is far more than just a salary or financial reward: it provides a sense of purpose, of self-worth and camaraderie. When my aunt passed away two years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see former colleagues from Asda turn up, but I was truly surprised by the fact former customers also came to the funeral. These are not points that can be factored into a Treasury spreadsheet.
I hope that this podcast can help a few people along the way and almost provide a mass form of mentoring from the best entrepreneurs in the business, opening up a network of career options that people had perhaps not previously considered before.
There has never been as many career choices out there. Whilst this is exciting, it is incredibly daunting, and the mass of information is overwhelming when you try to navigate it, the tools to source and disseminate information will be increasingly important. I hope that this podcast will help do that whilst inspiring people about the amazing jobs out there that innovators and entrepreneurs are creating.