Opinion: Senator Ball On Job-Seekers Skills

April 6, 2015

vic_ball[Opinion column written by OBA Senator Vic Ball]

Bermuda was once the envy of the world with our over-employment. It was not uncommon for a worker to be able to walk off one job in the morning and get another job in the afternoon. Some of us had two or three jobs at a time.

However, Bermuda is suffering from an economic crisis. It was caused by a combination of the global economic downturn and, it must be acknowledged, PLP government missteps. Their work permit policies and raising the payroll tax by 2% in 2010 encouraged International Business companies to leave and have left many unemployed or underemployed.

It is no secret that many International Business ex-pat workers have moved off island. These were highly paid jobs. As a result, the Government has lost revenue through lower payroll tax income. Wider Government and community losses occurred through lack of rent, lower retail purchases, lower fuel and BELCO consumption, etc. Some 6,700 pay cheques have left the workforce since 2010 – pay cheques that once helped to support the Bermudian economy and Bermudians.

The people who are suffering most from a lack of work are those who, when they were young, were not successfully engaged in the education process. They placed less importance on the benefits a formal education would provide for their future. Many of them can now be described as victims of our past financial success. Our confidence that times would always be good has given way to a new and harsh reality.

Not having the basics of education is a serious disadvantage for people looking for work. When employers have so many people to choose from when they hire, they go for those they deem to be the best of the bunch. In a global world, the pool to choose from includes the best and brightest from across the globe, especially in the fields of International Business and Finance.

Our neighbors in the Caribbean and in most other countries have always recognized and are taught from a very young age that education is the way out of poverty. In Bermuda, as we have not experienced significant poverty for many decades, we forgot the importance of education for a time. Unfortunately, underemployment has come at a time when having a solid education is imperative – as they say, a Bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma.

For people who have not considered education important in the past, but are now looking to be gainfully employed, I have a few suggestions.
Going back to school to get a high school diploma, taking further education courses online, or taking Bermuda College courses are all great ways to show prospective employers that you’re serious about getting ahead in life. Indeed, it is becoming critical for success in all walks of life. Even those who already have a good education are finding that professional development puts them ahead of the curve as they look to develop their careers. Continuous learning, training and retraining must be the new normal for all adults. Bermuda and Bermudians are now competing in a global market.

The National Training Board and other organizations are available to give counsel to those who need a helping hand. These are services provided to offer guidance to all Bermudians in career development.

Additionally, there are a few ‘soft skills’ that employers consider very important no matter what role you may be seeking.

Make it clear when you look for work:

  • That you are a dependable person, who arrives at work on time, and a team player, who stays focused and delivers.
  • That you will be an employee who will be able to communicate effectively with co-workers as well as with customers.
  • That you will be an employee who has problem-solving skills – employers like employees who are resourceful and have the ability to solve work-related challenges.
  • That you will be an employee who participates in the work of the company and that you are the kind of person who will suggest ways to do things better – employers want people who care about their work.

Job opportunities will come. Being in the best position academically and with an excellent work ethic increases one’s employment opportunities.

-Vic Ball

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Comments (23)

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  1. San George says:

    Bermuda is in a DEPRESSION! Falling real estate prices, 13% deliquency rate on debt and continued job losses. We were lucky for years and the government took credit. Let’s see if they can govern/navigate our of this challenging economic environment. Austerity is not the solution.

    Quo Fata Ferunt

    • Lois Frederick says:

      I take it you have been living under a rock. You will be no doubt happy to hear about the funds that will be invested in the America’s Cup and the hundreds of millions of dollars of inward investment that has been lined up by the Govt., that will shortly start to stimulate our economy. Austerity that is not. What might you suggest that could have had as much impact, in such a short period of time, taking into account, the very real financial constraints that the Govt. is under?

  2. flikel says:

    Why do politicians prefer to blame their opponents, rather than just telling the complete truth. The majority of job losses were not the result of PLP policies, but rather due to the fact that certain roles no longer needed to be in Bermuda and hence were moved elsewhere.

    Both international and local businesses have transferred numerous roles and sometimes entire departments overseas for a variety of reasons, with cost cutting at the top of the list.

    My company transferred their entire accounts, finance and IT teams overseas, not because of Bermuda’s work permit policies or the PLP increase in payroll tax, but because greater efficiency and costs savings could be achieved.

    The reality is that jobs which were once ‘needed’ to be Bermuda, can be easily moved elsewhere. The smart tax folks are also hard at work to ensure our international companies can enjoy the tax benefits of being in Bermuda, while significant work and operations are done outside of Bermuda.

    We need to be honest about the real, underlying reason for the job exodus.

    • Hey says:

      This is so true. The blame game only works 1 time only.

      • BETTTYTRUMP says:

        Thanks @FILKEL FOR YOUR BRILLIANT COMMENT. Yes, YES…. @Hey the “Blame Game” has lost it full effect……

    • Toodle-oo says:

      ** Both international and local businesses have transferred numerous roles and sometimes entire departments overseas for a variety of reasons, with cost cutting at the top of the list.

      My company transferred their entire accounts, finance and IT teams overseas, not because of Bermuda’s work permit policies or the PLP increase in payroll tax, but because greater efficiency and costs savings could be achieved. **

      Just picking one aspect of your post.

      Bermuda has always been horrendously expensive for these companies and they all do their number crunching well before they come here.

      When did we suddenly ,and coincidentally , become so expensive that they all decided to move positions overseas ?

      • flikel says:

        “Bermuda has always been horrendously expensive for these companies and they all do their number crunching well before they come here.

        When did we suddenly ,and coincidentally , become so expensive that they all decided to move positions overseas ?”

        Comon friend, please think for a moment. Nothing stays the same and the world is constantly changing. Businesses are always looking for was to streamline costs…always. Advances in technology have made it more feasible to collaborate between offices in difference regions. The smart tax attorneys find ways to conduct business overseas, while enjoying the tax benefits of being a Bermuda company.

        Bermuda did not become ‘suddenly’ more expensive, rather changes in the world and technology have made it possible and easier to conduct business across the globe. You no longer need some your IT needs serviced by local employees, now an employee anywhere in the world, can log in remotely and complete the necessary work. You no longer need your accounting work done in Bermuda, when your team in India can do the required work and collaborate/exchange information with the Bermuda staff.

      • Rhonda says:

        When we grew rapidly, along with all others after 2001…… that period call a bubble..and 2008 onward a bust…….. reminisce of the great depression… The PLP will go down in History to OBAers as the great ones that go away..Scotland Yard nor the CIA can touch them they were so incredible…they brought down the great USA and UK’s economy…

    • Mockingjay says:

      Next they’re gonna blame the epidemic of credit card and debit card frauds on the P.L.P, typical Surrogate.

  3. C James says:

    Actually there was a note in the media last week that said that HSBCs rate of (over 90 days)delinquency was 26%. That is with them rescheduling certain loans too. This financial disaster is far from over and many of us may never live to see the end of it. For some, who are hanging on by a thread, the worst may still be ahead. Still PLP complains about foreigners (and their money)and how they should leave.

    PLP are after power at any cost – even if it means the abyss for our island. Don’t fall for it.

  4. watching says:

    I would love to see Senator Ball speak to this column, live and direct, rather than hiding behind opinion column after opinion column. Perhaps see if he can actually articulate the same points made in his columns.

  5. umjusayin says:

    Senator Ball like his OBA counterparts have no clue how to fix a light bulb. The damage left by the OBA government will be far more impactful then that of the previous PLP administration. Job less rate at an all time high and race relations at an all time low! And you can’t blame the PLP 14 years on this. Senator Ball you have obviously drank too much of the Kool aid. Let’s not talk about the country’s debt under the OBA; $1 billion in 2 years! And two years of over spending ($45m – 2013 and $33m – 2014).

    • NCM says:

      The OBA had no choice but to take on more debt after taking over from the PLP. The PLP had been running annual deficits since 2009. You can’t simply change the course of a ship that has been going in a particular direction for years. It takes time to turn. The alternative would have been to immediately lay off between 500 and a 1000 civil servants on taking office. If they had done that we would, in the words of the newest member of the House, seen the island burn…

    • sigh..... says:

      you clearly have NO idea what you are talking about.

      we are still, and will be for YEARS to come, suffering the fall-out from almost a decade and a half of horrendous PLP decisions – you really do not know how to connect the dots, do you??

      i take it math was not your strong suit in school. or economics.

      • Coffee says:

        It’s funny how people like Vic Ball proudly tout the days when the majority had two and three jobs . Such a shame that the earners needed two or three jobs to survive in this country , while the earners in the minority community only needed one income to support the entire family . Be proud of the shameful past Mr.Ball , the past when many fathers from your community lived to work .

  6. Rhonda says:

    He forgot to say that cheaper labour via globalization killed the Bermudian enjoying over employment…. and the goes from the boardroom to the bathroom..

  7. Rhonda says:

    Thom Hartmann: How America Killed Its Middle Class
    We’re heading into a world that looks like a Charles Dickens novel.
    By Thom Hartmann / AlterNet April 17, 2014

    Print
    144 COMMENTS

    There’s nothing “normal” about having a middle class. Having a middle class is a choice that a society has to make, and it’s a choice we need to make again in this generation, if we want to stop the destruction of the remnants of the last generation’s middle class.

    Despite what you might read in the media or see on the News, capitalism is not an economic system that produces a middle class. In fact, if left to its own devices, capitalism tends towards vast levels of inequality and monopoly. The natural and most stable state of capitalism actually looks a lot like the Victorian England depicted in Charles Dickens’ novels.

    http://www.alternet.org/thom-hartmann-how-america-killed-its-middle-class

  8. Alvin Williams says:

    The One Bermuda Alliance Government statement to the Bermuda people;’My government debt is more sacred than the government debt of the former PLP government?

  9. YOSH says:

    Mr Ball if you feel that a Bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma and our economy is in bad state from the previous administration, why hasn’t your admistration looked into bringing Bermuda College to the University level? I am sure you have a clue that the next generation of Bermudian parent’s will find it difficult to allocate funds to send there children to overseas institution. I don’t want to hear you can’t afford it because if you can find overseas investors interested in building a airport I am sure there are some open to investing in higher education. #systemic #design

  10. Rasta says:

    Well spoken Senator Ball. The PLP killed jobs in Bermuda with their insane policies and xenophobic outbursts.

  11. zikkii says:

    This comment from senator Ball sums it all up. This is the “frank “truth and not the “fake” truth thats preached to show hostility towards prc and guest workers.Those with eyes to read n ears to hear whats being read from this artcle will take all this and put it into their hearts n do as needed. This is truth the so call ed ” peoples party ” called plp will never want the affected because they use mainly the jobless to demonstrate and push their political agenda of getting into power and behind closed doors take good care of themselves and their immediate loved ones.

  12. Billy Boy says:

    How can I take Mr. Ball serious when he makes statements such as “The people who are suffering most from a lack of work are those who, when they were young, were not successfully engaged in the education process”. We know that is far from the truth. We know the are large numbers of educated people that are suffering and cannot find work. I have been educated when i was young and now I am suffering. We have individuals that were leaders of both parties and even leaders of the country but now can’t find a job. We also know his own business suffered to the point of closure.

    So please be honest and don’t insult our intelligence.

  13. Jeremy Deacon says:

    No question about the importance of education – but why, then, have there been three education ministers already under the OBA administration. How many was it under the PLP – 10? It is very difficult to treat this seriously when education has not been treated seriously by successive Governments who insist that the position of education minister is a revolving door!