It is axiomatic that unless you are extremely rich, you need either an awful lot of savings that bring in some reasonable interest, or you have to work.
Given the current world recession, savings are bringing in very little unless you tie them up for three to five years, and even then, unless you have decent bucks, you won’t get much interest. We aren’t talking the golden days of thousands a year, more like a few miserable hundreds.
So, for those of us without a reasonable income, our priority is work. Well, I’m getting round to it. I do keep visiting the job centre waiting for that perfect job to appear on exactly the right salary, for which I am ideally qualified.
In the meantime I write blog posts about the work situation in Gibraltar.
Some on the ground gossip. Which may or may not be true. I repeat it as it was told to me.
1) A tradesperson started work on a building site the other week, and within two days he was gone. Why? Not a bad lad, pleasant, reasonable work, good time-keeping. He lived in Spain.
2) A sub-contractor on a construction site was told there was no more work for his firm. Why? Yes, that’s right. He lived across the frontera too. Contrast that with a different Spanish sub-contractor who had the presence of mind a couple of years ago to set up a legitimate Gibraltar company. The money still goes to Spain, as he employs Spaniards, but it’s a bit more difficult to throw a Gib company off a job.
3) A couple of people running another business were told to leave that firm (not construction-related in this case). Apparently they had adequate pensions from elsewhere and had received their jobs through, well, the usual crony networks. Caveat: this tale is the least reliable as I don’t know how many people it came through before it got to me.
Let’s look at some facts. Or rather a government press release.
The assessment of the employment service is that the persons resident in Gibraltar and seeking employment is in excess of 1300. This is higher than the figure indicated by the GSD during the election campaign when they claimed that providing employment on the minimum wage to everybody who was unemployed would cost £11m, which at an annual cost of £10k per person unemployed, would translate into 1100 unemployed.
This therefore is the real level of unemployment and not the 450-500 persons a month that has been given in the past as the level of unemployment and which led the GSD Government consistently to boast that we had an unemployment level last year of 2% or under. The real figure has been and continues to be in the range of 8-9% of the resident working population, when one includes all the categories of people seeking employment, including those on training schemes, those wait listed and other Gibraltar residents primarily British, Moroccan and other nationalities.
I do think this government is making a sterling effort to tackle local unemployment by trying to ensure that any Gibraltar residents get priority for any vacancy, and that only when they can’t be filled should employers be looking across the border. But …….
For just about everyone reading this blog, I think I should let you know the minimum wage here is £5.40 and not the £6.08 of the UK. There’s probably not much in it as they are both crap wages. Ten thousand pounds a year ain’t enough to get a mortgage. Nor do you have much left to live on after you have paid £500 a month (minimum) rent in the private sector. This is why people in Gibraltar live at home until they can get government housing.
What about if you are skilled and qualified? Well the local construction industry official rate is £7.47 an hour for a skilled craft operative. That comes in at £284 a week, gross (slightly under £15K pa). Unless you have allowances in Gib, tax rates are high (initial rate 17%, followed by a hike to 30%). Of course if you have lots of money, naturally you can opt for a lower tax rate, of 20%.
How about if you are a journalist? Well, the Chron is advertising a post for a trainee qualified reporter. Hello Chron? I think when I passed my journalism exams I was no longer a trainee and I became a Senior Reporter (rather than a Junior Reporter). They are offering a princely £15K too, although they do offer up to £17K, presumably for a very well qualified and experienced trainee reporter.
But, all is not lost. A PA or an office manager can apparently pull in some £20K. Social media managers for gaming firms can look at nearly £30K. And a marketing director who speaks Scandinavian (which Scandinavian language I wondered, not that it mattered) can get £30K plus.
Most of the jobs in the job centre are in the gaming industry. Either techy ones, or needing a zillion bizarre languages and previous exp of the industry. These are followed by finance/accountancy/company trust jobs. For which you need to be an accountant, and ICSA or ITSA or whatever the trust stuff is. There are a couple of lawyers’ jobs.
There are however a lot more jobs ‘available’ this year, than there were last year. I say available because when you send a cv to an email that doesn’t exist, ring a ‘phone number and find out they aren’t dealing with the vacancy, or ring up and find the job has already gone in less than 24 hours, you wonder how much window dressing is going on.
More on jobs in a later post but after all that a little light relief is called for. A while ago, I read on another blog about the author’s disappointment with the results of stuffed cabbage leaves. I remembered making them a while ago, so fished (!) out the recipe I’d followed.
It’s from Sarah Maxwell’s Vegetarian Pasta (inspiring name there but I suppose you know what you are getting).
Pasta-stuffed cabbage leaves
Any tiny pasta (I used twists which was all I had in)
Savoy cabbage leaves
Salt and pepper
One chopped onion
Salt and pepper
Cook pasta. Blanch cabbage leaves. Make filling ingredients and cool.
Make sauce, cool and zap.
Put filling in leaves, fold into neat parcel, secure with skewers or cocktail things if you need to. Place in ovenproof dish (I slightly oiled mine) and surround/cover with tomato sauce.
Cook in oven for around 20 mins on 200/400/Gas Mark 6. Serve any extra sauce separately.
I didn’t have courgette or walnuts. I used ground almonds for the nut element (any nuts will do really), and managed without the courgies.
I didn’t have red wine either (!), didn’t feel like adding white, so did without again. I used mixed herbs instead of oregano, and fresh tomatoes instead of tinned.
It worked well – it must have done – there was none leftover for breakfast :(
The key is in the timing, because you basically have four different elements to cook. The recipe suggests cooking pasta and cabbage first, but I would probably (if I remember) get the stuffing and sauce going first as they take longer. Either way, it tasted good, not too filling, and a reasonably balanced main dish. I served it with a small green salad.