Utilitarianism and the Kantian Perspective

Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism that support the idea that the consequences of an action determine whether it is right or wrong. Therefore, an act that maximizes on the goodness or benefit to a greater number of people, is considered to be right (Act Utilitarianism) and also the same applies if an act is considered to generally cause happiness to many people (rule consequentialism (Shafer-Landau 126).  An example of a scenario that applied in my life, I had a sick grandparent at home who was really sick and needed to be rushed to the hospital. It was at night and there was little traffic but there was a speed limit within the estate road. Because of the emergency at hand, I saw it better not to obey the speed limit and drive fast to reach the hospital even faster. The consequences in this case were to either obey the laws and have my grandma worse off or dead, which would cause so much pain to the family, or break the rules, get a ticket and still save her life and make many more people happy. The utility in this case would be to ensure that my grandma arrived in hospital fast and received emergency medical attention. This option would bring the most happiness or utility even on the long term. It therefore is the right thing to do in this case.

The choice I made would better fit into Kant’s formula for humanity. According to Kant, we should treat humanity as an end and not as a means to an end (Shafer-Landau 168). In my case, I treated my grandma as an end, her health and survival were the things that I focused on during the dilemma and choice to uphold. I would have used her as a means if I tried to justify her death with me following the traffic rules.

 

 

Work Cited

Shafer-Landau, Russ. “The fundamentals of ethics.” (2009).

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Kantian Deontology

Although Deontology ethical theory is classical, I like it the most because it advocates for people to adhere to their obligations rather than base an action on outcomes (Shafer-Landau 167). One reason why I support the theory is that it gives precedence to ethical naturalism. In every person, there are the set of unwritten natural laws that determine if an action is right and wrong and if the wrong choice is taken, it results in guilt or a conscience trip. These same laws are further defined within the religious and cultural values and human rights which appear to be often universal. Following these internal and external obligations will eventually result in the least type of harm unknowingly. Deontological actions further attribute to most of the widely shared intuition people have about their duties and responsibilities meaning that it has a far much effect towards people than any other form of ethical theory.

One of the objections to Kantian deontology it is not practical and would not happen in a practical world which one would need to break the norm of the right or wrong to produce a better result (Bagnoli 319). An example would be when one meets a serial killer who is targeting your friend, and the serial killer asks about your friend’s whereabouts and you have to lie to protect them.  A counter to this objection would be by stating the Kant’s maxim that states, “An act is morally acceptable if, and only if, its maxim is universalizable.” (Shafer-Landau 170) Therefore, while lying would be the option that is easy to come by, applying it in everything else would prove bad. Therefore, one always has an option beyond the lying. In the example therefore one has the option to report the serial killer before they get to their friend, derail him from getting to the friend or making any other action that would prevent them from getting to your friend, but make sure that the act is one that would be applied universally to very other place.

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Effects of Covid-19 to the UK Labour Market

Abstract

 

The UK labor market has faced a huge blow because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unemployment rates rose during this period resulting in many people, especially the youths, losing their sources of living. Some workers took redundancies were some were forced into it, recording a spike in the total redundancies within the country.  Work hours also reduced greatly. The Human resources department had to devise several ways of dealing with the labor problems within their organizations. They had to redeploy staff into critical places, they merged some roles and reduced departments to cut costs. They further created contingency plans for critical staff and allowed for flexible working environments and schedules. It is clear from the pandemic that employers will be seeking adaptable graduates, have soft skills, and are technologically capable. It is important therefore for anyone seeking employment opportunities to focus on improving on these areas to have the edge over others.

 

 

 

Effects of Covid-19 on the UK Labor Market

The advent of Covid-19 in the UK was a twin pandemic; to the health and wealth of the nation. While the economic effects of the virus lagged behind the health effects at first, they eventually grew to shatter proportions that would potentially threaten the national economy. The labor market has subsequently experienced one of its biggest contraction in years. There has been a record rise in the claims of unemployment claims with a resultant drop in employment and self-employment. For the first time since 2016, the unemployment rate exceeded 5% when there was another quarterly high. By the beginning of 2021, these effects have continued to plateau but it is clear that this is still an evolving crisis that still requires strategies to address it.

Unemployment Statistics and trends since March 202o

From the onset of Covid 19 in March 2020, until May, the number of payrolled employees fell by 635,000 (Francis- Devine, Powell, & Foley, 2021, p. 9). The number however started increasing month on month till December 2020 but was still 816,000 less than the levels in March, which is a fall of 3% (Costa, and Stephen Machin, 2020, p. 1).  The industries that experienced the largest falls were food services and accommodation, entertainment, arts, and recreation. The unemployment rates have also gone down significantly. A comparison between the January-March quarter and the September-November 2020 quarter shows that it increased by 26% (Francis- Devine, Powell, & Foley, 2021, p. 9). The most affected people with unemployment were the young people (16-24) who increased their unemployment rates from 12.1% to 14.2%.

Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) also showed that the redundancies reported in the September-November 2020 quarter were the largest annual increase ever recorded.  The redundancies had increased by 168,000 from the earlier quarter (Costa, and Stephen Machin, 2020, p. 1).  The records of redundancy indicated the numbers of people who had taken voluntary redundancy or who were made redundant by the pandemic. Another indicator of the toll the pandemic had on the labor market was the large drop in the job vacancies in the country.  Between April and June 2020, the number of Job Vacancies in the UK was at a record low of 343,000 (Costa, and Stephen Machin, 2020, p. 1). From June, the numbers steadily increased and the September-November quarter recorded 578,000; but was still 218,000 lower than January-March.

At the onset of Covid 19 and the establishment of lockdowns in the country, the number of working hours fell to 842 million between April and June, which is the lowest since 1994 (Mayhew & Anand, 2020, pp 224). While the situation improved in the preceding quarters, the working hours were still fewer compared to those before the onset of Covid-19 (Costa, and Stephen Machin, 2020, p. 1). The number of people claiming unemployment benefits has also been a good indicator of the labor situation within the country. Since March, there has been an increase in 1.4 million people claiming the benefits.  The sharper increase happened between March and May and has been stable since.

 

 

 

Responses that organizations have made to the challenges

Human resources have been a critical topic within the Covid-19 period within organizations. In the UK, there were lockdown measures set in place to control the spread of the virus and some employees had to shift their work to homes ((Francis- Devine, Powell, & Foley, 2021, p. 10). Some organizations had to lay off many of their workers and try to cope with the only few remaining and still fight for survival. Work hours have generally reduced among many workers, translating to lesser work getting done. Companies were also unable to remunerate their workers with the same scales as before Covid-19. The organizations, therefore, had to devise ways around the problem.

Many of the UK organizations used redeploying methods to restructure their workforce into newer areas of focus. Because of the changes caused by Covid-19, some staff had their workload reduced and others overwhelmed ((Mayhew & Anand, 2020, pp 219)).  Carrying out a proper workload and workforce inventory helped these organizations to redeploy the underworked workers into newer strenuous areas.  The inventory was followed by a short training program to prepare them for the newer roles.  Once these workers were acquainted with the new goals and expectations, they would start functioning within these new roles until after the economy stabilized. s

The tough economic times have meant that some roles within organizations were merged and some larger departments cut down.  Layoffs have been the order of the day for many organizations in the UK in efforts to cut down costs and ensure survival. Consequently, some roles which were severed by different people were merged into one and the remaining employees had to do much more work than previously stated in their contracts (Caligiuri et al 220, pp1). Big departments were cut down and the remaining few shared out the workload within them. The changes meant more work and adaptation for the employees but it saved the organization the burden of paying more people.

The possibility for important staff getting Ill also made organizations prepare contingency plans.  Critical roles in management, production processes among others require that they are occupied at any time to ensure continuity of the organization’s functions. Covid-19 posed a major threat because these people would have fallen ill or been unable to carry out their roles. The organizations therefore critically analyzed these roles and the skills required and chose specific people to fill them in the case in case of such emergencies.

Covid-19 also created the need for flexible work arrangements to reduce contact between employees, customers, suppliers among others.  Government and health regulations in the country prevented crowding of workplaces and required people to have as minimal contact as possible.  These regulations also translated to company policies which instructed some staff to work from home and others to work in shifts.  The effect of this was reduced work hours per week and a compressed work schedule with numerous virtual interactions and reporting.

 

Implications for resources and talent management

Talent management during the Covid-19 pandemic has been a difficult thing as there was no applicable playbook as each situation presented different sets of conditions. There have however been great lessons learned from the pandemic that would improve talent management in the future. The main lesson learned is to focus on employee wellbeing. The period showed organizations the importance of checking in with their staff, supporting them through hard times while investing more resources in covering their health and wellbeing (Eileen Aitken et al. 2020, pp1). Adaptation has also a key ingredient in the survival of many organizations during the season. HR has learned to focus on the adaptability of employees during the hiring process; this flexibility would help them learn and change within the job. Organizations have also had to accept that digital is a new reality (Niamh, 2020, pp. 1). During the pandemic, organizations have had to train and apply new digital technologies in conferencing, doing works, and meeting (Eileen Aitken et al. 2020, pp1).  It is now inevitable to dismiss the use of these platforms henceforth.

Implications to Graduate Employability Post Pandemic

It is time for graduates to embrace digital technology and online platforms because Covid-19 has shifted many traditional functions into digital platforms. The technology was relied upon majorly to conduct business, Companies, therefore, had to adopt cloud-based communication, productivity tools, teleconferencing facilities among others (Niamh, 2020, pp. 1). The majority of these facilities had already been in existence but were rejected or ignored. A workplace-ready graduate should have the technological know-how to perform in their roles using these modern applications and be ready to embrace more that will come along.

Organizations are also now looking for a graduate who constantly evolves and changes. Organizations are not hiring necessarily for roles but are building a team for a career. In this way, they seek people who can change roles easily, take more responsibility and learn new things fast (Buheji, and Buheji, 2020, pp240). At the end of the day, the graduate who is more adaptable and those who can work within diverse teams are becoming more marketable. While not every graduate will have all the qualities required for such a time, the best candidates would be those who are ready to learn and those who are culturally fit.

The pandemic has further emphasized the need for certain soft skills within its workforce. The need for better communication and organization has become apparent because of the remote work. Employees have been required to share ideas, contribute actively in discussions virtually. Working from home has also required them to be well organized, create better schedules, and while at it manage the stress brought about by the period. Teamwork is also a major soft skill that has pushed the workers through because people had to work in smaller virtual teams to reach the targets (Buheji, and Buheji, 2020, pp240). These will be soft skills that employers will focus on when employing new staff post-Covid.

The modern job market is not ideal, and the timing also terrible. It however offers some opportunities for people to work and grow towards professional success. It is required that Graduates prepare well before rushing into jobs and applications.  They need to continuously learn new skills through online platforms and develop skills that would give them the edge. To practice their skills, graduates could also participate in volunteer work part-time opportunities, and projects (Gill., 2020, pp12). These would help them to develop the right frame of mind for a real working environment. It is also time for graduates to consider remote work as a viable source of employment.

Conclusion

The UK labor market has faced a huge blow because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unemployment rates rose during this period resulting in many people, especially the youths, losing their sources of living. Some workers took redundancies were some were forced into it, recording a spike in the total redundancies within the country.  Work hours also reduced greatly. The Human resources department had to devise several ways of dealing with the labor problems within their organizations. They had to redeploy staff into critical places, they merged some roles and reduced departments to cut costs. They further created contingency plans for critical staff and allowed for flexible working environments and schedules. It is clear from the pandemic that employers will be seeking adaptable graduates, have soft skills, and are technologically capable. It is important therefore for anyone seeking employment opportunities to focus on improving on these areas to have the edge over others.

 

 

References

Buheji, M. and Buheji, A., 2020. Planning competency in the new Normal–employability competency in a post-COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Human Resource Studies, 10(2), pp.237-251.

Caligiuri, P., De Cieri, H., Minbaeva, D., Verbeke, A. and Zimmermann, A., 2020. International HRM insights for navigating the COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for future research and practice.

Costa, R. and Stephen Machin (2020). COVID-19 and the Labor Market. [online] IZA – Institute of Labor Economics. Available at: https://covid-19.iza.org/crisis-monitor/uk/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2021].

Eileen Aitken-Fox Jane Coffey, Gupta, C., McKenna, S., Comments, A.W.T., Fitzgerald, S., Dayaram, K. and Jane Coffey (2020). The impact of Covid-19 on human resource management: avoiding generalizations. [online] LSE Business Review. Available at: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2020/05/22/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-human-resource-management-avoiding-generalisations/. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021].

Francis Devine, B, Powell, A, & Foley, N, 2021, ‘Corona Virus: Impact on the Labour Market’, House of Commons Library, Vol.8893, pp 1-27

Gill, R.J., 2020. Graduate employability skills through online internships and projects during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Australian example. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 11(1), pp.146-158.

Mayhew, K. and Anand, P., 2020. COVID-19 and the UK Labour Market. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 36(Supplement_1), pp.S215-S224.

Niamh, O. (2020). How COVID-19 Is Changing Graduate Recruitment. [online] TopMBA.com. Available at: https://www.topmba.com/jobs/employers/how-covid-19-changing-graduate-recruitment  [Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

 

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