Do Sheffielders want to work? Businessman's comments provoke fierce debate

Lots of people have had their say
Lots of people have had their say
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A Sheffield businessman's protestation that many Sheffielders simply don't want to work has sparked a fierce debate.

Nick Murphy, managing director of HS Direct, a health and safety firm in Meadowhall, spoke out after struggling to fill vacancies in sales and customer services.

Some readers say they have applied for over 100 jobs without success

Some readers say they have applied for over 100 jobs without success

He claimed many applicants didn't even turn up for interviews, and questioned whether some people were content to get by on benefits rather than trying to earn a living.

His outspoken comments provoked an impassioned response on The Star's Facebook page.

Numerous job hunters told how they had applied for countless roles, often not even receiving the courtesy of a response from the employer to say they had been unsuccessful.

Some people questioned whether Mr Murphy was paying enough for a sales role, which they pointed out could be a stressful and demanding line of work.

Nick Murphy, managing director of HS Direct

Nick Murphy, managing director of HS Direct

They said the basic salary of £15,600 was only a little above the minimum wage of £7.20 an hour, though with commission that could rise to £27,000.

However, others argued that people could not afford to be fussy, especially when it came to a job that Mr Murphy said required little experience and came with training.

And fellow employers chipped in too, bemoaning their difficulties when it came to recruiting hardworking staff.

Sandra Davies wrote: "I've been frustrated by applying for hundreds of jobs and at best, you'll only get one or two 'thanks but no thanks' replies. The rest completely ignore you."

HS Direct's Sheffield HQ in Meadowhall

HS Direct's Sheffield HQ in Meadowhall

Despite having 30 years of admin experience and a degree, she added, she often fails to even receive a call back or email.

Gary Schofield shared her frustrations, writing: "I've applied for hundreds of jobs too. You can take hours to fill in application forms, only to be rejected within a few hours by an automated keyword app, if you are lucky enough to even get a response."

And Sharron Firth told how she had worked since the age of 16 but, now aged 59, had applied for 103 jobs including one at the soon-to-open Ikea store without success.

Geoff Wheatley questioned whether the basic salary on offer was enough to attract talented sales staff.

"The salary/commission ratio is bang out of kilter here. Sales is stressful and a skill, but you're pricing it as 'luck'. You should be offering £20,000 basic + 30 per cent commission for new to sales staff, not £16,000 and 70 per cent commission," he wrote.

Steve Eyles also felt the remuneration could be more generous.

"It works out at £8 an hour if you're working a 37.5 hour week. No wonder people aren't interested," he wrote.

"You take tax and insurance off. Rent and council tax is paid when you're out of work, less bedroom tax and council tax tax if you're a single occupant of two bedrooms or more. It can actually work out that you're worse off working."

Karl Sheehan concurred, commenting: "Try paying someone a wage they can actually live off and you might have more people wanting to work for you."

But Tom Currey disagreed, writing: "That's a base salary for a commission based role, people just don't want to try and earn their worth."

And Tom Turner said people shouldn't expect to walk into a highly-paid job if they lack skills and experience.

"If you're unskilled and inexperienced you can't expect to start a job/career and have loads of disposable income straight away," he wrote.

"If you do well you can earn up to £27,000 a year. So you ride the hard times then reap the rewards for your hard work afterwards. That's how it works. You can't expect firms to pay £20,000 plus per year for staff that they are training up, surely."

Claire Campbell commented: "£15,000 is a good starting salary for someone with no experience or just out of college. My first wage was £8,000 and I survived paying back uni debts and living!

"People just expect £30,000 without ever learning the job. Get in the real world! I used my bike to get to work at 5am! My car came four years later when I could afford it."

Christopher Henson said he is 47 and had worked since leaving school aged 16, despite twice being made redundant, having never claimed a penny in benefits.

"I don't have many formal qualifications and sometimes have worked for poor money and struggled but it always leads to better things. I'm afraid a lot of these sound like excuses to be honest," he added.

Dean Holland was among the employers siding with Mr Murphy.

He wrote: "People don't want to work - fact. We have struggled to fill engineer vacancies and finding young people with an energy to work is impossible."

And Nicola Beal commented: "I have given up having staff and choose to work on my own after a lot of people just not turning up, even when it's them who originally asked for a job when you haven't advertised for staff. They must get money regardless of not working. Otherwise they'd want to work."