And they all say there are 'no jobs'....

Observation for the day - there are still, it seems, people out there that are unemployed and claim to be looking for work but say 'there are no jobs'..... or 'the only jobs are zero or low hours contracts'

A quick look at the volume of vacancies advertised daily on LJN/Landscape Engine shows that there ARE part time/full time jobs out there for those that are looking.

As a business, we have advertised a vacancy over several different media sources for many months.

Net result - ONE applicant, whom three months later we still await the requested CV from...... 

Talking to other members it seems the same countrywide.

Is gardening/landscaping seen as a 'poor mans trade' nowadays or is there some greater issue at work?

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  • PRO

    It's a story I hear regularly Adam. 

    We had no fewer than 8 new jobs posted last week. I guess with UK unemployment at such low levels there are too many positions and not enough candidates.

  • PRO

    Whilst I agree that it can be a struggle to find decent staff and particularly here in the South East where we have our fair share of under 25 year olds who wouldn’t get out of bed for silly money and let have no experience I do have to question if we as employers are also to blame.

    Do we pay a fair and living wage? Do we offer scope for advancement and training? Some of the jobs I have seen advertised (not on LJN) don’t paint a pretty picture and really do drum the job in our trade down and then offer min. Wage or part time working week.

    I have just taken on a young school leaver for the summer who so far has shown amazing promise, he gets far more money than most if not all of his age group and quite a few benefits that I am sure no one else would offer. But then again, I didn’t get too many enquiries but then it might have been the wrong time of the year with exams etc. for young adults to be seeking work.

    Unfortunately when it comes to finding staff you have to kiss quite a few frogs etc..


    Really hope you find someone suitable Adam as it really does hamper the business if under staffed.


  • PRO

    we are still looking for someone  i had a few school leavers phone me this last week 

  • PRO
    We have an advert going at the moment and also have the same problem
  • "Is gardening/landscaping seen as a 'poor mans trade' nowadays or is there some greater issue at work?"

    My opinion, yes & yes.

    First Yes

    I always use the following analogy regarding gardening being the "poor mans trade"...

    ... Would someone who's washing machine has broken down quibble at a professionals "inspection charge" of £50 BEFORE the problem is solved? An inspection that took 15 minutes. Probably not.

    Would the same person quibble at a quote from a gardener for the same amount for a large hedge cut taking 2 1/2 hours? Probably.

    Now we all know the costs to us of this hypothetical large hedge cut and what would be "taken home" & we all know most of us will have as much expertise & experience as the "washing machine guy",  but it still seems we have to justify our quotes more and more due to the fact we are the "poor mans trade"

    Second Yes

    Graeme has it the nail on the head regarding this.

    I still get email alerts from a job site with certain landscaping keywords.

    Firstly, I applied for 3 jobs before taking the self employment plunge. None of them replied.

    I then looked into the salaries for the jobs I had been ignored for (each had advertised as "competitive"). the TOP salary was £13,750 pa.

    There HAS to be a reason for these so called jobs not to be taken up, and in my opinion, the majority of them are simply due to the fact that once a potential employee has worked out that bus fares/fuel costs/working up to 2-3 hours overtime 3 times a week for "banked hours" instead of payment etc etc makes the job untenable.....there's your reason.

    I'll put my head above the parapet and say I would not blame them either. There simply has to be a fair wage for a fair days work, and I will argue 'til the cows come home that the minimum wage, zero hours contracts & even the living wage which will only be a label to replace the minimum wage, is NOT the way forward.


    • PRO

      On the topic of salary, my old man applied for a job working on the estate of a local buisnessman who Forbes value at over 3 billion in net worth, working on his private estate as a head gardener. Quite intensive huge array of rare plants and acres of lawn to be maintained (essentially foremaning for 8 guys and working under an estate manager) The position was for 18k a year and the estate manager said he was surprised it was that high! Clearly this guy didn't get rich by writing cheques.

  • PRO

    Its simple really - You cannot expect someone to work for low wages, yet many people think and percieve gardening as low-value - a vicious ciricle - to pay someone a living wage of £10 an hour, the minimum you can expect someone to live on in a modern city - you need to charge the customer near £22 an hour, £25 if you want any profit....>

    And as long as some self employed folk foolishly miss-charge at rates as low as £15h it makes it hard to break the value-perception the public have - and even when broken, the market we are in has perceptual limits, its easy to price and market at the right point, but those perceptual limits also apply to employees- as I have found - many dont actually think they could earn a living working for a gardener, as they themselves see it as low-paid, so assume the employee would be paid even less!

  • Can i addd something im expecting that adam is looking for someone who can drive and who would be able to be insured on a van?.

    ive found that round my area looking for someone whos willing to drive a company vehicle and use there own innotative is next to impossible to find most expect the wage you are charging them out to the customer for or that they should be running there own business if that makes sense.

    I've given up searching just have to take strain on my own back

  • PRO

    Both David’s are spot on.

    I do think we are our the worst people for drumming down our trade.

    Whilst I agree that there are some regional differences these are not massive and other cost savings probably mitigate these anyway.

    If you are offering minimum wage and yes it does have its place for short term probation periods etc. but then expect to get the bottom of the pile. I know of a few small companies that will only pay peanuts and if I am honest I think the bosses is just being greedy and creaming off more profit for themselves.

    If you think your business can’t support paying not only yourself and employees a decent wage think again and rethink your pricing policy and how you market and sell yourself.

    Think you still can’t get the prices needed? Ask yourself how come companies (and many on here) do and pay decent wages and get decent staff?   I know from bitter experience all about staff / wages and other issues but finding just one decent employee and paying well you will both reap the rewards.

    I challenge those who say £15 per hour is the best rate they can get to seriously rethink on their next quote, package it correctly where the benefits and other reasons are highlighted before price.  If quoting by the hour, try fixed priced quote.  Slowly you will start to convert more quotes at higher prices  (particularly with fine tuning your presentation / quotation).  Yes you will still have to accept the odd £15 / 17 per hour job and that’s fine but in time the majority will be at a decent rate.

    Bottom line is that you may have to take a bit of a hit to your profits at first if you don’t have sensible rates but make sure you fully understand the cost of being in business and in-particular how much staff actually cost you and not just their hourly pay rate!

    All too often we are too busy working in the business and not on it. Making that jump from sole trader to employer is big and takes guts, determination and planning.

    I honestly believe that we can all make this business one where people want to work in this trade but we have to change our own mind set first and then practice what we preach and make it a stimulating environment for people to work and develop their careers.  




  • PRO
    Some of us are designed to be good "bosses" and some aren't IMO , it doesn't just come down to money, the roots of the problem go much deeper, (mind the pun) I have personally seen the horrendous working conditions that employees in gardening have to work in, i have seen swearing at employees, belittlement, bullying, and yes you get this in a lot of jobs but in gardening firms it's rife, they are taken on with high hopes only to be turned into skivvies, lackeys etc, doing only the boring mundane jobs that the lazy arse foreman doesn't want to do anymore..... I truly believe that if the correct training is given and a real chance is put on the table that they can progress into true gardeners, with a decent wage then the job hunting publics views will change...
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