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UNIT 7. Choice of Employment

Introduction

TEXT A.
This short text comes from a newspaper advertisement.

F.A.D. (Agriculture) Ltd
A vacancy for a sales person exists in our marketing department. Applications are invited from persons possessing the following qualifications:
a). male or female, aged between 25-35 years old
b). four years experience in sales
c). a pass in the school leaving examination
d). possession of a car driving licence
e). experience of simple accounting would be an advantage
f). ability to type and handle general correspondence.

Exercise 1.
a. Which of the qualifications listed in Text A is desirable but not essential?
b. None of the four people who applied for the post had all the necessary qualifications. Which of the four described below do you think was best qualified?
1. Mr Sammy K. 36 years old. 10 yean experience as a fanner. 5 yean experience as a shopkeeper. No school leaving certificate. Cannot type. Has a driving licence. Married, three children.
2. Miss Gloria H. 22 years old. One year in secretarial college learning typing and basic accounts. Three yean-in the sales department of a soft drinks firm. Has a school leaving certificate. No driving licence. Unmarried.
3. Mr Alberto F. 26 years bid. Left university after one year. Three years working for an agricultural engineer as an accountant. 2 years in sales and two years school teaching. Cannot type. Has a driving licence. Married, no children.
4. Mrs Julia G. 31 years old. Has a school leaving certificate. Six years experience in sales. Can type and handle correspondence. No experience in accounts. Has a driving licence. Married, two children.

Exercise 2.
Choose the correct alternatives.

(a) Skilled/unskilled workers are trained for particular occupations, and a skilled worker is usually employed only in his particular occupation. For example, if a well-trained hospital surgeon applies for work in (b) an airport/a hospital he will probably be successful. And if he applied for work as an aircraft pilot, he would be (c) successful/unsuccessful. But this is a hypothetical situation. That is, it would (d) probably not happen/certainly happen and is being discussed here in order to illustrate an argument. A surgeon knows that he is (e) trained/not trained to work as a pilot, (f) and so/but would not apply for a job as one.

CLUES:a. Are unskilled workers trained?
b. Do you expect a surgeon to apply for work as a pilot?

 

Focus: Hypothetical conditionals.

In Unit 5 we saw that general conditionals sometimes make predictions that are true under certain conditions which can exist. For instance: If price rises, then demand will fall.
But now look at this example of a hypothetical conditional. It describes what would happen under conditions that the writer thinks are impossible, or at least improbable.
If the world population fell, the demand for food would decrease.
The writer does not expect the world population to fall.
Now look at these further examples of hypothetical conditionals. Note that the past form does not mean past time.
If unskilled labourers were paid more than doctors, few people would wish to study in medical school.
or Few people would wish to study in medical school if unskilled labourers were paid more than doctors.
If the developed countries grew sufficient food to feed themselves, exports from the developing countries would fall.
or Exports from the developing countries would fall if the developed countries grew sufficient food to feed themselves.

Exercise 3.
Decide whether the writer thinks the condition for each sentence is 'possible' or 'not possible'.

a. If the demand for petrol decreased next year, the price would decrease.
b. If the demand for petrol decreases next year, the price will decrease.
c. If all working people were paid equal wages, very few would train to work as doctors, lawyers, and teachers.
d. Women can contribute to the economic growth of the developing countries if they are better educated.
e. If women in the developing countries were paid more than men, the birth rate would fall very rapidly.
f. If engineering was unskilled, the developing countries could easily start their own heavy engineering industries.

CLUES:Compare the verb forms used in general conditionals and hypothetical conditionals.

Exercise 4.
Choose the correct alternatives.
As a general rule, workers move to the highest paid job, but this does not always happen. If it (a) does/did the wages paid for a particular type of work would become about the same everywhere. But some workers are prepared to accept low wages on condition that they (b) can/could work where they like, or (c) have/had security of employment.
If the process of industrialization in the developing world (d) keeps/kept pace with the process of urbanization, these countries would find no difficulty in becoming economically self-sufficient. But unfortunately, the percentage of population living in cities already exceeds the population engaged in manufacturing. If it (e) continues/continued to grow at its present rate the urban population (f) will/would exceed the manufacturing population by a proportion of 3 to 1 by the end of the 1980s. And there is no reason to suppose that this trend will be reversed (i.e. that this pattern will change) before the end of the century. In the developing countries, many people seem to be occupied on farms or employed in government on a full-time basis, even though the services they (g) perfofm/performed may actually require much less than full time. The real underemployment is disguised (i.e. hidden) and if the available work was equally shared among those employed the amount of actual underemployment (h) will be/would be obvious.

CLUES:a.Does the writer believe that workers always move to the highest paid work? If not, this condition is hypothetical.
b.'on condition' makes a conditional here. Is the condition possible or impossible/improbable?
c. b gives you the answer.
d. Does the writer believe that the process of industrialization in the developing world can keep pace with urbanization?
c. Is it likely that the urban population will continue to grow at the present rate? If not, this condition is hypothetical.
f. e gives you the answer.
g. Is there any reason why this verb should have past form?
h. Is the available work equally shared?

 

Exercise 5.
If you are working on your own, complete passage 1 with the phrases given after it. If you are forking with a friend, one of you complete passage 1and the other complete passage 2. Write the completed passages in your notebook.

PASSAGE 1.
To a substantial degree, the movement of labour is (a) ______. (b) ______, if the wages paid in the car factory are higher than those paid in an aircraft factory (c) d ______, when all other things are equal (e.g. (d) ______.
However, there are some important factors that do limit the movement of labour. If British car workers were offered better paid work in a car factory in Japan, (e) ______. Skilled workers in the developed countries are usually (f) ______ where a different language is spoken.
A further check on labour mobility is created by the specialized nature of most professional training. If doctor's earnings suddenly increased (g) ______, would many farmers move into medicine? No, because it is not easy for a farmer (h) ______.

PASSAGE 1 PHRASES.
1. few would accept
2. to train to become a doctor
3. when no retraining is necessary
4. influenced by wage considerations
5. unwilling to move their families to a foreign country
6. For instance
7. and farmers' earnings decreased
8. most workers will choose to work in a car factory.

CLUES:If you are working on your own, check your answer by completing passage 2. But be careful! The two passages are slightly different.

PASSAGE 2.
There are certain important factors that do place limitations on the movement of labour. For instance, (i) ______ in a British car factory, not many would accept. It is usually the case that skilled workers in the developed countries do not wish to move their families (j) ______ where a different language is used.
(k) ______. If lawyers' earnings suddenly increased and farmers' decreased, (l) ______, because the legal profession requires (m) ______.
To a substantial degree, wage considerations (n) ______. For instance; (o) ______ are higher than those paid in a car factory, many workers will choose to work in the aircraft factory, (p) ______ (for instance, when conditions in the two factories are approximately the same).

PASSAGE 2 PHRASES.
1. if the wages paid in an aircraft factory
2. A second limiting factor is specialized training
3. to a foreign country
4. if German car workers were offered better paid work
5. decide the movement of labour
6. farmers would not start to practise law
7. all other factors being equal
8. a great deal of specialized training.

CLUES:Compare the completed passages 1 and 2. But be careful! The two passages are slightly different.

The paragraphs in passages 1 and 2 are differently ordered. Decide how they should be ordered, and which passage is best.

CLUES:In both passages, one paragraph gives a general rule and the other two discuss exceptions to the rule. Do you expect the exceptions to be discussed before the rule?

 

Exercise 6.
Which paragraph in each pair makes the best sense?

a. 1. If an increase in wages always led to higher productivity, an increased wages bill would guarantee increased profits. Unfortunately, this does hot often happen. An increase in wages does not necessarily bring an increase in productivity.
2. If an increase in wages always led to higher productivity, an increase wages bill would guarantee increased profits. Happily, this always happens and employers are pleased to pay demands for higher wages.

b. 1. If poor farmers in the developing countries could afford to invest heavily in farm machinery, many fewer people would be employed. But poor farmers do not have the capital for this scale of investment, and so farming in the developing countries continues to be labour intensive (i.e. large numbers of people are employed).
2. If poor farmers in the developing countries could afford to invest heavily in farm machinery, many fewer people would be employed. As a result, farming in these countries is becoming more and more capital intensive - that is, capital is invested in machinery, which takes the place of human labour.

c. 1. If we had accurate information about the demand for labour in the coming year, we could make an accurate prediction of the national level of unemployment. We are able to make a very accurate estimation of how many skilled workers will be needed.
2. If we had accurate information about the demand for labour in the coming year, we could make an accurate prediction of the national level of unemployment. However, no one can say precisely how many skilled workers will be needed.

d. 1. Because the demand for home-growth agricultural products is usually high in the developed countries, the price of agricultural land is high. But if the demand for these products were to fall, then the price paid for agricultural land would also fall. This does not seem likely to happen.
2 Because the demand for home-grown agricultural products is usually high in the developed countries, the price of agricultural land is high. But if the demand for these products were to fall, then the price paid for agricultural land would also fall. This is very likely to happen.

e. 1. Wage considerations are particularly important in determining the movement of labour. For instance, if the wages paid in a car factory are higher than those paid in an aircraft factory (and all other factors, such as conditions and the training required, are equal), workers will prefer to work in the car factory.
2. The movement of labour is determined by other factors than wage considerations. For instance, if the wages paid in a car factory are higher than those paid in an aircraft factory (and all other factors, such as condition's and the training required, are equal), workers will prefer to work in the car factory.

CLUES:a. In paragraph 1, the first sentence is hypothetical. The writer does not believe that an increase in wages always leads to higher productivity. The second sentence agrees. But in paragraph 2, do the first and second sentences agree?
b. Check whether the two sentences agree. Remember that when the writer makes a hypothetical conditional, he thinks that the condition is at least improbable.
c. Does the writer think we have accurate information about the demand for labour? Are we able to say precisely how many skilled workers will be needed?
d. Look at the conditional sentence. Does the writer expect the demand for agricultural products to fall?
e. Which factory pays the higher wages? Where do workers prefer to work? Why do they prefer to work there?

 

Reading.

Exercise 7.
Write out the following sentences in the order that makes best sense.
a. If a failed businessman continued to pay salaries to his employees he would be obliged to spend his own savings in order to retain their services.
b. The same rule does not apply to civil servants.
c. If it makes very low profits or consistently makes losses, it will be wound up and go out of existence.
d. It follows that the employees of a private business are secure in their employment only for as long as the business makes a reasonable profit.
c. If a business makes satisfactory profits, it will continue to operate.

CLUES:Text B gives you the answer.

 

Exercise 8.
Do you agree or disagree with these statements?
a. In times of economic depression, car workers are less certain of retaining their jobs (i.e. keeping their jobs) than are government workers.
b. Civil servants are better paid than are their opposite numbers in private enterprise.
c. Civil servants are promoted more slowly than are employees in private enterprise.

CLUES:Text B gives you one possible answer.
b. 'Civil servants' are workers employed by the government.
'private enterprise' includes all businesses that are not directly controlled by the government.

 

TEXT B.

If a business makes satisfactory profits, it will continue to operate. If it makes very low profits or consistently makes losses, it will be wound up or go out of existence. If a failed businessman continued to pay salaries to his employees he would be obliged to spend his own savings in order to retain their services follows that the employees of a private business are secure in their employment only for as long as the business makes a reasonable profit.
The same rule does not apply to civil servants. They are employed in order to administer government policy, and are not subject to the effects of economic profit and loss to the same degree. For instance, during a period of serious economic recession in the United States of America, Time (15 March 1982) reported that 20,8% of car workers and 14,7% of workers in the apparel and textile industries had lost their jobs, compared to only 5,2% of government workers.
Civil servants enjoy regular salaries, allowances, pensions, leave, and other benefits on clearly laid down scales. Their offices (jobs) in the administration are organized in a hierarchy (that is, on different levels of seniority). They are given more authority and increased material rewards as they rise from the bottom to the top of the hierarchy. Appointments and promotions are made on the basis of experience and qualifications.
However, there are disadvantages to government work. The material rewards are often less generous than those offered by private enterprise. Promotion may be slower. The opportunities to learn new skills and move to new areas of expertise are more restricted.

 

Exercise 9.
Complete each text by choosing one of the words below it.
a. I am paid the same now as I was four years ago. But in that time the cost of living has risen by 40%, and my salary has fallen in value. If the cost of living had fallen, my salary would have ______. But unfortunately this has not happened.
1. appreciated 2. depreciated 3. deprecated 4. replicated

b. He is employed by his ______. That is, he works for the authority that governs his city.
1. commonality 2. nationality 3. hierarchy 4. municipality

c. We have rules of attendance in my office, and all employees should try to arrive for work by 9.00 a.m. and cannot usually leave before 5.00 p.m. But these rules are ______. For instance, if an employee wants to go home early one day, the boss allows him to do so on condition that the lost time is made up on another day.
1. inflammable 2. inflexible 3. flexible 4. federal

d. The job advertisement in Text A requires the candidates to have four years' experience in sales. It also says, they should have experience of simple accounting, but does not ______ how much experience.
1. contemplate 2. stipple 3. stipulate 4. complicate

e. My friend would work if she were able. But she is not well and has no qualifications. Also, she has to stay at home to look after her mother. She is ______ by many problems.
1. encumbered 2. encountered 3. encouraged 4. entertained.

CLUES:a. See Text C, paragraphs 1 and 2. But be careful!
b. See Text C, paragraph 1.
c. See Text C, paragraph 3. But be careful!
d. See Text C, paragraph 3.
e. See Text C, paragraph 4. Look up the words you don't know in a dictionary.

 

TEXT C.

Expert pinpoints low salaries as major administrative problem
Abu Dhabi (Mon): A team of management experts assigned by the Middle East Organisation for Administrative Sciences to prepare a study on the classification of jobs in the United Arab Emirates government says a major problem facing government administration is the low salaries paid to employees. The team said in a report presented to the cabinet that the salaries which were acceptable in 1977 had depreciated considerably in value in 1981 as the cost of living has risen by 100 per cent since then. They explained that low salaries have led many government employees to seek jobs in other sectors which pay higher salaries, such as with oil companies, local governments and municipalities, which pay better salaries.
Another problem was the low housing, transportation, and cost of living allowances. Such allowances have stayed the same for the last five years despite an appreciable increase in the cost of these items, the report said. It pointed to the acute housing problem in the Middle East where the government of one country gives a maximum housing allowance of $2,000 to married employees and $1,500 to single employees.
A third point was the problem of appointing new employees. The report attributed the problem to the inflexibility of the Civil Service Law. For instance, the law impedes the appointment of many individuals who lack the stipulated academic qualifications, although they may have the appropriate and sometimes rare experience needed for the job.
Fourthly, the report tackled the promotion problem. It pointed out that some ministries were encumbered by many difficulties when they wanted to promote deserving employees, and were forced to find loopholes in the law. One of the ways which has been resorted to in promoting an employee when there is no vacant higher post in the hierarchy is to move the promoted person to a job which is different to what he has done before.
Another problem which the report pointed out was the small financial reward which promotion usually entailed. It explained that the end of the pay scale for one grade was the same as the start of the scale in the next higher grade and consequently an employee who was promoted would gain little financial benefit as a result of his promotion.

Emirates News, 30 January 1982

 

Exercise 10.
Which of these ideas are discussed in Text B only, which in Text C only, which in both Text B and Text C, and which in neither?

a. A worker can often earn a higher salary when he works for private enterprise than when he works for the government.
1. Text B only
2. Text C only
3. Text B and Text C
4. Neither Text B nor Text C

b. In times of unemployment, workers in private enterprise are more vulnerable (more likely to lose their jobs) than civil servants.
1. Text B only
2. Text C only
3. Text B and Text C
4. Neither Text B nor Text C

c. Civil servants are not permitted to sell their jobs to other workers.
1. Text B only
2. Text C only
3. Text B and Text C
4. Neither Text B nor Text C

d. If a ministry wants to promote a civil servant to a post which he deserves, but for which he does not hold the desired qualifications, it must look for contradictions or openings in the law.
1. Text B only
2. Text C only
3. Text B and Text C
4. Neither Text B nor Text C

e. Promotion in the civil service usually brings only a small increase in pay.
1. Text B only
2. Text C only
3. Text B and Text C
4. Neither Text B nor Text C

f. In many countries, civil servants are not given a housing allowance.
1. Text B only -
2. Text C only
3. Text B and Text C
4. Neither Text B nor Text C

CLUES:a. See Text B, paragraph 4. Is the same idea expressed in Text C?
d. A contradiction, or opening, in the law is sometimes called a 'loophole' in the law. This means that there is nothing in the law to cover a particular situation.
e. Does Text B mention the financial rewards for promotion?
Does Text C?
f. What does Text B say about housing allowances? What does Text C say?

Exercise 11.
Look at the problems faced by civil servants in Text C. Do civil servants in your country suffer from these problems? Find our the advantages and disadvantages to working for your civil service. Discuss the answers with your teacher.

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