Apr 13, 2011

How will the Twilight Phenomenon Change the Job Market?


By now, six years after the opening book of her ‘Twilight’ series first hit the shelves, the story of how Stephenie Meyer came to write her ‘saga’ has become as firmly planted in the public subconscious as the girl-vampire-werewolf-love-triangle of the books themselves. As we all know, it came to her in a dream.

Way back in 1815 another young women also started writing a story, filled with horror, tension and a hint of the supernatural. Just like Meyer, it came to her in a dream. Her name was Mary Shelley, the novel was Frankenstein. The work is now considered a fundamental part of the cannon of Women’s literature and went on to change the way people think, not only about Halloween costumes, but also issues such as sexual politics and the relationship between technology and morality. It could be argued that the novel was at the base of the growing movement for Women’s rights which, in more recent decades, has completely changed employment law in this country.

There was no way that, when the 18 year old Shelley started sketching out ideas for her ground breaking work, she could’ve had any notion of the legacy it would leave behind. Likewise Meyer, who was originally writing Twilight as a gift to her sister, could not have anticipated finding a publisher, yet alone sparking a global phenomenon of Harry Potter sized proportions (although she was probably much more ready for the Hollywood remakes!)

So, if Twilight can be seen as the modern equivalent of Frankenstein, what effect will it have on the future of our nation’s job market?

A lot is made of the challenges facing graduates taking their first steps out of the safety of their campuses and into the veritable killing fields of today’s cut throat job market. Wider youth unemployment recently hit record highs, standing at roughly 2.5 million and, whilst most economic forecasters are generally gloomy about things to come, there is a problem on the horizon they have not forseen. We have on our hands a whole generation of young people who, either want to grow to be vampires, or believe they already are.

So, what shifts in employment patterns is this likely to produce? For one thing, more and more young people will want to find careers where they can work in the dark. The ideal solution would be mining. Not only would the cold, subterranean working conditions be perfect for vampires, their skin would be blacked with coal, protecting them from sunlight at the end of the day. They’d also get to use their super strength.

Unfortunately, ever since Thatcher, Britain’s primary production industries have been shrinking. Perhaps the tertiary sector will provide jobs for young vampires? Maybe in call centres, customer care, or even business to business sales roles? Alas, if Edward Cullen, hero of the Twilight books, is anything to go by vampires are not very chatty and normally speak in sentences of four words, usually “I love you, Bella.” Not great for any role that requires ‘people skills’, a term that employers tend to put in all person specifications and job ads. Oh dear.

Many civil servants have a certain something of Nosferartu about them, creeping the corridors of White Hall but, given the huge amount of cuts that have occurred in the public sector, this also looks like a tough option for our young vampires.

You’d have to conclude that the Twilight sensation will probably make the job market an even scarier place and, considering that vampires live forever, the costs to public services will be a disaster for the deficit. They’d make good security guards though, and if David Cameron can’t do anything to lower unemployment, he’s probably going to need a few of those.

Richard Norris runs a job search website specializing in publishing jobs in the UK and also happens to be a Twilight fan after being dragged to the cinema by his two daughters to watch the series of films.

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