Thursday, 4 December 2008

Jobs for conductors

What is happening in CE worldwide?

Doom and gloom aplenty in the macro-economy, with obvious projections week by week here on Conductive World on how this might impact upon the micro-economy of Conductive Education: not a happy prospect! But is this really a fair way of looking at the fortunes of the CE movement or are there also more concrete and specific underlying trends to be looked out for? One quantifiable index of what is happening might be though the advertisements placed on the Internet, on the CE Job Centre.


Surveys of how charities are fairing in the UK have thrown some light upon on corner of the economic cicumstances od Conductive Education in the closing month of 2008, but there is no concrete information as yet on what is actually happening on the CE ground. Reasonably and sensibly CE programs and services keep their commercial/financial business to themselves. This means that there may be little or no public information on how they are doing till their situation gets so really bad as to be unavoidably in the public domain (at its most extreme, when a program ceases operation). Against this background perhaps one possible public index of economic activity in the sector might be the Conductive Education Job Centre.

The CE Job Centre in November

A prime purpose behind establishing the CE Job Centre in the first place, in the late nineties, was to 'keep an eye on' what was happening during the internationalisation of CE. Informal report suggests that many people do in fact look at it to ‘see what is going on’ rather than specifically about employment. The CE Job Centre was intended to include of jobs any kind in CE but de facto has tended to be overwhelmingly concerned with conductors.

Recent visitors to the CE Job Centre will have seen that it is experiencing technical difficulties but scroll down the page and the job market is still busy there, with 19 posting over the thirty days of November.

The most salient (one might say the most glaring) feature of those listed is that all but three of these 19 postings are for ‘conductors wanted’. Only three (involving four conductors) are from conductors looking for jobs.

First impression therefore is that the job market is still blazing away, much as it always has, with more jobs looking for conductors than there are conductors looking to fill them.

This situation is certainly born out anecdotally. Rainbow House in the North West of England, a successful and satisfying sort of place to work in, has been trying for months to find conductors to meet expansion plans. And a month ago Conductive World tried its own test of the market by publicising what again sounds a most attractive a job vacancy, in Mauritius. Result last tiMe that I heard: no enquiries. Perhaps my views of what constitutes a satisfying job in for a conductor are rather wide of the mark.

Jobs wanted

With only three ‘jobs wanted’ postings in November maybe it is unfair to judge from what they tell us. Here goes anyway. The one was looking for a fortnight’s work in the USA just before Christmas (this Christmas), ‘…for a short CE session… feel free to call’. A second is looking for ‘4-5 weeks, December-January‘, though it is not clear where. The third merits quoting in full:

Two qualified conductors with good experience are looking for a summer job for July in 2009 in Monaco. Both of us speaks good English.

Nice work if you can get it and quite possibly they will. Either way, just perhaps their very asking , in the way that they do, tells us something about the nature of this particular commodity market.

Jobs on offer

What do the people advertising jobs vacant offer in return?

A lot of it might be described as bread and butter, the very stuff that CE was developed to provide:
  • Full-time conductor in established project (North Coast Ohio Conductive Education
  • Position immediately for Conductor-Teacher (Sara‘s Garden, Ohio).
  • Full-time conductor teacher (Horton Lodge School, English Midlands)
  • Conductor, expected to write/lead task series, contribute to reports (Kent, England)
  • Full-time, conductor for year-round program, long-term position (PACES, North of England

Three are looking for something a little extra:

  • Senior position critical to strategic development (PACE, North of London, England)
  • Senior Conductor to lead and develop the Parent and Child (PACE, North of London, England)
  • Conductor (Conductor/Teacher) to run our Outreach Service Provision (Hornsey Trust, London

The remaining seven are seeking to fill a variety of private arrangements, live-in or part-time

  • Full time helper, not necessarily conductor (Private, North East England)
  • Live-in (South of England)
  • A few hours a day for the whole of 2006 (Private, Milan, Italy)
  • For up to a year (Private, Florida)
  • Part-time, work some weekends and occasional weekdays (Private, in mainstream school, near Hull, North of England
  • Private, live in, Angelman’s syndrome (Oxford, England)

What does one make of all this? Not a too much. For a start, it is possible that many conductors find their work through networks of personal contacts and never advertise at all. Centres and individual families might not always be able to access such grapevines. Immediately, therefore, the two lists might not be like for like in terms of their respective advertisers’ wider access to possibilities.

Other factors might be in play on this small and almost certainly selective sample. It has been pointed out to me that, for example, the recruitment picture might be differentially influenced by the time of year. One has to remember too that these postings from last month are only postings: one cannot know to what degree there requirements will be satisfactorily met.

Let us hope, of course that they will all be successfully and satisfactorily fulfilled.

No conclusion...

Apologies for the micro-analysis. If it suggests anything, then that is that conductor jobs involving serious, long-term commitment may be hard to fill. No surprise there, then! It goes beyond the data, however, to speculate whether less serious, short-term engagements are higher up the priority list'

And, recognising that there will always be rich people, and that of course the families of some of these may need the services of a conductor (like they needs maids and drivers), it is no more that unsubstantiated speculation to assume that there will always be jobs for conductors, recession or no.

A month ago the Mauritius posting here on Conductive World, included this thought:

Just perhaps the balance of economic forces behind the conductive bubble is such that the conductor job market will drift on through the world recession blissfully immune to the mayhem around it. Just perhaps…

A month later and I am no wiser. It is possible that the conductor commodity will continue to find buyers, even in the teeth of global recession, but not so much in its ‘traditional markets’, making unavoidably apparent a contradiction within the conductive movement long felt but usually discreetly veiled.

We shall have to see.


A great place to work, especially in hard times: so why can’t they find a conductor? Conductive World, 13 November

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