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Human Times
North America
Most Americans doubt their children will be better off

An overwhelming share of Americans aren’t confident their children’s lives will be better than their own, according to a new Wall Street Journal-NORC Poll that shows growing skepticism about the value of a college degree and record-low levels of overall happiness. The survey with NORC at the University of Chicago, a nonpartisan research organization that measures social attitudes, questioned 1,019 adults from March 1st-13th. Approximately four in 10 cited health care and housing costs as big worries, and nearly two-thirds said inflation is a major concern. Forty-four percent said their finances are in worse condition than they expected for this stage in life, and more than a third said they are not at all satisfied with how they are getting along financially. Fewer than three in 10 agreed that people like them and their family have a good chance of improving their standard of living. “That strikes me as something that’s kind of an intractable level of pessimism,” observes Jennifer Benz, vice president of public affairs and media research at NORC. She said that lower gas prices or other marginal changes in the economy are unlikely to shift people’s fundamental disappointment with their financial standing. 

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Human Times
Firms struggle to fill gaps in the workforce

Analysis by ManpowerGroup shows that around 80% of UK companies have reported difficulty filling jobs. This is the highest percentage since 2006 and marks an increase on the 35% recorded in pre-pandemic 2019. Michael Stull, director at ManpowerGroup UK, said: “Talent shortages are always an area of concern for employers, but the real step change in our data can be seen post 2019.” He added that employers were "acutely aware of the growing scarcity of key skills, so they're holding on to and trying to stockpile business-critical talent. Just in time hiring does not work anymore, just in case hiring is more the mantra." Meanwhile, KPMG expects the UK unemployment rate to widen to 4.1% this year, from 3.7% in 2022. Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG, has flagged skills shortages and slowing workforce participation as two structural issues that “dominate the longer-term risks to the UK outlook.”

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German union boss says strike over pay is a matter of survival

Frank Werneke, head of Germany’s Verdi labour union, has told Bild am Sonntag that massive strike action planned for today is a "matter of survival" for many thousands of people who are fighting for higher wages amid surging inflation. The strike, which had already commenced at Munich Airport on Sunday, is Germany's largest in decades and is expected to cause widespread disruption on railways and at airports in Europe's biggest economy. "The people are not only underpaid, they are hopelessly overworked," Werneke said, adding "The strike is necessary to make clear to employees that we will vehemently stand up for our demands . . . It is a matter of survival for many thousands of employees to get a considerable pay rise." Verdi is calling for a 10.5% wage increase, which would see pay rising by at least €500 ($538) per month.

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Middle East
Saudi move to employ expatriates’ companions in certain circumstances

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Human Resources and Social Development has been granted the authority to employ companions of expatriate workers in the kingdom. The husbands or wives of expatriates and also a mahram (close blood relative) of expatriate working women will be allowed to be hired under certain conditions, Okaz/Saudi Gazette has reported. According to the conditions for employing companions, they must have passed the qualifying tests prescribed for practicing the specified profession in the kingdom in accordance with the government requirements.

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Number of young workers real-time streaming resignations

A growing number of young workers are real-time streaming their resignations and their videos are attracting millions of views online. So-called #quittok videos take different forms – filming workers’ departures on a live Zoom call, or documenting the moment they hand in a letter of resignation – but each clip captures the second when workers quit. California-based therapist and coach Tess Brigham says most young users on TikTok are digital natives, and as such have shared every kind of milestone online. “It's how this generation has experiences, it's how they've learned to be in the world,” she says. “If you grow up used to recording and sharing things, why wouldn't you share these larger, more significant moments in time?”

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