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Middle East Edition
5th August 2022
Adecco revenue grows as employers seek skilled workers
Staffing and training giant Adecco has reported a 13% increase in second quarter revenue as employers hired more permanent staff amid an intensifying search for talent. The hunt for workers has also driven up wages, which have increased to offset rising inflation, said Adecco finance chief Coram Williams, who observed that the labour market has become more competitive as a growing number of workers voluntarily quit their jobs after the pandemic and leave many companies understaffed. "There is a real scarcity of talent across the globe," Williams said. "This is a key driver of wage inflation, along with inflation generally . . . There is strong wage inflation, although this varies. In continental Europe it is low to mid single digits, but elsewhere it is high single digits." Reuters notes that Adecco’s fortunes are seen as an indicator for the broader economy with companies hiring when they feel confident about the future.
Amendments to the UAE’s Wages Protection System
At least 90% of the total salaries of UAE employees must now be paid via the Wages Protection System following a recently-issued update to the WPS by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). Nazar Musa, CEO of PRO Partner Group, a UAE company services provider, explained:  “One of the main changes from the previous requirements is an increase in the minimum amount of an employee’s salary, which must be paid via the WPS. As per the new amendments, this has been increased from 80 per cent to 90 per cent.” He added:  “The WPS system provides excellent protections for employees in the UAE, ensuring they are paid correctly and on time. The system has been very successful in the UAE in ensuring the rights of employees are upheld, and payroll is processed each month correctly.” Khaleej Times has spoken with a local labour law expert to clarify the new WPS amendments. “Everything you need to know” is covered in a series of FAQs.
Ifeoma Ozoma: My experience taught me that tech workers must be Silenced No More
After suffering discrimination on the basis of gender and race, the former Google, Facebook and Pinterest employee Ifeoma Ozoma explains her mission to end the abuse of non-disclosure agreements.
Muslim women in India allege hiring bias
Al Jazeera reports on alleged discrimination against Muslim women in India in hiring for jobs in the wake of a study published in June by LedBy Foundation, a leadership incubator that focuses on the professional development of Muslims, that revealed bias against Muslim women in the recruitment process for entry-level roles in various sectors. The study highlighted such biases against Muslim women even in instances where they were equally qualified for the job. Another study, “Being a Muslim at the Workplace,” by Mumbai-based feminist collective Parcham, identified similar prejudices. “Our study notes the different ways in which discrimination occurs to exclude Muslims from the workforce. Women were doubly marginalised. Unchecked bullying, suspecting the nationalism of Muslims, and making assumptions based on bigoted notions of Muslims were so common,” said the report.
Citigroup plans 500 hires for new wealth unit
Citigroup plans to hire 500 employees over the next three years for a new wealth division. Naz Vahid, the unit’s global head, told Bloomberg News that the new division, called Wealth at Work, would cater to junior employees at private equity offices and accounting firms, betting those clients will ultimately join the ranks of the ultra-wealthy and maintain their relationship with the bank. “We understand bonus payout structures, changes in income when our clients go from associates to partners, unique retirement needs,” Vahid said. “We know when they're likely to buy a house, when they're likely to begin planning for college, and more. We know the career life cycle.”
Economists’ models miss the gains from more women in the workforce
Data suggest that male and female employees are not perfect substitutes in production and gains from gender inclusion are likely to be far larger than standard models estimate, writes Jonathan Ostry.
PwC crypto head sets up digital asset fund in Dubai
Henri Arslanian has left his role as global crypto lead at PwC to set up a digital assets fund in Dubai. Nine Blocks Capital Management has been granted provisional regulatory approval by the Gulf city. The $75m crypto hedge fund will be focused on institutional investors and is backed by $75m from Hong Kong-based hedge fund Nine Masts. Dubai’s business-friendly approach to crypto reportedly influenced Arslanian’s decision to establish his fund there. Nine Blocks has also positioned three portfolio managers in the Cayman Islands.
Returning office workers rediscover pet annoyances
Employees who are returning to their offices are rediscovering the pet peeves that come with working alongside colleagues, reports the Wall Street Journal. Coming back to the workplace after so much time away can be a bit of a culture shock for many professionals, observes Katie Burke, chief people officer at Cambridge, Mass.-based software firm HubSpot. “There was this romanticizing of the office experience,” she said. “Now we’re seeing a return to normalcy.” Workers may need a little time to readjust to a challenging commute or a new one for those who changed jobs, added Ms. Burke. “Everyone can benefit from taking a deep breath before going in and approaching things with a little bit of kindness,” she said. “When in transition everyone tends to forget what the expected rules of the road are.”
Americans set to overtake Chinese for Portugal’s golden visas
According to one investment migration consultancy, 10,000 high-net-worth residents are seeking to pull $48bn from China this year. In the past, some have used Portugal’s so-called golden visa program as an escape route. But various impediments, including the EU making increasingly clear its disdain for residence and citizenship-by-investment programs, currently offered in some form by 10 member states, and an application process that requires an in-person interview — almost impossible amid China’s Covid travel restrictions – mean China’s ultra-rich are losing a favourite escape route to Europe. For the first time ever, more Americans are tapping Portugal’s golden visa program than their Chinese counterparts. Investment migration consultants also say government authorities in China have introduced subtle impediments as well, such as delaying passport renewals and questioning why certain documents need notarizing.
Social media influencers in Korea suspected of avoiding taxes
The Korea Times says only a handful of social media influencers and creators in South Korea are likely to be paying taxes amid a local boom in e-commerce. Just 785 influencers making money through social media paid taxes in 2020, according to National Tax Service (NTS) data. They reported a total of 14.1 billion won ($10.8m) in income. The number represents only a fraction of the total number of influencers in Korea. According to Nox Influencer, a social media data provider, there are more than 90,000 influencers in Korea, with each having more than 10,000 Instagram followers. "The tax system is not catching up with the rapidly developing market. There should be a fair tax system established on such new business sectors, not only for equitable taxation but also for the development of the blooming industry," said Rep. Yang Ki-dae of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea.
Spanish research agency targeted by cyberattack linked to Russia
Spain’s leading scientific research agency has been hit by a cyberattack that authorities suspect is linked to Russia, according to the country's science ministry. The Spanish National Research Council was targeted by the ransomware attack on July 16th-17th, Spain’s science ministry said. A preliminary analysis by Spain’s cybersecurity authorities indicated that no sensitive or confidential information was extracted. The science ministry said the cyberattack was similar to others carried out against NASA in the United States and the Max Planck Institute in Germany.
Women are penalised under South Africa’s tax regime
The impact of South Africa's tax laws effectively discriminates against low-income and single mothers, according to a new report. Single-earner female-headed households are common in South Africa, yet women carry a greater tax burden, says Dr Lee-Ann Steenkamp, a contributor to the SA Board for People Practices 2022 Women’s Report. “Applying affirmative action to tax laws, to redress the disproportionate impact of VAT and personal income tax on women, especially single mothers, would support SA’s goal of inclusive economic growth and encourage greater labour force participation and entrepreneurship by women,” she explains.

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