The latest business Intelligence for HR professionals and people managers everywhere
Sign UpOnline Version
European Edition
25th November 2021
Germany’s new government vows to tackle gender pay gap
Germany's new government has vowed to tackle the country's gender pay gap and increase wage transparency through stronger legislation. Women in Germany earn 19.2% less than men as a consequence of one of the widest gender pay gaps in Europe. "Germany is one of the countries where action is most needed," observed Terry Reintke, a German European Parliament member, adding  "Germany's image on issues like gender equality is very different from the reality on the ground."  Cultural stereotypes and biases, poor access to childcare, unfair tax systems, and education disparities mean the country’s pay gap changed little under Chancellor Angela Merkel, economists and equality advocates say. The Confederation of German Employers' Associations describes an EU directive on pay transparency, which is currently under discussion by the European Commission and parliament, and which the German government is supporting, as "Brussels bureaucracy" that does not account for root causes of pay inequality including career choice and part-time work.
Orange to replace CEO
French telecommunications operator Orange is to search for a successor to its chairman and CEO Stephane Richard by January 31st  after a Paris appeal court convicted him of complicity of misuse of public funds while working in the French government. Richard, a former top civil servant who has led Orange for the past 11 years, said he would appeal the court’s verdict, which handed him a one year suspended prison sentence, describing it as “deeply unfair.” He has always denied any wrongdoing. Orange said Richard will remain in office on an interim basis while the company looks for a replacement. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has repeatedly said that the government position is that bosses of state-owned companies should stand down if convicted of a crime. The case concerned a €400m ($450m) French state payout to the late business tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008.
Amazon workers urged to strike on Black Friday
German trade union Verdi has urged workers to strike at three different Amazon locations to coincide with this week’s Black Friday discount shopping event. Strike action is scheduled to begin tonight at Amazon's shipping centres in Rheinberg, Koblenz and Graben, and the union said further action was being prepared at other locations. The strike action is part of an international campaign against perceived exploitation at retail groups. Germany is Amazon's biggest market after the United States.
Remote work is failing Gen Z employees
Writing for the New York Times, Anne Helen Petersen and Charlie Warzel, the authors of a forthcoming book about remote work called “Out of Office,” say flexible work — “absent intentionally designed support systems” — can hurt the most inexperienced employees in an organisation. They have interviewed early career workers who’ve felt “left behind, invisible and, in some cases, unsure about how to actually do their jobs” while working remotely. The authors note that few companies invested the time to craft policies to mentor young professionals, “many of whom found themselves stuck on their couches, attempting to decipher cryptic emails and emojis sent over Slack.”
FTSE 100 chief execs see pay curbed
FTSE 100 company chief executives saw their median remuneration fall 9% in 2021 to £2.9m, a report by PwC has found. Additionally, nearly a third of chief executives – twice that of last year – didn’t receive a bonus because they did not meet their target or because the bonus was cancelled altogether. Some 45% of CEOs also had their salary frozen – though this represented a slight reduction compared to the year prior. “We expect to see much of the same restraint and scrutiny where pay outcomes do not appropriately reflect the broader stakeholder experience or ESG expectations,” Phillippa O’Connor, reward and employment leader at PwC UK, said. “With more shareholder rebellions being recorded than in previous years, companies would do well to consider what actions they can take now to secure agreement, meet the expectations set and prepare for the new reporting regulations around their net zero plans.”
Citi to hire 100 people amid digital assets push
Citigroup is seeking 100 hires as part of a new push into digital assets inside the lender's institutional business. “We are focused on assessing the needs of our clients in the digital-asset space,” Citigroup said in a statement. “Prior to offering any products and services, we are studying these markets, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape and associated risks in order to meet our own regulatory frameworks and supervisory expectations.” Puneet Singhvi has been recruited to be Citi’s new head of digital assets inside the institutional-clients group, according to a staff memo seen by Bloomberg. He will report to Emily Turner, who manages business development for the broader group. “We believe in the potential of blockchain and digital assets including the benefits of efficiency, instant processing, fractionalization, programmability and transparency,” Turner said in the memo to staff. “Puneet and team will focus on engaging with key internal and external stakeholders including clients, start-ups and regulators. ”
AmEx dismissals following inappropriate pitching of certain products
American Express has discontinued a service known as Premium Wire, which enables businesses to send wire payments globally, and fired some employees at its global commercial services division after they inappropriately positioned the product to customers. The company said it had hired a law firm to investigate its small business sales practices in the United States, including sales of Premium Wire. The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported that some AmEx salespeople had pitched a strategy to business owners which gamed how tax law treats rewards points. "This misconduct should not have happened," the company said in a statement. "As a result of an internal investigation, we terminated employees and disciplined others, made product changes, adjusted our sales compensation plan, required additional training, and reinforced our permitted sales practices and policies."
Ardian starts work on potential IPO
Paris-based private equity firm Ardian has commenced internal preparations for a possible initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter. The move follows recent successful listings by other alternative investment firms in Europe.  There is no certainty that Ardian, which has $120bn under management, will decide to proceed with plans for an IPO, according to the people.
Jamie Dimon apologises twice after CCP joke
JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon has apologised twice after he joked that the Wall Street giant would outlast the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Speaking at the Boston College Chief Executives Club, a business forum, Mr. Dimon said that JP Morgan hoped to be in China “for a long time” and quipped: “I made a joke the other day that the Communist party is celebrating its hundredth year. So is JP Morgan. I’d make a bet that we last longer.” He added: “I can’t say that in China. They are probably listening anyway.” After issuing an initial statement of regret, Mr. Dimon penned another, more effusive, version acknowledging that he “should never speak lightly or disrespectfully about another country or its leadership.” Separately, the FT looks at how the Chinese operations of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are faring.
Country Road slammed for ‘ethics’ talk while workers strike for $1 pay rise
Australian clothing retailer Country Road has been criticised for taking part in an online talk on ethics and responsible fashion at the City of Melbourne fashion week online panel, while its warehouse workers strike for a $1 an hour pay rise. The United Workers Union (UWU) is calling on shoppers to avoid Country Road, which distributes brands including Mimco, Trenery, Witchery and Politix. The UWU claims Country Road, which is owned by South African retail group Woolworths, has received $25m in JobKeeper subsidies but refuses to hand the 130 mainly female workers at its Truganina warehouse a $1 an hour pay rise, to bring their pay into line with workers at local male-dominated warehouses.

The Human Times team is delighted to announce an exciting new referral program that enables our readers to earn access to in-depth HR-related analysis reports and a free annual subscription to the World of Work database - a 5 year searchable archive of all Human Times content categorized by topic, sector, region and geography, usually costing $250. 

To find out more see our latest Referral Program page for details...


or, simply copy your own referral link to share with others[[data:sl_referralcode]]

PS: You have referred [[data:sl_referralscount:"0"]] people so far

The Human Times is designed to help you stay ahead, spark ideas and support innovation, learning and development in your organisation. The links under articles indicate original news sources. Some links lead directly to the source material. Others lead to paywalls where you may need a subscription. A third category are restricted by copyright rules. For reaction and insights on any stories covered in the Human Times, join the discussion by becoming a member of our LinkedIn Group or Business Page, or follow us on Twitter.

This e-mail has been sent to [[EMAIL_TO]]

Click here to unsubscribe