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European Edition
24th November 2022
EY is sifting millions of resumes as recruitment surges
EY expects to sift through more than three million resumes this year as the firm moves to recruit around 220,000 people in the twelve months to July 2023, Trent Henry, the firm’s global vice chair for talent, has said – and that’s before a potential break-up of its auditing and consulting divisions takes effect, which could further boost a hiring drive that reached about 160,000 in the 2022 financial year, Bloomberg notes. EY is using automation to help its recruitment professionals and match candidates to job postings, Henry said. Bloomberg says the growth in recruitment underlines the continuing boom in demand for professional services, even as other industries are affected by lay-offs. “While there is a cooling off in the job market overall, accountancy has stood up pretty well,” observes Simon Wingate, managing director at job search website Reed UK. “If you look at traditional comparators like banking or legal, accountancy is by far and away the biggest in terms of job postings on our website.”
Italy's Intesa agrees further one-off payment to workers
Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s biggest bank, is to make a further €500 ($513) one-off payment to help employees cope with soaring inflation, the sector’s largest union FABI has said. A previous €500 one-time payment for staff had been announced with first half earnings. The contributions exclude executives. Intesa said the two payments would cost the bank around €87m. “At a tough time when price increases keep eroding spending power we renew efforts to be close to our people in a tangible way,” Intesa CEO Carlo Messina said.
Investigation reveals harsh conditions at Boohoo factory in UK
An undercover investigation by The Times has revealed the harsh conditions at Boohoo’s warehouse in the UK town of Burnley, where workers label themselves “slaves” and have complained of racism, sexual harassment, gruelling targets, inadequate training and ill-fitting safety equipment. The investigation found the conditions, where workers are forced to walk the equivalent of a half-marathon per shift in a sweltering warehouse in which night-time temperatures can reach 32C, have led to workers collapsing in the aisles. An undercover reporter revealed staff complained they are treated as “fodder,” with managers timing their lavatory breaks and no allowances made for injuries they said they had suffered as a result of the manual work. Justin Madders, Labour’s shadow minister for employment rights and protections, said: “These shocking revelations must be a wake-up call for ministers. The government has repeatedly failed to deliver their promised Employment Bill to tackle conditions in warehouses run like Victorian workhouses.” He said there needed to be “urgent guidance for safe indoor working temperatures.”
French tax inspector murdered during routine check on accounts
A tax inspector in France has been stabbed to death as he was trying to audit the books of a business owner in the north of the country. The suspected killer, a 46-year-old antiquities dealer, was then believed to have killed himself with a firearm, the prosecutors' office in the northern French city of Arras said. Budget Minister Gabriel Attal said "the republic is weeping for one of its own," calling it "revolting" that a public servant was killed "because he did his job."
Comfort food coaxes staff back to the office
Cheap meals at work can be a way for employees to offset daily living costs, and London’s employers are using subsidized food to coax workers back into the office, according to the chief executive officer of catering company Compass, which is seeing more of its client companies offering subsidized meals as “one of the levers to bring people back.” Dominic Blakemore said “There’s a lot of comfort food” alongside a focus on health and wellness. “We still have fish and chips on Fridays and chicken katsu curry is becoming one of the most popular items on the menus.”
UK lawyers will be able to work visa-free in Switzerland for 90 days
Britain's International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch has confirmed that UK lawyers will be able to work visa-free in Switzerland for 90 days after she secured a deal allowing professionals to travel more easily for business. The two countries will now launch negotiations next year on a new free trade agreement. Ms Badenoch said: "Today's agreement is a win-win for both sides. From financial services in Edinburgh to cyber security in Wales, it ensures businesses capitalise on the huge opportunities on offer.” Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the Confederation of British Industry, said: “Business will hope this injects crucial momentum as the UK and Switzerland prepare to negotiate an enhanced free trade agreement.” The Swiss export market for services is worth over £12bn, with accountancy, architectural and legal services around half of this.
BNY Mellon's Frankfurt offices raided
The Frankfurt offices of Bank of New York Mellon have been raided by Cologne prosecutors as part of their vast cum-ex probe. A spokesperson for Cologne prosecutors said searches included the homes of employees who are suspects in the case. More than 120 officers are involved, including tax investigators from three German states. The investigators are also looking for evidence of deals similar to cum-ex, the spokesperson said. Named for the Latin term for “with-without,” the cum-ex trading strategy took advantage of German tax laws that seemed to allow multiple investors to claim refunds of a tax that was paid only once.
Welsh chip plant workers fear for jobs after takeover blocked
Workers at Newport Wafer Fab in Wales have accused the UK Business Secretary of putting 600 jobs at risk by blocking a Chinese-backed takeover of the factory. Dutch chipmaker Nexperia, which is controlled by China’s Wingtech, will be forced to unwind its £63m takeover of the Welsh semiconductor plant on national security grounds following a long-delayed final ruling from Grant Shapps. Mr Shapps has so far refused to provide details on the substance of the national security concerns. Staff at the Newport plant called the takeover ban a “deeply political decision” and a “betrayal of our team,” adding “No international company in its right mind would ever invest in the UK after this.”
Global corporate tax rates stabilize after decades of decline
Corporate tax rates are showing signs of stabilization after decades of governments slashing levies in a global competition to lure investment from multinational firms. According to data released by the OECD, the average combined statutory tax rate in its sample of over 160 countries was unchanged at 20% this year. The stabilization may also be a response to fiscal challenges countries face after vast spending programs during the COVID pandemic, it said. The Paris-based organization has led years of talks on setting a global minimum tax to put an end to a race to the bottom on corporate taxation regimes. While around 140 countries involved struck a deal on a 15% rate in 2021, implementation has been delayed by domestic political constraints in many jurisdictions, including the U.S. 
What we can learn from office suck-ups
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Rachel Feintzeig says we can all learn from the office suck-up – who, she says, “often succeed - [and] faster than the rest of us.” Heidi Grant, a social psychologist, observes that suck-ups often have strong professional networks. “These are people who are very, very good at sending the social signals that make other people like them and trust them,” she says. “You’re wise to befriend them.”
Making your company more accessible for disabled staff
Writing for Bloomberg, Molly Smith looks at eight ways to make sure your company is inclusive and accessible for disabled employees. A record 5.9 million men and women with disabilities ages 16-64 were employed in October in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — up almost 25% from February 2020. Employers who want to bring in a wide pool of job applicants are advised to: clarify job descriptions, invest in technology, create employee-resource groups, and extend flexible-work options, among other recommendations. It’s noted that facilitating an inclusive and accessible workplace isn’t just a responsibility for HR or a diversity and inclusion officer. Karthik Murali, head of public health for Akido Labs, a tech-enabled medical network, says: “The initiative should come from all leaders at the company . . . That’s critical for the system to change.”
Twitter to talk with fired Ghana staff over severance
Twitter is to hold talks with fired employees in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, the location of the social media platform’s only African office, after they were offered poorer-than-announced severance packages. Around 20 people worked in the West African country’s office. Carla Olympio, a lawyer representing the employees, said: “This is not an ordinary situation and so Twitter must obey redundancy provisions under Ghanaian law . . . You can’t compel anyone to treat people with respect but you have to obey the law.” Companies in Ghana have to notify authorities at least three months before implementing a redundancy, show they are working to mitigate any negative impact, and plan for negotiation of redundancy pay. Twitter announced it was opening its first Africa office in Ghana in a bid to "be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the African continent," it said in an April 2021 statement.
Programme to retain Australian fintech talent
 FinTech Australia and talent platform Upplft have launched ‘The Big Match,' a tool to connect fintech industry jobseekers with new roles in the sector's ecosystem.  General Manager of FinTech Australia, Rehan D'Almedia, said: “Talent requirements are constantly shifting within the fintech ecosystem. There's always a demand for new talent from fintechs. And in other cases, companies may require new skill sets as they grow and change direction. By introducing this database, we're aiming to add an extra element of stability to the fintech talent market. We also want to retain fintech talent within the ecosystem, and ensure new emerging companies are both aware of it, and have access to it.”

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