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25th November 2021
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BP is on a hydrogen hiring spree
BP wants to fill 100 hydrogen jobs as a first step in the oil and gas giant’s plan to capture a 10% share of “core” hydrogen markets over the next decade. “The ambition is to get folk in as soon as possible, so they can start super-charging what is already a growing business,” Matthew Williamson, BP’s vice president for blue hydrogen, said, adding that there will also be “future waves of recruitment.” BP is hiring both internally and externally for the hydrogen roles, and is looking beyond the company’s traditional skillset. “There’s a lot of BP skills already, but we know we haven’t got all the answers,” said Williamson. “If you look at our team at the moment, we’ve got an ex-Ferrari engineer, we’ve got somebody who used to test downhill skis,” as well as “a geologist who used to model reservoirs.” BP launched a major restructuring last year, which will ultimately result in about 10,000 jobs being lost, as the company scales back its traditional fossil-fuel activities while increasing production of cleaner sources of energy.
 Europe's leading digital coaching provider, CoachHub, presents the findings of its 2021 Global HR survey, revealing that training and development programmes need urgent attention to meet the needs of today’s workforce.  

At present, only two in five companies adapt their programmes to each individual, with almost half (45%) providing a standardised offering to all workers. Employees themselves are not happy with the current state of play; almost three quarters of those in senior training and development roles (72%) admitted that their staff lament a lack of training and development initiatives. 

The pressure is on for HR and business leaders as 2022 is projected to be a year of growth. Read the full report here.

‘Lawfluencers’ open up the Magic Circle for new recruits
The FT reports on ‘lawtube,’ a subsection of studytube, informal names for an increasingly popular genre of social media content that includes “study with me” videos, exam and job application tips.
Successful CAs will embrace the future, not resist it
Daniel Clark, Head of Technology Professional Development at the BPP School of Technology, talks with Anna Mellville-James about how chartered accountants (CAs) can reboot their skills for the digital era. Of particular importance is a willingness for CAs to pivot their work towards greater digital adoption. Mr. Clark says there are two key themes when it comes to skills: “One is always being willing to learn new systems and processes. The other is around the things machines can’t do. In accountancy, if AI can sort through data, pick out anomalies and do the charting, there’ll be no need for accountants to do that. What they will need to do though is show judgement, exercise critical thinking and manage relationships.” He adds: “The key to success is a mindset that says: I am not scared of this, I’m going to find out what I need to do and make sure I maintain my skills rather than try to avoid it.”
Regulator rebukes companies over 'boilerplate' statements
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has warned that listed companies are failing to offer investors any insight into company governance by issuing “boilerplate” statements that “are seldom substantiated by actions or examples.” Sir Jon Thompson, chief executive of the regulator, said that “in too many cases reporting has not provided insight into the actions and outcomes of governance, which provides investors and wider stakeholders with confidence that company leadership is addressing the material governance issues that the company is facing.” He added that, overall, the regulator had seen “improved reporting,” but that expectations set out by the FRC a year earlier remained “unfulfilled.” Other areas of concern included “very few” companies confirming how remuneration aligned with company purposes and values while reporting on board appointments, and succession planning and diversity also remains “weak,” the regulator said.
Board diversity still not adequate
Writing in City AM, Julia Streets, founder and host of the DiverCity podcast, says too many firms are still falling short when it comes to board diversity. Founder and CEO of Women on Boards UK, Fiona Hathorn, and Margaret Franklin, the president and CEO of the CFA Institute, joined the DiverCity podcast recently to discuss diversity at board level in financial services. Ms Hathorn points out that, while government and regulators have been busy concentrating on the FTSE 350, the FTSE All-Share, containing the 600 largest UK-listed companies, is falling behind. “What we found was quite shocking, because nobody’s been measuring and managing these companies,” she says. In the FTSE 350, 29% of executive teams are women, she adds, while in the FTSE All-Share that falls to just 18% – “which is very, very poor.” Ms Franklin comments: “We have to really go at what are the exclusion habits, processes and systems that exclude others from advancing. Because the higher you go in a decision-making framework, the more necessary diverse voices, experiences and perspectives become.”
New measures urged to tackle workplace harassment
The Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, has said the Government could do more to protect people from bullying and harassment in the wake of the row around University of Sussex professor Kathleen Stock. Professor Stock said she thought scientific facts about biological sex should trump beliefs about gender identity “particularly when it comes to law and policy” but was hounded out of the university by students and staff. Ms Badenoch was responding in the Commons to questions on what support can be offered to others in this position. She said universities should be educating students on core values such as freedom of speech and freedom of belief and that the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill is designed to strengthen freedom of speech and academic freedom in universities and ensure individuals can seek redress. But she added that she was also “personally looking into what we can look at in terms of workplace harassment and bullying, which I believe a lot of that behaviour fell under.”
Tesla employees in Germany plan works council
The IG Metall trade union has said seven employees at Tesla's new plant near Berlin will elect a works council to represent their interests. "A works council ensures that the interests of the workforce have a voice and a weight. This is in line with the democratic work culture in Germany," said Birgit Dietze, IG Metall district leader in Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony. The factory will employ 12,000 workers, although only about a sixth of that number have been hired so far, meaning the election of a works council will not take place soon, IG Metall said. The union is to choose an election committee as a first step towards setting up a works council, on November 29th. Tesla is offering pay 20% below the collectively bargained wages offered at other German automakers, sources have told the union, and the US company is also overhauling conventional contracts in the German car industry by offering packages with stock options and bonuses rather than predetermined holiday pay.
Slow progress in probe of Norsk Hydro ransomware attack
Norwegian aluminium maker Norsk Hydro has waited more than two years for police to apprehend individuals who are suspected of launching a ransomware attack on the company in March 2019 that halted its operations around the world. The Wall Street Journal says the time taken is indicative of the complexity and often slow pace of international law enforcement investigations, which must adhere to strict legal requirements. The Norsk Hydro investigation involved authorities from Norway, Ukraine, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK and the US. Prosecutors in Norway, France, the UK and Ukraine will assess the evidence and decide how to proceed. “International police cooperation is very, very time-consuming,” said Knut Jostein Saetnan, a Norwegian prosecutor involved in the case.
PwC U.S. chairman sees ESG as $1bn opportunity
Tim Ryan, chairman and senior partner of PwC U.S., says he is focused on building the Big Four firm's sustainability services into a $1bn business, and is ready to bolster its staff and technology lineup with a fresh round of investments. The company is aiming to tap its experience delivering reliable tax and financial information to help companies build up a similar bank of internal safeguards, skilled workers, and oversight to meet the growing demand for environmental, social and governance reporting, or ESG, among other challenges facing businesses. Prioritising ESG is a direct result of market demand, not regulators, Mr. Ryan said, noting “The market is sending very clear signals. Shame on us if we don’t listen.” To meet that burgeoning demand for climate reporting and strategy, PwC is hiring new environmental professionals with backgrounds in areas like carbon emissions and water quality. The firm has already launched baseline training for its current employees, with plans to boost all professionals’ knowledge and familiarity with Scope 3 emissions, net-zero commitments and other concepts that are integral to sustainability reporting. “This has to be common language,” Mr. Ryan said, adding that it “will be the language of the future.”
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.
Therapy dog Wilf is an Ofsted star
A therapy dog at a Derby special school has been singled out for special praise by Ofsted inspectors. The inspectors described Wilf as "an important member of staff" at Kingsmead School in Alvaston who played his part in ensuring that the school retained its ‘good’ rating. Wilf was referred to by name in Ofsted’s report for his work supporting vulnerable teenagers. He sits with reluctant readers to encourage them to pick up a book and motivates poor attenders to turn up for classes. Executive head teacher Mike Pride said: "Children who have emotional difficulties benefit greatly from spending time with Wilf and there are plenty of benefits for our staff, who work in a sometimes charged and stressful environment.”

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