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23rd September 2022
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Bosses think workers do less from home, according to Microsoft survey
A major new survey from Microsoft shows that bosses and workers fundamentally disagree about productivity when working from home. The results of the survey show that while 87% of workers felt they worked as, or more efficiently, from home, 80% of managers disagreed. The survey questioned more than 20,000 staff across 11 countries. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the BBC this tension needed to be resolved as workplaces were unlikely to ever return to pre-pandemic work habits. "We have to get past what we describe as 'productivity paranoia,' because all of the data we have shows that 80% plus of the individual people feel they're very productive - except their management thinks that they're not productive. That means there is a real disconnect in terms of the expectations and what they feel." He added that employers are having to work harder to recruit, enthuse and retain staff. That even includes Microsoft itself. "We had 70,000 people who joined Microsoft during the pandemic, they sort of saw Microsoft through the lens of the pandemic. And now when we think about the next phase, you need to re-energize them, re recruit them, help them form social connections," Mr Nadella said. Microsoft employees can work from home up to 50% of the time as standard.
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NI rise to be reversed in November
A 1.25% rise in National Insurance will be reversed from November 6th, and a planned levy to fund health and social care will be scrapped. Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng made the announcement ahead of today’s mini-Budget. The NI rise was introduced in April under ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak, but during the Tory leadership race Liz Truss pledged to change it. The funding for health and social care will now come from general taxation. The Treasury said the change would save nearly 28m people an average of £330 per year. It added that most employees will get the tax cut in their November pay packets, with some getting it in December or January "depending on the complexity of their employer's payroll software." About 920,000 firms will get a tax reduction of nearly £10,000.
Part-time workers to face benefit cuts if they don't look for more work
People working part-time will face cuts to their benefits if they do not look for extra hours, Kwasi Kwarteng is set to declare. The Chancellor will announce reforms to the welfare system as part of his mini-Budget today, including more support for over-50s to get back into employment. The government also believes the measures will help fill the 1.2m vacancies across the UK and claims the extra support for the over-50s could boost GDP by up to one percentage point.
Tesco urged to increase wages
Unions have urged Tesco to increase store workers' pay after several rivals raised hourly rates for a second time this year. Tesco gave store and fulfilment centre workers a 5.8% rise in April, which took effect in July. However, the Usdaw union says that with UK inflation running at just under 10%, Tesco now has to do more. Daniel Adams, Usdaw National Officer, said: "As the cost of living emergency has deepened since then (April), Usdaw continues to engage with all the employers we deal with to secure urgent assistance to tackle the hardship that many of our members are facing. We remain in ongoing discussions with Tesco and continue to press the business to respond to the crisis." Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer and Lidl have all announced increases this month, paying hourly rates ahead of the market leader.
Workers at Thales vote for industrial action
Workers at the Belfast site of the French missile-making firm Thales have voted for industrial action. The Unite union confirmed their members voted 77.5% to strike for improved pay. Thales employs more than 600 workers in Northern Ireland and the company said it wanted to resolve the dispute "as quickly as possible." Unite members had sought a wage increase of 8.1% in January of this year; in response, management offered workers a 5% increase and a one-off payment of £500. General secretary of Unite, Sharon Graham, said: "The success of Thales in Northern Ireland has been trumpeted widely by the Tory government - indeed it was recently visited by a government minister. But those who contribute to that success are expected to accept a low ball five percent pay increase in the midst of a cost of living crisis. Workers at Thales deserve better. This is a hugely successful business which can afford to pay out a proper pay increase meeting our members' pay claim in full."
New date set for 40,000 workers to walk out
More than 40,000 workers from Network Rail and 15 train operators will strike again on October 8th, their union says. The RMT said it would be "effectively shutting down the railway network" as part of a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions. It will come just a week after an even bigger strike by members of RMT and the train drivers' union Aslef. Network Rail warned passengers to expect very significant disruption and only travel if absolutely necessary. It added that full timetables for upcoming strike days would be published soon.
TUC fears for worker rights amid review of 'retained' EU law
Trade unions warn that Liz Truss’s plans to urgently “revoke or reform” all EU law that still has effect in the UK after Brexit are risking a potential bonfire of workers’ rights. The TUC’s secretary general, Frances O’Grady, has said: “Threatening hard-won workers’ rights is the last thing the country and working people need. Holiday pay, equal pay for women and men, safe limits on working hours and parental leave are just a few of the rights underpinned by retained EU law. These are all essential – not a nice-to-have.”
Employment contracts are key in the new workplace
Richard Fox, Senior Employment Consultant at Kingsley Napley, writes to the FT to say that apropos “quiet quitting,” it’s crucial to delineate in employment contracts precisely what’s expected of the employee.
McKinsey hires its first chief technology officer
McKinsey has hired senior Microsoft executive Jacky Wright to be the firm’s first-ever chief technology and platform officer. Wright, who served as the tech giant's chief digital officer and previously held senior tech roles at BP and GE, will join McKinsey later this year and report to global managing partner Bob Sternfels, according to a statement. London-born Wright was named the “most powerful Black Briton” by the UK's Guardian newspaper last year. “Jacky will strengthen how we use technology both to help clients scale new ideas and tackle challenges, and to transform the way our more than 40,000 people work together across our global firm,” Sternfels said in the statement.
Concern about New York’s landmark AI bias law
New York City’s landmark mandate for audits of artificial intelligence systems used in hiring is posing some compliance challenges because, unlike familiar financial audits that have been refined over many years of accounting experience, the AI audit process is new and without clearly established guidelines. “There is a major concern, which is it’s not clear exactly what constitutes an AI audit,” observes Andrew Burt, managing partner at AI-focused law firm BNH. “If you are an organisation that’s using some type of these tools . . . it can be pretty confusing.” The law, which comes into effect in January, will require local companies to conduct audits to assess biases, including along race and gender lines, in the AI systems they use in hiring. Nearly a quarter of companies’ human resources departments use automation, AI, or both to support HR activities, according to research that the Society for Human Resource Management published earlier this year. The number rises to 42% among companies with more than 5,000 employees. Lindsey Zuloaga, the chief data scientist at talent platform HireVue, which offers software that can automate interviews, warns that if companies aren’t careful, AI can “be very biased at scale. Which is scary.”
Employers are being ghosted in red-hot German job market
Candidates in Germany’s job market have begun disappearing during the hiring process, according to an August poll of 400 recruiters by employment website Indeed. More than half (56%) of respondents to Indeed’s survey said the trend has gained momentum in the last year. A quarter say it happens at least once a week and almost one in 10 loses contact with a job seeker every day. Male applicants vanish most frequently, according to the poll, which underscores the challenges posed by the shortage of labour. “Applicants often have the choice between several good options, just like companies used to, and don’t follow through on every application process consistently to the end,” said Tim Verhoeven, a recruiting expert at Indeed.
Indian IT firm fires 300 workers for moonlighting
Indian IT services firm Wipro has sacked 300 employees for moonlighting. Wipro chairman Rishad Premji said the company has no place for any staffer who chooses to work directly with rivals while being on Wipro payrolls. Moonlighting is a "complete violation of integrity in its deepest form," he said. "The reality is that there are people today working for Wipro and working directly for one of our competitors and we have actually discovered 300 people in the last few months who are doing exactly that." Last month, he tweeted: "There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating - plain and simple."
Number of millionaires expected to grow 40% by 2026
The number of millionaires globally will grow by 40% in the next five years, and by 2026, there will be more than 87.5 million people with at least $1m in wealth, up from 62.5 million in 2021, according to Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report 2022. The number of dollar millionaires will grow faster in emerging economies, the lender’s forecasts show. The 500 richest people in the world have lost $1.4 trillion in cumulative fortune in the first half of the year, but Credit Suisse anticipates a fast recovery, especially for developing markets, and it expects China to continue creating massive wealth even as its economy shows signs of strain amid Covid lockdowns and regulatory crackdowns. “Despite the inflation and Russia-Ukraine war setbacks, we believe that total global wealth will continue to grow,” the report said. “We expect household wealth in China to continue to catch up with the United States, advancing the equivalent of 14 U.S. years between 2021 and 2026.” Credit Suisse forecasts private fortunes will grow 36% to $169 trillion by 2026, with wealth per adult climbing 28% globally and surpassing $100,000 in 2024. The number of ultra-high net-worth individuals, or those with more than $50m, will reach 385,000, the report says.

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