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5th August 2022
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CFOs growing reluctant to grant across-the-board pay hikes
Despite surging inflation levels and the ongoing labor shortage, less than one-third of top executives plan to offer salary increases to all employees, according to a new survey from Gartner. The poll of 130 CFOs and CEOs found only 28% indicated they plan adjustments for all workers, while a little over half (51%) the respondents said employee pay increases will be tied to performance. “Rising labor costs are among the most negatively impactful to operating cash flow, and it follows that we see a more limited approach to pay rises either by performance or in select markets for now,” said Randeep Rathindran, vice president of research in the Gartner Finance practice, in a statement. “Organizations will continue to look at benefits beyond compensation as an approach to fight employee attrition and keep costs across the labor force as balanced as possible.”  
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Students 'lack interest' for in-demand jobs
Students have the talent to succeed in today’s in-demand jobs but often lack an interest in going into those fields, according to a new report that seeks to assess whether their skills are aligned with high-growth careers. YouScience, a for-profit company that provides aptitude-based assessments, analyzed data from tests taken by 239,843 U.S. high school students in 2021. Among the report's findings were that students have nearly five times the aptitude for energy careers than they do interest in those fields; more than three times the aptitude for advanced manufacturing careers than they have interest; and over two times the aptitude for computer technology careers than they have interest. To help close the gap between aptitude and career interests, YouScience recommends that policymakers, educators, and parents help students find their “why” so that their education will become more applicable, close the career exposure gap, and use career-connected learning. 
Employers are rescinding job offers
BBC Worklife takes a look at the growing number of job offers that are being revoked by companies before new hires’ start dates. U.S. data from company review website Glassdoor indicates an increase in posts on the site mentioning the rescinding of job offers: a 217% rise between January and July 2022. “Many companies that staffed up quickly are having to reduce size very quickly,” explains Charley Cooper, the chief communications officer at New York-based enterprise technology provider and blockchain software company R3. “That turns into layoffs, hiring freezes and, in the most extreme cases, rescinded offers.”
Weekly jobless claims rise to 260,000
New filings for unemployment benefits rose last week, holding close to the highest level of the year as the U.S. labor market showed several signs of cooling. Initial jobless claims increased slightly to a seasonally adjusted 260,000 last week from a downwardly revised 254,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said Thursday. The total is close to the 2022 peak set earlier in July of 261,000 and above the 2019 prepandemic weekly average of 218,000. Continuing claims, a proxy for the total number of people receiving payments from state unemployment programs, rose by 48,000 to 1.42m in the week ended July 23rd. “The labor market remains in good shape as the summer quarter progresses but the rise in initial claims since early April is a cold breeze blowing at the hot labor market this summer,” said Stuart Hoffman, senior economic advisor at PNC Financial Services. “The modest pickup in claims suggests that turnover may be increasing in weaker firms that are struggling with slowing growth,” Jefferies economists Thomas Simons and Aneta Markowska wrote in a note. They added that seasonal adjustments could be playing a role in elevated jobless claims. The Labor Department releases its July jobs report later today.
Amazon warehouse workers in U.K. walk out over hourly pay increase offer
Staff at an Amazon warehouse near London have walked off the job over a 35p ($0.43) an hour pay increase offer. Workers left the depot in Tilbury, Essex, on Wednesday and Thursday as they sought a rise of £2 ($2.43) an hour. The GMB labor union said the rise requested would better match the demands of the role and help meet the cost of living crisis. Amazon said its pay was "competitive" and staff were also offered a benefits package worth thousands annually. Steve Garelick, GMB regional organizer, said: "Amazon is one of the most profitable companies on the planet. With household costs spiralling, the least they can do is offer decent pay. Amazon continues to reject working with trade unions to deliver better working conditions and fair pay. Their repeated use of short-term contracts is designed to undermine workers' rights. The image the company likes to project and the reality for their workers could not be more different. They need to drastically improve pay and working conditions."
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.
Shell hands staff a $500m bonus
Shell is to give $500m to staff in extra bonuses after reporting its highest profits on record. The oil firm said the majority of its 82,000 global workforce will receive a one-off bonus of 8% of their salaries so they can “share in our success.” This comes after the firm reported second-quarter profits of $11.5bn. Shell said the bonuses were in recognition of “the contribution our people have made to Shell’s strong operational performance against a recent challenging backdrop.”
Credit Suisse mulls thousands of job cuts
Credit Suisse is looking at cutting thousands of jobs across its operations as well as examining inefficiencies in its middle and back office, according to Bloomberg. The move comes after the Swiss bank named restructuring expert Koerner as CEO to scale back investment banking and slash costs to help the bank recover from a string of scandals and losses. "We have said we will update on progress on our comprehensive strategy review when we announce our third-quarter earnings; any reporting on potential outcomes before then is entirely speculative," a spokesperson for Credit Suisse said.
Georgia says embryos are dependents for tax purposes
The state of Georgia’s taxation department has announced that, following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Sistersong v. Kemp, taxpayers can claim fertilized embryos as dependents for tax purposes. As such, on individual income tax returns filed for Tax Year 2022 where, at any time on or after July 20th 2022, and  through December 31st 2022, a taxpayer has an unborn child (or children) with a detectable human heartbeat (which may occur as early as six weeks’ gestation), the taxpayer may claim a dependent personal exemption of $3,000 for each child.
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 marginalized. Unchecked bullying, suspecting the nationalism of Muslims, and making assumptions based on bigoted notions of Muslims were so common,” said the report.
Japanese employers battle a record wave of COVID-19
Japanese companies are temporarily shutting offices or suspending production as they contend with a record wave of COVID-19. Automakers Toyota and Daihatsu recently stopped production line shifts because of worker infections. KFC has had to shut some fast-food eateries and move staff to fill gaps, and Japan Post has temporarily shut more than 200 mailing centres. Reuters says Japan has to date weathered the pandemic better than most advanced economies, but the latest outbreak will likely show whether it can maintain its flexible attitude to "living with corona" and limiting its economic impact, particularly if disruption lasts for an extended period.
Russian carmaker offers staff $3,000 to quit voluntarily
Russian carmaker Avtovaz is offering workers at its Izhevsk plant in central Russia a one-off payment of about $3,000 to take voluntary redundancy. Russia's biggest carmaker resumed production of some of its popular Lada models at its main plant in Togliatti in June after earlier partially halting output due to a shortage of electronic components. Avtovaz was unable to restart production of the Lada Vesta model and sent 3,200 staff from its Izhevsk factory on paid leave in March.  Those staff at the site in Izhevsk who resign will be offered a one-off payment that at best would equate to 183,348 roubles ($3,161). "Avtovaz emphasizes that the company doesn't plan to carry out mass lay-offs, and the proposed supporting measures for the team are purely voluntary for each employee," the carmaker said.
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.
U.S. household debt tops $16tn amid rising inflation
U.S. household debt increased to a record $16.15tn in the second quarter, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday, driven mostly by a $207bn jump in mortgage balances, with credit card and auto loan debt also rising as consumers lifted their borrowing to deal with soaring inflation. Mortgage debt increased to $11.39tn at the end of June, according to the report. Purchase mortgage originations were up 7%, with much of the increase attributed to higher borrowing amounts. Credit card balances increased by $46bn in the second quarter, among the largest seen by the Fed since 1999, while auto loan originations rose by $33bn to $199bn. Student loan balances were little changed at $1.6tn.

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