The latest business Intelligence for HR professionals and people managers everywhere
Sign UpOnline Version
European Edition
12th October 2021
EU and UK need to work together on finance
Catherine McGuinness, Chair of the Policy & Resources Committee at the City of London Corporation, has said that it is time for the EU and the UK for move on from the trials of Brexit and establish a new “Entente Cordiale” and develop a new, close partnership between the City and Europe, “particularly when it comes to financial and professional services.” McGuinness goes on to say that a “key area where we need to cooperate is sustainable finance. With less than one month to go until the COP26 summit in Glasgow, the financial sector is working to support the transition to net zero and ensure it is resilient to the risks of climate change.” The City of London Corporation and Green Finance Institute are hosting a Summit at Cop26 to mobilise private finance and McGuinness calls for greater cross-sector and cross-border collaboration, particularly on ESG disclosure and making it easier for private capital to invest in climate change mitigation and resilience.
Companies struggle to find people to staff their cloud operations
Companies are experiencing difficulty hiring and retaining experienced talent to staff their cloud operations as demand for online tools soared during the pandemic because more people worked, schooled and entertained themselves from home. “Cloud computing remains the number one most sought after skill,” said Megan Slabinski, a district president at recruiting firm Robert Half. “The demand has never been higher.” The Wall Street Journal notes that individuals with cloud skills are generally getting two or three strong offers, often with packages worth hundreds of thousands of dollars as well as stock options, recruiters said. In some cases, where companies can’t afford top talent, less-skilled workers have to be taken on and trained.
Exam grades worthless to employers
Recent grade inflation combined with falling standards in basic literacy means businesses are ignoring GCSE, A-level or degree results when it comes to hiring and are using their own assessments of recruits instead. A PwC poll of 150 HR directors of large companies for The Times Education Commission found three quarters of employers had to give new recruits extra training in basic skills including literacy and numeracy. Of those, nearly a third said they regularly had to, nearly half sometimes did, and only a fifth never did. Almost three quarters asked applicants to sit cognitive ability tests or online aptitude tests.
Traders must be on best behaviour as LME Week returns
The Daily Telegraph reports on how London Metal Exchange traders have been given new guidelines on how to behave at their annual gathering. The event has previously featured strip clubs and unseemly antics, but traders must now adhere to new rules around things like drinking too much, insulting people, using “inappropriate language related to gender” and holding LME-branded events at venues that may “make some participants uncomfortable in attending”. The paper notes that despite pressure to modernise, none of the LME’s roughly 100 traders are female. In an effort to combat the lack of representation, LME chief executive Matthew Chamberlain has launched an apprenticeship programme aimed at attracting people from underrepresented backgrounds who might go on to join one of the LME’s members and become traders in the ring.
UK drops BA and Ryanair probe into Covid refunds for passengers
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has dropped its investigation into British Airways and Ryanair over refunds for passengers prevented from flying during the pandemic because of a lack of clarity in the law. "After a thorough examination of relevant law, and the evidence it had gathered during its investigation, the CMA has concluded that the law does not provide passengers with a sufficiently clear right to a refund in these unusual circumstances to justify continuing with the case," the regulator said. "Consumer protection law sets out that passengers are entitled to refunds when an airline cancels a flight, because the firm cannot provide its contracted services. However, it does not clearly cover whether people should be refunded when their flight goes ahead but they are legally prohibited from taking it."
Diversity must become a core value
Linklaters employment and incentives counsel Simon Kerr-Davis writes in FT Adviser on how, if companies are to achieve real culture change, they “will need to bring diversity into all aspects of their operations, seeing it as a lens to examine business decisions and processes in fields as varied as customer care, external comms and employee issues such as recruitment, reward, promotion and work allocation.” He points out that  creating culture change through regulatory steps is challenging, citing the Financial Reporting Council's review of corporate reporting which he says suggests that businesses have found cultural issues within the 2018 Corporate Governance Code difficult to measure, explain and address in their annual reports. “The challenge for the regulators will be how they encourage and monitor progress in this field without allowing businesses to fall into the trap of seeing diversity as a question of data and compliance, rather than as a core value flowing through the business as a whole.”
BBC’s unconscious training manual revealed
The BBC has been forced by the Information Commissioner’s Office to hand over details of an in-house unconscious bias training course after the corporation refuse FOI requests from the Mail to make the guidelines public. Included in the training is a request to managers to keep their blood sugar levels high because tiredness could lead them to drop their guard and racially profile job candidates. The corporation is continuing to run the programme despite the Government Equalities Office finding no evidence that such training improved workplace equality. The Mail notes that the Civil Service dropped such sessions last year after citing work by psychologist Patrick Forscher showing they didn’t work.
From Panama to the Pandora papers: what’s changed in offshore tax
The FT reviews rules around the use of offshore tax havens following the latest exposé from the ICIJ, which has so far not alleged tax evasion. The main points are that such structures are not available to ordinary people, and that governments should change the law if they do not want such mechanisms used. Meanwhile, EU tax commissioner Paolo Gentiloni says the European Commission will propose new rules to expand the information that needs to be automatically exchanged among national tax authorities following the release of the Pandora Papers. He also said the Commission would present proposals by the end of the year "to tackle the misuse of shell companies for tax purposes."
Google to invest $1bn in Africa over five years
Google wants to invest $1bn in Africa over the next five years and will give its backing to start-ups to support the continent's digital transformation. The company’s newly-launched  Africa Investment Fund will invest $50m in start-ups, providing them with access to its employees, network and technologies. Nitin Gajria, managing director for Google in Africa, said: "We are looking at areas that may have some strategic overlap with Google and where Google could potentially add value in partnering with some of these start-ups."
Gulf states try to increase private employment
The Economist reports on the “largely unsuccessful” attempts by Gulf states to persuade their citizens to renounce their “cushy, lucrative” government employment to work for privately owned firms. Wage subsidies for citizens who take private jobs have so far proved costly and ineffective, and The Economist concludes that governments in the region could make their own staff work more for less. “That would certainly be a cheaper way to shrink the wage gap.”

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