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21st November 2022
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Professionals should embrace 'feminine' skills at work
Heather Hanbury, the president of the Girls' School Association (GSA), says professionals looking to get ahead should embrace what are seen as "feminine" skills at work, arguing that being an empathetic "team player" is better for business than the traditional "alpha male" model of leadership, and this approach comes more naturally to girls. Hanbury says: "Traditionally, many women, and girls learning as they come through school, are told that the way to succeed in the world is to act like a man. The opposite is proving to be of more interest, and frankly, more successful." She says girls' schools offer a place for female students to "practise" without pressure, adding "These spaces are where it's safe for girls to have a good old argument about things, to disagree about things they are passionate about. We are building that confidence outside the threat of gender bias and misogyny and those sorts of things." Hanbury will address 150 heads at the GSA conference on the virtues of female leadership this week. She will tell the conference, in London, that girls' schools are vital in turning out "empathetic human beings who will disrupt the outmoded myopic, competitively driven alpha-style culture that so often ends up in burnout."
NEW DATA: What organisations are doing to support employees during sustained uncertainty and challenge

It’s a lot isn’t it?  This period where uncertainty has become normalised and the economic outlook continues to be bleak. For HR and line managers, it’s tough to maintain engagement, productivity and performance with the current cost pressures when our resources need to do ever more.

Join our webinar on 7th December where we’ll be talking to experts from StepChange, the debt advice charity. They’ll share how they provide financial and non-financial wellbeing support to their employees – and increase employee engagement. They’ll provide advice for other organisations and answer your burning questions.

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Tough times could mean showing your face pays off
Writing in the Sunday Times, Laith Al-Khalaf says that despite the rising number of job-seekers looking for remote work, many graduates are loath to work from home for fear of missing out on promotion or even being sacked in their absence. With the UK now officially in recession, remote staff risk becoming invisible to employers during tough times when jobs may be on the line, says financier Baroness (Helena) Morrissey. James Reed, chief executive of the recruitment agency Reed Group, agrees: “A lot more people are coming in now because they want their bosses to see them and are worried about being made redundant in the new year when the recession bites.” Reed adds that this fear of recession is eroding the bargaining power that workers had as Britain emerged from the pandemic: “The worm has turned, the jobs boom has finished, employers are becoming less flexible and pay is rising slower.”
Remote working is blamed for pub woes
The number of office Christmas parties booked this year is a fifth lower than pre-pandemic levels, pubs have reported. The rising number of staff working from home and cost pressures are blamed for the fall in demand. In a normal year, British pubs take in around £2.3bn in December – about one-tenth of their annual income and their most profitable month by far – according to the British Beer and Pubs Association. However, a survey of 5,000 watering holes last week found that festive bookings are down by 20% compared to what was normal before the pandemic. Meanwhile, December bookings for the wider hospitality sector are only slightly below 2019 levels, according to separate analysis by UKHospitality. The industry group’s chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We are cautiously optimistic. Bookings are coming in, but they tend to come in a little later these days than they did before the pandemic.”
More immigration needed to fill jobs, CBI to tell Sunak
The head of the Confederation of British Industry is expected to tell the government today that immigration should be used to solve worker shortages in the UK. Tony Danker will urge politicians to allow migrant workers to take up hard-to-fill jobs. "Let's have economic migration in areas where we aren't going to get the people and skills at home any time soon. In return, let's make those visas fixed term," Danker is expected to say.
Tesco offers staff pay advances
Tesco is offering staff advances in their pay amid the cost-of-living crisis, with the retailer saying that 280,000 workers in the UK can receive up to 25% of their contractual pay early under the scheme. The move is designed to help staff avoid having to take on expensive debt with high interest payments to cover their bills. Staff are allowed one advance per pay period and have to pay a £1.49 fee per advance to Tesco's employee benefits partner Salary Finance. James Goodman, Tesco's UK people director, says the scheme will help give staff “a helping hand with their financial well-being,” describing it as a “low-cost way to access some of the money that they have already earned.”
R&D cuts 'will force jobs abroad'
The Chancellor’s move in his Autumn Statement to make incentives for research & development (R&D) much less generous for small and medium-sized businesses has been labelled “disastrous” by industry leaders. The effective relief for loss-making innovative start-ups, for example, has nearly halved. The Treasury argued the scheme was vulnerable to fraud and that the relief needed to be rebalanced towards larger businesses. Colin Hailey, chairman of the BioIndustry Association’s finance and tax advisory committee, said: “This ridiculous move is a disaster.” He blamed no-win, no-fee advisers for submitting spurious R&D tax relief claims and said HMRC had been warned about this for five years. He said that the changes made “the UK a less attractive place to commercialise innovation. Headcount will move overseas as a result of this.”
City firms lend Labour their ear, and staff
The Sunday Telegraph talks to the shadow business secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, about how Labour is successfully wooing City bigwigs away from the Conservatives. “As the Government has become ever more unstable, ever less popular, and the polls are what they are, obviously that [interest] has increased considerably, and we're delighted by that,” Mr Reynolds says. Analysis by the paper reveals that City firms have made “donations in kind” to Labour via secondments totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds, with EY and PwC and the law firm DLA Piper among those to have seconded staff.
Directors face personal liability over cybersecurity failures
Writing in The Times, Lawton Caisley, a partner at the London office of law firm White & Case, says boards will be under increasing pressure to demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to prevent cybersecurity breaches. He says that while UK directors currently could face personal liability and regulatory censure as a result of their company suffering or mishandling a cyber-breach, there have been few attempts to hold directors personally liable in such circumstances. To date, legal claims and regulatory action have been mainly directed at the company suffering the breach. Caisley ends by saying that as cyber-breaches are now firmly established as a key business risk, directors will be under increasing pressure to demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to prevent breaches and to prepare to handle any breach that occurs.
New cross-border dirty money police force needed
The Times' Edward Lucas backs a call for a new international court to tackle corruption. A campaign to set up such a body, launched by a retired American judge, Mark Wolf, in June 2021, is now backed by Canada, Colombia and the Netherlands, and scores of politicians, including former UK prime minister Gordon Brown. “The abuse of political power for private gain blights lives, strangles democracy and wrecks the planet. It defrauds poor countries of £1tn a year, nearly ten times total global foreign aid. Nobody is stopping us from dealing with this menace. We just have to mind enough to do something,” Lucas writes.
Regulator let HBOS bosses off the hook
The failure of regulators to act more quickly following the collapse of HBOS is the main reason bank chiefs were not punished, MPs have said. The lack of action against four directors connected with the bank’s failure in 2008 had sent a signal to the public that executives “are unlikely to be sanctioned for misconduct,” the all-party group on fair business banking warned. The Financial Conduct Authority said the passage of time had left them without “the full range of enforcement powers.”
Energy-conscious managers unwind return-to-work mandates
Employers in Europe are telling staff to work from home to lower their office’s energy bill. The strategy is slowing down, or even reversing, the push to end widespread remote working, and not all workers are happy. “People who work from home are being saddled with costs that really belong to employers,” said Florindo Olivero, a representative of Italy’s largest labour union, CGIL, who added “Using remote work only when it is convenient for employers can generate conflict, particularly at a time when families are struggling with high costs.” But working from home can save money in other ways. “On average, workers save around €1,000 ($1,030) on commuting costs alone,” said Mariano Corso, who heads Osservatorio Smart Working, a research centre at the Polytechnic University of Milan. For companies, the net savings add up to around €500 per employee, a study from the centre estimates. Some employers are offering financial incentives to stay away from the office. Air France is paying employees an extra €4 ($4.14) for each day of remote work.
Twitter sued over Elon Musk's ban on remote work
A lawsuit claims new Twitter owner Elon Musk’s mandate that remote staff return to the office and work “long hours at high intensity” discriminates against employees with disabilities. Dmitry Borodaenko, a California-based engineering manager who has a disability that makes him vulnerable to COVID-19, said he was fired when he refused to report to the office. He filed a proposed class action against the company in San Francisco federal court on Wednesday. He says the call for workers to return to the office or resign violates the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations to workers with disabilities. The lawsuit said many other Twitter employees with disabilities have been forced to quit because they could not meet Musk’s demanding performance and productivity standards. In a separate complaint filed in the same court on Wednesday, Twitter was accused of laying off thousands of contract workers without giving the 60 days’ notice required by federal law.
KPMG appoints new CEO for UAE and Oman
Emilio Pera has been appointed by KPMG as the firm’s chief executive officer for the Lower Gulf region, comprising the United Arab Emirates and Oman. His appointment follows the departure of Nader Haffar last month amid a full review of corporate governance of KPMG's Lower Gulf business by law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The review is due to be completed by the end of the year and the firm has promised to act on its recommendations.

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