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26th May 2023
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Recruiters embrace non-traditional candidates
Recruiters are broadening their search to include non-traditional candidates and different skill sets, reports the BBC's Worklife. Companies are moving away from choosing prospective hires based on technical abilities alone and are prioritising soft skills. The pandemic has changed the hiring pool, as many workers had reduced opportunities for professional development during the public health crisis, and de-emphasizing hard skills on job ads is opening up options for those job seekers who might not have had the opportunity to attend or complete a four-year degree. Some job ads are even indicating that job-listing requirements themselves are a formality by adding notes encouraging candidates that don't meet all the stated criteria to apply regardless. Ultimately, the definition of an ‘ideal' candidate is broader than it's ever been. “I really don't care about a candidate's schooling or past companies. I care if they have the right skills that the company needs, and the right mentality, meaning the right fit for the company culture,” says Jan Tegze, a tech recruiter.
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Employers see the positive side of ADHD and autism
Neurodiversity — differences in how the brain processes information, because of conditions such as autism, ADHD and dyslexia — is gaining recognition in the workplace as a beneficial attribute, reports the FT.
Blue-chips to vote on the future of the CBI
Scores of blue-chip companies, including BP and Marks & Spencer, will be allowed to vote on the future of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) at an extraordinary general meeting next month. The poll will be conducted on a 'one member, one vote' basis, regardless of a company's size or subscription fee. Insiders said the group was drafting proposals for a slimmed-down organisation that would inevitably result in some redundancies among its workforce. The group's director-general, Tony Danker, was sacked last month amid allegations of personal misconduct. His successor, Rain Newton-Smith, has vowed to lead the CBI's rebirth, and has said it is likely to involve changing the group's name. The scandal has also ensnared the CBI's former president, John Allan, who acknowledged making an inappropriate comment to a colleague, and has since stepped down early as chair of Tesco and Barratt Developments amid allegations about his behaviour.
NHS pays millions to victims of sexual harassment
The NHS has paid out millions of pounds in compensation and legal costs for claims of sexual misconduct since 2018, with more than 1,500 reports of harassment, assault and inappropriate behaviour by NHS staff in the same period. According to figures obtained by The Times, the NHS paid £2,174,658 in damages to victims of sexual misconduct, as well as £1.5m of claimants' legal costs and £338,194 of its own legal costs: a total bill of just over £4m. Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that there have been 1,571 reports of sexual misconduct made by staff and patients across 167 NHS Trusts in England and Wales since 2018. These include allegations of rape, inappropriate touching and inappropriate comments by staff against colleagues and patients. Most victims were female and most alleged perpetrators were men.
EU celebrates GDPR's fifth anniversary with record-breaking fine
The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) celebrated its fifth anniversary on Thursday. The EU marked the occasion by issuing a record-breaking fine of €1.2bn ($1.3bn) to Meta Platforms for violating the data protection rules. GDPR was hailed as a gold standard for regulating how companies use people's data, and its principles were later copied by other countries. However, Bloomberg notes the implementation of GDPR was slow, and regulators were held back by a lack of resources and procedural rules. The EU is currently negotiating new controls for AI, but it will likely take a while before the laws go into effect.
Starling Bank boss steps down to avoid conflict of interest
Anne Boden, the chief executive and founder of Starling Bank, is to step down at the end of next month to avoid concerns over a possible conflict of interest related to her 4.9% ownership of the bank and her holding 18.5% of the voting rights in the group. The announcement comes as Starling reported a record six-fold increase in pre-tax profits to £195m in the year to March 2023, while revenues more than doubled to £453m. “Modern-day governance is all about the board setting the strategy and the CEO carrying it out and as a major shareholder that’s very, very difficult if you’re also the CEO,” she said, adding that UK regulators had not voiced concern about her stake in the bank.
Workers get ahead by embracing AI
Emerging data shows that workers are more optimistic about AI in the workplace than headlines suggest. Microsoft's Work Trend Index reveals that 70% of workers would delegate as much work as possible to AI to lessen their workloads. AI tools are already being used to improve productivity and efficiency, freeing up mental bandwidth for more creative tasks. Experts believe that as workers reclaim time previously spent on meetings and emails, they will have more time for the complex, creative, and human parts of their jobs. AI is seen as a collaborator, not a replacement, and workers are eager for relief from digital overload. “Employees are more eager for AI to help with this burden of digital debt than they are afraid of job loss,” said Colette Stallbaumer, Microsoft's general manager for Future of Work.
UK Cyber Security Centre warns against Chinese hackers
The UK's National Cyber Security Centre has urged operators of critical national infrastructure, including energy and telecommunications networks, to prevent Chinese state-sponsored hackers from hiding on their systems. The announcement came as the Five Eyes intelligence group issued a joint notice detailing the nature of the Volt Typhoon threat and how to deal with it. Microsoft said that Volt Typhoon had been active since mid-2021 and had targeted telecommunications infrastructure in Guam, an island hosting a US military facility that is expected to play an important role in any American response to an invasion by China of Taiwan. The hackers used a “web shell” - a piece of malicious code that allows rogue actors to access a web server – as a way in to connected systems. Secureworks, a US cybersecurity company that contributed to the advisory notice, said Chinese hackers tend to share their techniques with other China-based groups and that similar techniques will be deployed against UK targets.
Samsung faces first strike as union calls for higher wages
An influential Samsung Electronics workers’ union has warned that its members could walk out over a wage dispute in what could be the South Korean technology giant’s first-ever strike. The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) claims that Samsung management has cut the union out of wage negotiations. CNBC notes that tension with workers comes at a sensitive time for the world’s biggest smartphone and memory chip maker, after its operating profit in the first quarter plunged to its lowest level since 2009. NSEU representative Lee Hyun-kuk said the union would go on strike after a consultation with its members but said it depends on the willingness of Samsung chair Lee Jae-yong to negotiate.  “It depends on the attitude of chairman Lee Jae-yong. We sincerely ask him to come to the table for talks,” the NSEU’s Lee said.  A Samsung spokesperson said “the company has diligently followed all relevant and related procedures, and will continue to hold discussions with the union.’”
PwC Australia leak staff told to step aside
PwC has agreed to remove staff with links to the leak and use of confidential Australian tax plans from government work until a review is completed. The Australian Treasury referred the matter to police for a criminal investigation on Wednesday. The scandal originated with PwC's former head of international tax, Peter Collins, who shared confidential information about Australia’s tax plans with other staff at the firm. Other PwC staff then used the leaked intelligence to advise 14 clients on how to sidestep new multinational tax avoidance laws in 2016. The scandal has elicited anger within the professional services community in Australia, with KPMG expressing concern about the reputational damage inflicted on the industry. KPMG CEO Andrew Yates and chair Alison Kitchen have urged their firm's workforce to act ethically and in the public interest, admitting the company had not always met expectations in the past.
Boeing deploys pilots to train airlines
Boeing is deploying experienced pilots to airlines to train their employees to fly Boeing aircraft. The move is part of a wider push to reduce aviation safety risks after two 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019. In 2022, 125 Boeing "flight operations representatives" worked with more than 60 airlines. Boeing hopes to recruit additional flight operations representatives, who are mostly retired airline pilots with more than 13,000 flight hours under their belt. While Boeing has historically sent engineering and maintenance experts to embed with airlines, sending pilots on a semi-permanent basis to answer questions about flight operations procedures is a new endeavour for the company. Boeing's Chief Safety Officer, Mike Delaney, said that having Boeing pilots on the ground allows the company to address practices that may be of concern.
China's youth unemployment crisis
China's economy has rebounded after the Covid-19 pandemic, but youth unemployment has soared, reaching a new high in April at nearly four times the national level. The unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds in China's urban areas spiked at 20.4% - or roughly 6 million young people out of work. Almost 12 million college graduates will hit the job market this year, likely taking the youth unemployment rate to above 25%, according to Citigroup. This is a worrying development for the Communist Party, which Bloomberg says is obsessed with social stability, and for the economy's longer-term prospects. While Beijing is trying to encourage public and private hiring, underlying trends could keep youth unemployment relatively high for some time.

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