YOUR REGION: United States

Category: Employers

Basic steps to improve EDI are not being met by employers

A new survey analysing the views of employers on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) revealed 41% of large businesses  (250-plus staff) do ‘not state their interest’ in diverse candidates in their job adverts,

Key highlights of the survey, commissioned by the  Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), found that; 60% of the 167 employers interviewed, have reviewed the wording of their job adverts to improve inclusion. Last year it was 54%. However, nearly half of respondents (49%) said they do not state their interest in hiring diverse candidates in their job adverts. This is roughly the same proportion as last year (48%).

Around two-thirds of respondents (67%) do not use name-blind CVs during selection. This is up on 53% of respondents in 2022 – a step backwards – and more than half of respondents (56%) do not have a policy of using diverse interview panels. This has moved little from 2022 when 53% said they did not use diverse interview panels.

Despite greater HR resources  – compared to SMEs, larger firms perform only marginally better than SMEs – 57% do not use name-blind submissions and 48% do not use diverse interview panels. All three results are higher than reported by employers in our 2022 survey.

 Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive, said: “Given the profile of equality, diversity and inclusion issues, it is disappointing to see so little action being taken by firms. While a slim majority of employers have reviewed the wording of their adverts, the overall picture suggests there is a lot still to do. Many employers remain either unconvinced about the importance of changing their approach or are relying on old adverts and approaches that will not serve them well. In doing so they also miss out on the business benefits of a diverse workforce, which are only enhanced by the tightness of our labour market now. Pressure to change must come from Boards and executives, as well as government and sector and trade bodies.“

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 ‘Work from home,’ ‘Remote jobs’ and ‘Work remote’ searches surge

Interest in remote work in the UK has soared on the back of  Zoom – the company at the heart of remote work during the pandemic – ordering its staff back to the office.

Employee performance platform Weekly10 analysed Google search data over the past few days and revealed that following the Zoom announcement, searches for ‘Remote work’ increased by 197% in the UK in just several hours. The analysis also found a 310% increase in searches for ‘Remote jobs’ and a 296% increase for ‘work from home’.

A spokesperson for Weekly10 said: “With the Zoom news being reported globally, it’s likely to send shockwaves through the working from home community, as this could be a trend that could continue, especially with a remote work pioneer like Zoom going back on the very thing it was designed to help with. Whether more companies follow, only time will tell, and it’s clear that many people are trying to lock down remote positions.”

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Balancing AI bans with innovation opportunities

In a recent survey, 76% of IT decision makers voiced their support for organisations’ authority to regulate the applications employees use for business purposes. However, a significant 66% of respondents found current bans on generative AI to be excessively restrictive.

According to these IT professionals, generative AI holds potential for driving efficiency (53%), fostering innovation (44%), and nurturing creativity (42%) within the workplace.

Stephanie Coward, Managing Director for Human Capital Management at IRIS Software Group, emphasised that an outright ban on AI should only be considered as a last resort. Speaking to HR Magazine, she stated, “AI is an evolving reality, with ChatGPT being just the pioneer among many future innovations. Embracing this technological progression is vital, rather than resisting it out of fear.”

Coward further elaborated that businesses should follow a balanced approach when regulating AI. Establishing clear guidelines through frameworks or codes of conduct, while avoiding excessive rigidity to safeguard creativity, is essential.

Rather than imposing a complete ban on generative AI, Coward recommended a more pragmatic strategy. She advised companies to identify potential use cases and initiate pilot programs to validate the practicality of AI’s promises. This method ensures that risks are comprehensively understood and can be effectively mitigated.

She stressed the importance of creating an internal testing environment, allowing employees to experiment with AI in a controlled manner. This approach, she believes, will lead to greater long-term productivity and a more secure integration of AI tools into daily operations.

Another study conducted by in July 2023 revealed that 68% of business leaders believe that employees should use AI with their managers’ consent. Shishir Singh, Chief Technology Officer at BlackBerry, emphasised the need to develop policies around AI as technology advances. He highlighted the potential loss of valuable business benefits if generative AI is entirely prohibited in the workplace.

Singh recommended incorporating flexibility into organisational policies as AI platforms mature and regulations evolve. He emphasised the significance of implementing proper tools for monitoring, managing, and overseeing applications used within the workplace.

The insights from the survey were gathered through research conducted by BlackBerry in June and July 2023, involving 2000 IT decision makers worldwide

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New Driver’s Academy will help alleviate the chronic shortage of drivers

An HR and recruitment agency is launching an HGV Driver Academy apprenticeship programme to tackle the UK shortage of drivers in the logistics industry.

Starting this September, the Gi Group in partnership with one of its subsidiary businesses, Tack TMI, will be offering its new Driver Apprenticeship Schemes across the UK, providing candidates with a full support package, from bespoke training to helping successful candidates secure their dream role once qualified.

Gi Group will start its apprentices with a salary of around £11/£12 per hour and throughout the 12-month programme, individuals can increase their salary as they progress. The courses cover Class 1 and Class 2 qualifications including hands-on blended learning throughout.

With the cost-of-living crisis, there is nationwide concern surrounding job security and the opportunity for progressive salaries. The new driving programmes support a work-life balance, providing flexible working – leading to positions paying around £60,000 per year once fully qualified.

Research found that at the beginning of 2022 the industry was short of around 100,000 HGV drivers. While this number dropped to 60,000 by the beginning of 2023, this is still a significant shortage in an industry that has suffered for over a decade.

Andrew Fletcher, Operations Manager for the South at Gi Group, said: “Our new mission within our Driving division is to create a long-term, sustainable solution to the challenges posed by industry-wide driver shortages. There is a stigma in the industry around the gender and age of HGV drivers, but this just doesn’t need to be the case. We’re passionate that the future of the industry can be shaped by young, innovative men and women. Driving offers people a flexible working environment and opens up opportunities to work around your life, with the possibility of some serious salaries.”

 Sara O’Brien, Head of Partnerships & Sales, Apprenticeships at Tack TMI, said: “We have already had a lot of interest, which is a great sign. Over the years there have been dramatic driver shortages, for various reasons such as Brexit and the pandemic, but we are here to support a positive and flourishing future for our drivers, our clients and the sector. People often think of the long hours involved in driving, but we are here to show this career path offers so much more. It provides people with job flexibility and role progression that many warehouse or office-based roles can’t necessarily facilitate. Driving offers the work-life balance that so many crave with the opportunity to earn a really healthy salary.”

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Allegations of failure to accommodate post-injury needs

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia recently concluded a case involving an injured worker who filed a discrimination lawsuit against his employer, accusing them of failing to reasonably accommodate him after an injury.

The worker in question is Mark Panazzolo, employed by Don’s Mechanical and Diesel Services Pty Ltd. He claimed that his employer discriminated against him due to a wrist disability resulting from an assault outside of working hours. Following the incident, he was unable to return to work, but he believes he has sufficiently recovered to resume his duties.

The core issue of the case was whether the employer neglected to make necessary adjustments for Panazzolo’s return to work and if implementing those adjustments would impose unjustifiable hardship on the employer.

Panazzolo brought the case under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth). The court had to carefully consider the interests of Panazzolo as a person with a disability against the interests of Don’s Auto as his employer.

On October 15, 2020, while walking his dog on a public pathway near his home, Panazzolo was assaulted by two individuals. The incident had no connection to his employment and occurred outside of working hours. As a result of the attack, he sustained a fracture to his left ulna, one of the bones in his forearm. He underwent surgical repair, involving the insertion of a metal plate and screws to stabilize the fracture. The surgeon advised him that he could not engage in heavy lifting or loading involving his injured arm for approximately three months after the surgery, which took place on October 21, 2020.

Panazzolo’s job as a heavy vehicle diesel mechanic at the employer’s workshop involved various tasks, including changing brake shoes, draining oil, lubricating steering, replacing clutches, oil filters, and rotating tires, as well as unbolting gearboxes.

Following the injury, Panazzolo believed that he was capable of returning to work from early 2021 onwards, supported by medical practitioners who had treated him. However, the employer argued that some tasks, particularly those involving pneumatically powered rattle guns, wheel hub removal, and clutch replacements, might exceed his physical capabilities due to his wrist injury. The employer also highlighted their duty of care to ensure proper repairs for public bus operators, as safety was a paramount concern.

In late December 2020, Panazzolo inquired via text message whether he still had a job at Don’s Auto, mentioning that his orthopaedic surgeon had cleared him to return to work. Due to the injury being unrelated to work, the employer proposed that any required assessments and tests, including grip strength and cardiovascular fitness, would be at the worker’s expense. After several exchanges between the parties, the employer warned Panazzolo that returning to work might pose a risk of aggravating his current injuries.

Frustrated by the situation and facing financial difficulties, Panazzolo formally resigned from Don’s Auto on August 4, 2021. He believed he had no alternative, as he needed to apply for social security benefits, which were not available to him because his former job at Don’s Auto was considered still open to him, even though he had resigned.

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Concerns over wages and business impact

Industry groups are taking steps to challenge a federal judge’s ruling that rejected the suspension of a New Jersey staffing law during the ongoing legal proceedings, according to recently submitted court documents. The law includes a provision mandating that temporary workers employed through staffing firms must receive wages equivalent to those of regular employees, among other stipulations. The law officially came into effect last Saturday.

The appeal motion is being jointly filed by prominent organizations, namely the New Jersey Staffing Alliance, the American Staffing Association, and the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. The appeal is in response to the judge’s decision on July 26, which denied their request for an injunction to provide relief in this matter.

The New Jersey Business and Industry Association, in a previous statement, expressed its support for the law’s objective of safeguarding and promoting transparency for temporary workers. However, the association voiced concerns that certain provisions relating to wages and benefits could pose significant challenges for staffing firms and even force many of them to cease operations.

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Report on jobs: Pay pressures ease only slightly amid rising living costs

The latest KPMG and Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) ‘UK Report on Jobs’, compiled by S&P Global, reveals a muted confidence around the economic outlook is driving a steeper drop in permanent placements.

The KPMG and REC report provides the most comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, drawing on original survey data provided by UK recruitment consultancies and employers to provide the first indication each month of labour market trends.

Key findings of the report reveal that;  hiring activity across the UK continued to be dampened by a weak economic outlook and reduced confidence among businesses and permanent placements contracted at the quickest rate for just over three years, while temp billings growth weakened notably from June.

The overall availability of staff increased at a substantial pace amid the slowdown in recruitment and reports of redundancies. The latest upturn in total labour supply was the steepest recorded since October 2009 when excluding the pandemic period. While there were signs of pay pressures moderating again in July, permanent salaries continued to rise at a sharp pace overall. Total vacancy growth meanwhile slowed further, hitting a 29-month low in July.

A weaker economic climate and reduced market confidence weighed on recruitment activity during July, according to the data. Permanent staff appointments declined at the steepest pace for just over three years, as concerns over the outlook made clients hesitant to commit to new staff. Concurrently, growth in temp billings edged down to a fractional pace that was the slowest recorded since last October.

The survey cites faster increases in the supply of both temporary and permanent workers drove the sharpest upturn in overall labour supply since December 2020.

Competition for skilled candidates and the increased cost of living placed pressure on rates of starting pay during July. Salaries for newly-placed permanent workers rose sharply – despite the rate of inflation slipping to the lowest since April 2021. Temp pay increased at the softest pace in 29 months, albeit solidly overall.

Growth of demand for staff continued to moderate at the start of the third quarter. Total vacancies increased at the slowest pace in 29 months. The latest upturn in demand for permanent workers was the weakest seen over the current period of recovery that began in March 2021. Concurrently, the rate of short-term vacancy growth was among the slowest recorded over the past three years.

All four monitored English regions posted a decline in permanent placements, led by London. Divergent trends were seen for temp billings, which rose in the Midlands and London but fell in the North and South of England.

Hotel & Catering saw the steepest upturn in demand for temp workers of all 10 categories in July. Strong rates of vacancy growth were also noted for Engineering and Blue Collar personnel. The Construction and Secretarial/Clerical sectors saw modest drops in demand.

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New recommendations aim to combat discrimination

The Singaporean government has officially accepted the final recommendations put forth by the Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness (TCWF), aiming to enhance workplace fairness and protect employees from discrimination. The TCWF initially published 20 recommendations in an interim report in February 2023.

In collaboration with tripartite partners, including The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), the government is committed to implementing these recommendations starting in 2024.

The legislative framework, once enacted, will comprehensively cover all stages of employment, encompassing in-, post-, and pre-employment periods, with a special focus on addressing discrimination complaints that predominantly arise during the pre-employment phase, according to MOM.

The legislation aims to safeguard workers and jobseekers against unfair and discriminatory practices based on specific protected characteristics, namely nationality, age, sex, marital status, pregnancy status, caregiving responsibilities, race, language, religion, disability, and mental health conditions. However, it will not include provisions for sexual orientation, gender identity, and criminal history.

To refine the legislation further, the TCWF proposed two additional recommendations. Firstly, they suggested the importance of a clear definition for ‘discrimination’ to facilitate employers and employees in understanding the law’s coverage. In response, the committee recommended defining ‘discrimination’ as ‘making an adverse employment decision because of any protected characteristic’.

Secondly, the TCWF advised that the legislation should solely encompass direct acts of discrimination, as including indirect discrimination would impose extensive legal obligations on employers. Indirect discrimination refers to seemingly neutral company practices that unintentionally put individuals with specific protected characteristics at a disadvantage. The committee proposed that such cases be handled through the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, allowing employers and employees to find reasonable resolutions for disputes.

Additionally, the TCWF recommended the issuance of a Tripartite Advisory focusing on providing reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. The committee believed that mandating such accommodations through legislation might lead to a more litigious workplace environment. Instead, they suggested that the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) should intervene to achieve better outcomes for employees with disabilities and employers.

The government is mindful of keeping the legislation’s scope restricted for the time being, with the proposed characteristics covering 95% of all discrimination complaints received by MOM and TAFEP, offering protection to 75% of all workers in Singapore.

In tandem with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP), the legislation aims to provide comprehensive protection against all forms of discrimination. To allow smaller companies sufficient time to adapt to the changes and bolster their human resource capabilities, they will be exempted from the legislation for the first five years.

Minister of Manpower, Tan See Leng, emphasized that the Workplace Fairness Legislation (WFL) intends to prohibit common forms of discrimination experienced in Singapore, including age, sex, family status, race, nationality, and mental health. The approach seeks to provide redress to victims of discrimination while promoting workplace harmony and preserving relationships.

The TCWF believes that these recommendations will foster a positive workplace culture in Singapore, avoiding an overly litigious atmosphere. Nonetheless, the committee highlighted that the legislation alone cannot eradicate workplace discrimination, stressing the importance of education to challenge stereotypes and sustain fair employment practices.

The Singaporean government is committed to collaborating closely with its tripartite partners to implement these recommendations in 2024, fostering a fair and inclusive work environment for all.

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33% of UK accountants plan to leave the industry in the next five years

Despite a faltering economy, rising interest rates, supply chain issues, and the ongoing impacts of Brexit, many businesses operating within the sector reported optimism about their recruitment plans as they entered the third quarter of 2023. 44% are expecting to recruit more workers, displaying a +29% net positive hiring outlook.

Brook Street, part of ManpowerGroup, releases its 2023 Salary Guide for Businesses. The guide explores  UK hiring trends and salary rates for permanent and temporary employees in the Contact Centre, Business Administration and Support, and Accounting and Finance roles.

Around 80% of UK businesses are experiencing talent shortages with more than 1,000,000 unfilled job postings. As businesses remain unable or unwilling to meet employee salary expectations, workers are becoming reluctant to pursue vacancies – leading to difficulties in hiring.

33% of current UK accountants plan to leave the industry in the next five years, hiring conditions are proving difficult on a national level, with 102 candidates per job posting.  However, there are regional variations, in Belfast there are on average, 21 candidates per post compared to Tunbridge Wells (Kent) where there are 207 candidates per post.

The Brook Street salary guide indicates some notable variance, including a +189% difference between a temporary and permanent median salary for Accountancy roles in London. It also finds UK salary ranges can differ by region – for example, the highest paid permanent median salary was £61,300 p.a (in Reading), compared to the lowest paid at £22,000 p.a. (in Newcastle).

In Contact Centres and Customer Support (CC&CS), more than 75,000 workers are missing from the sector, due to the current cost of living crisis and low to moderate pay scales.  With a national average of 342 candidates per vacancy, hiring remains difficult but regional supply differences and differing salary levels reduce this number further, giving the employer less choice.  It takes an average of 51 days to fill vacancies in CC&CS – a significant contrast to other sectors such as Finance and Accounting which reports an average of 36 days per post.

Despite a potentially large pool of candidates, the Administration and Business Support final talent pool needs to be narrowly spread after salary, job location, and working conditions are factored in.   With it taking 35-38 days to fill vacancies, 12% of businesses in the sector say they cannot secure the support staff they need.

Leigh Passingham, Brand Leader, Brook Street said: “Business leaders who better understand hiring trends and compensation rates will make better hiring decisions in what is currently a hyper-competitive labour market. While there is no magic bullet that will quickly fix the UK’s talent shortages and reduce the various pressures being placed on both employers and candidates, we’re advising employers to use originality, adaptability and speed. Hiring speed is really the key – those employers with speed to placement will secure the best talent.”

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Dubai-based start-up offers tailored well-being solutions for MENA companies & employees

Lifemost, a Dubai-based platform specializing in corporate wellness programs, has successfully secured USD 650,000 in a pre-seed funding round, which was co-led by MENA-focused angel investors. The funds raised will be allocated to further enhance product development, intensify marketing efforts, and explore new partnership opportunities within the MENA market.

Lifemost’s B2B platform offers companies the means to provide their employees with easy access to a wide array of physical and mental health activities, all available through a single mobile app. The platform encompasses four distinct product categories, catering to different company requirements. These offerings include access to a network of studios for various activities and training, corporate events and team-building sessions, educational lectures and workshops on mindfulness and stress management, as well as a range of online courses and live fitness sessions featuring over 350 pre-recorded classes. The platform is customizable, allowing businesses to tailor the content to meet their specific objectives. Employees can effortlessly book services and classes using the Lifemost membership app, while companies have specialized access to manage their employees’ corporate wellness programs.

Dennis Yudchitz, the CEO and founder of Lifemost, emphasizes the significance of corporate well-being activities for companies in terms of recruitment, sustainability, and employee motivation. By tailoring the platform’s content to suit each company’s unique needs, Lifemost aims to provide employees with diverse wellness options, while offering top management and HR professionals an all-in-one wellness solution with continuous analytics on engagement rates.

Initially conceived with the vision of fostering a healthier and more productive lifestyle among employees, Lifemost now boasts an extensive portfolio of 1,000+ activities spread across Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These activities are accessible through over 120 locations, with plans to expand to 300 locations by the year’s end.

Recent data highlights that 83% of employees consider their well-being to be as crucial as their salary, yet 36% of employees do not feel that their employers prioritize their well-being. This underscores the need for novel solutions in recruitment and work performance, particularly for high-level employees and specialists.

Research on corporate well-being market trends reveals that companies implementing wellness programs enjoy several benefits, including an average of 28% less absenteeism, 30% lower healthcare costs, and a 15% increase in productivity. The global well-being industry is experiencing significant growth, with consumers worldwide increasingly investing in wellness, driving the market size to surpass $4.4 trillion, and annual growth rates ranging from 5 to 10 per cent. Notably, the Middle East’s wellness industry is witnessing stable growth and is estimated to be valued at over $108 billion. In the UAE, the online health and fitness market is projected to contribute $36.5 million by 2025. Additionally, the global wellness industry is forecast to reach almost $7 trillion by 2025.

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