Category: Employers

There’s been a 13% in reported bullying in the workplace post-pandemic  

Twenty-three percent of employees worldwide admit to having experienced workplace bullying – a behavior that goes well beyond the office walls and into the remote work realm. What’s even worse, workplace bullying has been on the rise since the pandemic – there is a 13% increase, in fact, compared to pre-pandemic numbers. The practice also accounts for 23% of resignations in the U.S., further expanding the skill gap in the labor market. 

Remote bullying is one of the driving factors in toxic workplace behavior. In contrast to real-time workplace bullying, which might manifest in more recognizable patterns like the assertion of power, intimidation techniques, intruding on colleagues’ privacy, making offensive remarks, or belittling others’ opinions, to name a few, remote bullying might be a more delicate issue.  

Diana Blažaitienė, a remote work expert and Founder of  Soprana Personnel International, which is a recruitment and personnel rent solutions agency, commented: “One of the crucial aspects of remote bullying is that everyone in the team may be an online bully, it is not limited to higher-ranking colleagues. That is why organizations should create processes that would help everyone in the team – both the potential bully and the victim – to identify certain toxic behaviors in professional setting.”  

Staving off remote bullying behaviors 

The expert lists certain red flags that hint at remote bullying—exclusion from virtual conversations or activities, constantly increasing workload, and creating a hostile cyber environment through emails and remote work platforms. 

“The signs of remote bullying are not always clean-cut and can gradually worsen up to a point when a remote worker feels their work motivation and efficiency are significantly impaired. Setting up boundaries is one of the most essential moments in breaking off remote bullying behaviors,” Ms. Blažaitienė added. 

For employers, she suggests establishing clear policies on remote work practices and expectations for employees to prevent unwarranted behavior. Promoting honest and open conversations within the remote teams and implementing regular virtual check-ins also allows staff to nurture trust in the employer. Encouraging remote staff to report any cases of virtual bullying and together navigating how to best respond in such cases ensures the employee that the employer has their back. 

“Besides more strict measures like creating anti-bullying guidelines and procedures, team leaders can take more interpersonal approaches like team building activities that prompt deeper connection and understanding between remote staff members,” the remote work expert maintained.  

That said, remote workers should check their workplace behavior to create a bullying-free environment. Ms. Blažaitienė suggests always displaying professional conduct towards other colleagues, communicating and delegating tasks with respect, refraining from gossiping or spreading rumors, participating in meetings, exchanging information and resources with all team members, and using professional development and growth opportunities to minimize the outbursts of remote bullying. 

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Leading economic index falls in January

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the US fell by 0.3% in January to a reading of 110.3 (2016=100). The decrease follows a decline of 0.8% in December, and the US economy is still expected to tip into a recession this year despite strength in the labor market. 

Over the last six months, the Leading Economic Index is now down 3.6%, between July 2022 and January 2023 — a steeper rate of decline than its 2.4% contraction over the previous six-month period between January and July 2022. 

Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economics at The Conference Board commented: “The US [Leading Economic Index] remained on a downward trajectory, but its rate of decline moderated slightly in January. Among the leading indicators, deteriorating manufacturing new orders, consumers’ expectations of business conditions and credit conditions more than offset strengths in labor markets and stock prices to drive the index lower in the month.” 

Ozyildirim noted that while the index continues to signal a recession in the near term, indicators related to the labor market — including employment and personal income — remain robust. 

“The Conference Board still expects high inflation, rising interest rates and contracting consumer spending to tip the US economy into recession in 2023,” he added. 

Meanwhile, the annual growth rate of the index rose slightly in January.

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Saman Farid of San Francisco start-up Formic says one robot arm can do the work of up to eight people 

Joe Biden heralded a “manufacturing boom” in his state of the union speech earlier this month. He said that his policies had unleashed this boom and that companies, apparently, were rushing to build factories and bring home plants shipped overseas in previous decades. 

However, the more sobering reality is that not many people want to work in manufacturing because as of December 2022, 760,000 factory jobs remain unfilled, according to official figures. 

Every day, 10,000 baby-boomers retire — and those who replace them in industry often do not stay. Manufacturing has an annual staff turnover rate of 40%, meaning that every two and a half years, a typical facility’s entire workforce has to be rehired. 

Saman Farid ran Comet Labs before launching Formic two years ago. Comet Labs is a venture capital firm that specialised in robotics start-ups and he believes he has a solution to the manufacturing crisis. The 36-year-old entrepreneur has set up a “robot staffing agency” that brings in machines to do the jobs firms are struggling to fill. He has said that a single robot arm installed by his San Francisco start-up Formic can do the job of up to eight people. 


Scare stories of machines replacing humans have done the rounds for decades — but in manufacturing, Farid argues, the need is pressing. The industry is running far below capacity due to the acute labour shortage. 

Jay Timmons, Head of the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group that represents more than 14,000 factory owners, said the biggest problem for “99.9%” of his members is finding people. 

Timmons said: “The typical factory we go to is 50 to 70% under-utilised, and it’s all because there’s just not enough labour.”  

Farid added: “For American industry to be competitive, the only answer is way, way more robots — and not like one here, one there, but how do we get hundreds of thousands of robots into factories?” 

For most companies, though, automation is hard. It entails a granular breakdown of every function inside a plant, deciding which of those jobs can be done by a machine and then spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a robot that may, or may not, work as expected. 

Farid knows this all too well. Before launching Formic two years ago, he ran Comet Labs, a venture capital firm that specialised in robotics start-ups. Time and again, companies he backed would struggle to sign up customers because the risks and complexity of automating their processes were too high. 

That pain point led, Farid said, to the birth of Formic, which has taken a “robot as a service” approach. It maps a company’s operations, figures out the tasks that are best suited to automation, and then installs a robot that is paid an hourly wage. If it fails to perform, Formic doesn’t get paid.  

Farid said: “The tech for very productive robots has existed now for ten years, but adoption is extremely low because there is so much risk and complexity. And so … the typical response of the factory owner has just been, ‘I can’t do this.’ ” 

The problem is not unique to America. The CBI’s employment trends survey last summer found that three-quarters of businesses struggled to fill vacant roles. Perhaps that robot really is coming for your job, after all. 

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Rising global interest rates and talent shortages are driving a need for cost-savings and innovation

2023 will be a challenging year for HR and talent acquisition leaders as rising global interest rates and labour shortages across industries take their toll. To stay ahead of the game, organisations have begun to look at formal upskilling initiatives and internal mobility programmes as key strategies in solving employee retention issues, bridging skills gaps, and streamlining costs. Investing time into these measures could be the difference between success or failure when it comes to securing top performers this year.  


Access to a wider talent pool 

Talent mobility and upskilling programmes can uncover a wealth of previously untapped talent within the organisation. Leveraging this wider pool of candidates, employers can diversify job roles and benefit from an enriched workforce with wide-ranging skillset. Additionally, when employees move internally, they already have an understanding of the company’s culture, making it easier to transition into their new role and “hit the ground running.” At the same time, specialised training ensures employees stay ahead of industry trends while sharpening technical or soft skills—ensuring the business remains competitive as industry trends change over time.  

Drive cost savings 

Internal mobility and upskilling can have a significant effect on cost savings for organisations. By training existing employees, organisations save money on external recruiting efforts and onboarding and training a new hire. Furthermore, when staff are provided with opportunities to work faster and smarter due to training, they become valuable assets to the organisation by working more efficiently and driving down labour costs. This can be compounded over time as staff continuously upskill to take on tasks in new areas of expertise that traditionally cost more. 

Improve collaboration and knowledge-sharing  

Upskilling and talent mobility present unique opportunities for improved collaboration across departments. By giving employees the opportunity to gain experience in different areas of the business, they’ll have a better understanding of how different departments interact and work together towards common goals. In addition, upskilling your staff helps build sound processes that unite the entire organisation.  

Fuel employee retention and reduce turnover rates 

LinkedIn’s most recent Global Talent Trends Report finds that internal mobility is a powerful way to keep employees happy—with up to 87% of employees being more likely to stay at an organisation longer with an internal move. Further, seeking out upskilling opportunities has become increasingly important in candidates’ job searches as they look towards personal development within the workplace. 

Build a culture of growth and learning  

Upskilling and internal mobility initiatives give your employees the tools they need to reach their full potential within the organisation. It sends a clear message that you value their growth and development—creating a culture of learning that will help attract top talent from outside sources as well as retain current talent from within the company. 


Managers may be reluctant to let go of their top performers, but, as explored above, talent mobility is proven to benefit both the organisation and its employees. Instead, organisations should strive to create an internal culture of trust and open communication, wherein everyone feels comfortable exploring new territory or roles within the company. 

Supporting internal mobility isn’t just up to managers; it also comes from peers who offer encouragement when someone is taking on a challenging project or exploring a new role. By creating an environment where everyone feels supported, organisations establish a culture of collaboration and innovation that encourages people to take risks without fear of failure. 

Companies need to have clear policies in place that encourage upskilling and talent mobility while allowing for flexibility in terms of job descriptions or career paths that might make sense for certain individuals. Moreover, open dialogue regarding potential opportunities within an organisation increases transparency so everyone knows what possibilities are available at any given time. 

Providing employees with the freedom to stretch their skills and discover new abilities is an invaluable asset for any workplace. 

Through a careful repositioning of their talent, organisations can open doors for employees to explore different career paths and enhance their leadership capabilities. Plus, proactively providing these opportunities creates an attractive ecosystem where people are driven not just to succeed, but also learn and develop in ways they never thought possible.                                                

LevelUP is inviting HR leaders to join them in London for a networking breakfast and seminar on building successful internal mobility plans. Through this opportunity, you will gain the tools necessary to effectively identify and nurture your current workforce while being able to strategically attract top talent into your business. Don’t miss out—register now at this link. 

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90% of respondents said separation affected their ability to work

Solicitors at Kent law firm Furley Page have welcomed a new initiative by the Positive Parenting Alliance that could see employees being offered compassionate leave from work to deal with the breakdown of their marriage or relationship.

The Positive Parenting Alliance (PPA) initiative urges employers to treat a separation as seriously as other major life events, and is encouraging employers to implement policies specifically aimed at supporting those going through divorce or separation. Asda, Metro Bank, NatWest, PwC, Tesco, Unilever and Vodafone are among a group of major businesses that have already signed up to offer more support.

Josie Triffitt, a Solicitor with Furley Page’s Family team, commented: “It is widely recognised that a separation or divorce can be akin to a bereavement, so the PPA’s new initiative is an important step towards getting employers to acknowledge the impact of relationship breakdown on their employees.

“Anyone who has gone through a separation or divorce will know that it is often a difficult, complex and stressful time and for many who are working during this period, it can understandably have an impact on their performance, especially when the parties are dealing with the settlement financial matters or arrangements for their children.”

In a recent survey by the Positive Parenting Alliance, 90% of respondents stated that separation affected their ability to work and 95% said that their mental health was adversely affected, while more than half of the workers feared they could lose their job or thought about resigning. However, only 9% of employees said that their employers had a specific policy for separation and divorce.

Solicitor Eleanor Rogers, from Furley Page’s Employment law team, said: “In the absence of any such policy, the way that a separating or divorcing individual is treated will depend on their line manager’s approach, which may mean that employees are not treated consistently. Furthermore, in this world of hybrid working, issues such as mental health and wellbeing can be harder to spot.

“Employers can have a huge influence by ensuring that their employees feel supported, which in turn supports productivity and staff retention. The PPA’s new initiative is a positive step in the right direction, and going forward it is going to become more important for employers to put meaningful policies in place to provide assistance and support to staff as they cope with the impact of issues like separation or divorce.”

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56% of employees in the UK are looking to move jobs for more money 

58% of employers in the UK believe that they will lose staff in the next six months as they seek to earn more by moving jobs, according to new research.

According to the research by global talent services company, Morgan McKinley for its 2023 Salary Guide, 56% of employees in the UK are looking to move jobs in the first half of the year, with 49% selecting ‘higher salary’ as the primary reason, followed by ‘better career growth and development opportunities’ (17%).

The survey revealed that 72% of employers had to offer higher than anticipated salaries to attract new employees over the last year. Furthermore, 74% of employers in the UK think that salaries in their specific sector will rise in 2023, with over half (56%) planning on increasing base salaries across all teams.

55% of employees in the UK are expecting their salaries to increase this year, with 59% also expecting some form of bonus payout.

More than half (56%) of businesses plan to hire new permanent or contract employees in the next six months.

David Leithead, Chief Operating Officer of Morgan McKinley UK, commented: “Generally speaking, there was strong wage inflation associated with moving jobs in 2022. Many companies tore up the rule book, ignored salary guides, and simply pulled out all the stops to secure talent. The sense of competitive bidding was exacerbated by the determination of the hirer being matched by the current employer not wanting to lose their employee. We don’t expect to see such widespread increases this year, but they are likely to recur in areas where the shortage of skills is acute.”

“Despite companies looking cautiously to the future, pressure remains to find new talent in response to staff turnover, driving ahead with change agendas, satisfying new regulatory and legal regimes, and maximising the commercial opportunities that continue to exist. Employers need to ensure what they are offering is aligned to expectations, encompassing salaries and benefits. This is even more crucial considering the skills shortage that remains across many industries. Top talent will always be in demand, and 2023 will be no different in that regard.”

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Better communication recommended in order to avoid reducing potential talent pools 

A recent survey by The Conference Board revealed that 18% of candidates who did not hear back from a company after an interview took negative action against the company. Sixteen percent declined to recommend the company to others when the opportunity arose, and 2% left a negative review online.

In addition, only 7% applied for another job at the same company.

Rebecca Ray, Executive VP of Human Capital at The Conference Board commented: “It’s important for hiring managers to be aware of the potential consequences of not responding to job candidates, as it can lead to a reduction in the pool of future applicants. To avoid this, hiring managers should make sure to communicate with all candidates in a timely and respectful manner, regardless of the outcome of the hiring process.”

The report also noted a disconnect between the number of interviews both candidates and hiring managers think are necessary versus the number that actually occurs. Both candidates and hiring managers believe only two rounds of interviews are necessary, but nearly a quarter of candidates had four or more rounds of interviews.

Meanwhile, both candidates and hiring managers agreed that formal education is not as important as work experience, according to the survey.

The Conference Board polled more than 1,100 individuals – predominantly office workers –  for the report. Respondents weighed in on job-hunting preferences, hiring practices and interview processes.

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The index is down 3.9% from a year ago

According to the Conference Board, Lightcast Help Wanted OnLine Index of job ads fell in January to a reading of 164.6, down from a reading of 167.2 in December. The 1.6% decline between December and January follows a 5.5% increase between November and December.

The index measures the change in advertised online job vacancies over time, reflecting monthly trends in employment opportunities across the US.

Overall, the index is down 3.9% from a year ago.

The Conference Board produces the index in collaboration with Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), a provider of labor market data and analysis. The ads are collected from more than 50,000 online job domains.

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The Wall Street Journal sees about a 61% chance of a economic contraction 

Recession-like conditions rolling through the US economy are likely to cause more ripples through an otherwise strong jobs market. 

“Rolling recessions” has become a popular term these days for what the US has faced since a slowdown that started in early 2022. The term connotes that while the economy may not meet an official recession definition, there will be sectors that will feel very much like they are in contraction. 

According to data from popular networking site LinkedIn, that will be true as well for the jobs market, which overall has been strong but has seen weakness in sectors that could intensify this year.  

Economists at LinkedIn have identified multiple sectors that will show varying degrees of tightness this year. 

Rand Ghayad, Head of Economics and Global Labor Markets at LinkedIn said: “Labor markets remain tighter compared to pre-pandemic levels. They’re still resilient. They’re still stronger than what we’ve seen in the pre-pandemic period, but they’ve been slowing down gradually and will likely continue to slow down over the next few months.” 

Other sectors could follow as economists broadly expect that the US will see — at best — slow to moderate growth this year. 

LinkedIn data, which comes from job postings and other data from the site’s more than 900 million members worldwide, is markedly different from government data in an interesting way. 

Whereas the more widely following data from Bureau of Labor Statistics finds an extremely tight labor market, with nearly two open jobs for every available worker, LinkedIn’s ‘labor market tightness’ metric has shown about a 1-to-1 ratio that even looks to be loosening a bit more. 

The implications are important. 

The Federal Reserve has cited the historic tightness of the labor market as motivation for its series of interest rate hikes aimed at taming inflation. If the market trends are unfolding the way LinkedIn data indicates, it could provide impetus for the central bank to ease up on its own tightening measures. 

“Everything depends on what the Fed will be doing over the next couple of months,” Ghayad said. 

Where the jobs will be 

For job seekers, the phrase “rolling recessions” means that it will be easier to get employment in some industries, while others will be tougher. 

LinkedIn identifies certain industries as having slack, meaning that employers are having an easier time filling jobs and don’t need to use as many enticements to find workers. Those industries are government administration, education and consumer services, where applicants outnumber job openings. 

Moderately tight markets include, tech, entertainment, information and media, professional services, retail estate, retail and financial services. In these industries, job applicants are having an easier time finding opportunities while employers are having to step up recruitment efforts. 

Extremely tight labor markets include accommodation, oil and gas, hospice and health care. LinkedIn says that in those fields “employers cannot fill vacancies fast enough.” 

Though hospitality consistently has been the leader in expanding payrolls, the industry is still about half a million below its pre-pandemic level, according to BLS data. That is true even though hotels, restaurants, bars and the like have collectively raised hourly wages by about 23%. 

Ghayad made further comment: “This industry is actually still looking to hire a lot of people. It’s the tightest industry in the United States,” “There’s a lot of demand. They’re looking for people. There’s a lot of shortages. They can’t find people so these industries, services, industries, accommodation and anything that has to do with food or entertainment are booming.” 

Recession fears loom 

From a business standpoint, Ghayad said there have been four industries that have been recession-proof: government, utilities, education and consumer services. He does not expect to see any significant slowdown in hiring there. 

Despite the seeming healthiness of the labor market, many economists think a broader recession is still ahead. 

A recession survey from The Wall Street Journal sees about a 61% chance of a contraction, and the New York Fed’s recession indicator, which tracks the spread between 10-year and 3-month Treasury yields as an indicator, is pointing toward a 57% chance of a recession in the next year. That’s the highest level since 1982. 

Still, Ghayad said he expects hiring to remain strong, even though LinkedIn posts mentioning words such as ‘layoffs,’ ‘recession’ and ‘open to work’ have been on the rise in recent months. 

“We don’t expect sort of any potential downturn to significantly impact the labor markets,” he said. “We’re in a very good position right now. There’s some cooling, but … the labor market continues to be the brightest spot in the U.S. economy.” 

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Young adults are rethinking the value of college 

Amid the heightened demand for workers, rising cost of tuition and growing student loan burden, more would-be students are choosing career-connected pathways over four-year colleges, according to recent reports. 

As enrollment falls, alternatives such as apprenticeship programs are quietly gaining steam, particularly for families anticipating the sticker shock of a college education, which currently averages around $53,430, including tuition, fees and room and board, at private colleges and $40,550 at public colleges for the 2022-23 school year, according to the College Board. 

Hafeez Lakhani, Founder and President of Lakhani Coaching in New York commented: “We are a societal turning point. People at the margin are saying ‘I don’t know if I can wait four years to make a living.’” 

Some experts say the value of a bachelor’s degree is fading and more emphasis should be directed toward career training. A growing number of companies, including many in tech, are also dropping degree requirements for many middle-skill and even higher-skill roles. 

However, earning a degree is almost always worthwhile, according to “The College Payoff,” a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. 

Bachelor’s degree holders generally earn 84% more than those with just a high school diploma, the report said — and the higher the level of educational attainment, the larger the payoff. 

Apprenticeships are on the rise 

In an apprenticeship program, a company generally trains a student in one skill for a specific field. That often leads to a job, sidestepping the traditional college path — and costs. 

Over a decade, the number of registered apprentices rose 64%, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

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