Category: news

Parent of company of Facebook pays immigrants less

According to recent court findings, an IT professional filed suit against Meta, the parent company of Facebook, alleging it didn’t hire him because he was a US citizen.

According to the court filings, it’s alleged that the lawsuit said the company preferred visa holders — such as those on H-1B visas — at sites in the US because it could pay them less for the same tasks.

The plaintiff in the suit is Purushothaman Rajaram, a naturalized US citizen who lives in Pennsylvania. He has 20 years of experience in IT and it’s reported that Facebook considered him for employment on two occasions in 2020. The first being May 2020 when he was contacted by Infosys Inc. for a position at Facebook, and the second being in June 2020 by Facebook directly. He was hired on neither occasion.

The suit, filed on May 17 and seeks class action status.

“By law, H-1B visa workers must be paid by their employer at least as much as other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question,” according to the lawsuit. “Thus, the only reason Facebook would choose to hire and relegate certain positions to visa holders is to pay them less than American counterparts, an unlawful practice that is known in the industry as ‘wage theft.’”

Meta hires H-1B visa holders directly, according to the suit, and has secured more than 20,000 H-1B visas with a vast majority for employees who will perform software engineer roles. It also said Meta is an H-1B visa-dependent employer in that 15% or more of its US workforce is on an H-1B visa.

In addition, the suit said Meta also brings in H-1B visa workers from third-party vendors such as Infosys and Accenture.

Rajaram’s lawsuit refers to legal action by the US Departments of Labor and Justice against Facebook in which the social networking giant agreed to pay $4.75 million to settle allegations of bias against US workers.

Rajaram’s suit seeks damages including punitive damages.

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Employers offer benefits to emerging talent

According to the National Associate of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the average hourly wage for bachelor’s-level interns from the class of 2020-2021 rose to $20.82.

“The average hourly wage for interns is the highest hourly wage that has been reported,” said Shawn VanDerziel, NACE’s executive director.

He made further comment: “Moreover, it is important to consider the context: The last two summers have been particularly challenging for employers as they grappled with managing their internship programs during a pandemic, but they wanted to remain competitive and raised wages. Our studies show that the market is hot right now for both full-time hires and interns. We expect that hourly wages for summer 2022 interns will reflect that.”

Many employers have reportedly also offered benefits to interns. Examples include planned social activities, offered by 79.0%, and paid holidays, provided by 55.1%. In addition, 23.2% offered their interns 401(k) plans.

VanDerziel said interns also receive work experience that can make them attractive to potential employers.

NACE reported nearly two-thirds of class of 2020 – 2021 interns’ time at work, 36.1%, was spent on a combination of analytical/problem-solving work and 27.3% on project management duties.

In a tight and talent scarce market, the ‘grow your own’ mentality is one that will not only support the retention of staff but will also ensure a solid talent pipeline for growing businesses.

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Personality over professional and education, reveals survey

A new survey by small business lender iwoca has revealed the most sought-after skills that small business owners look for when hiring new employees and what impacts their hiring decisions.

With small business vacancies hitting record highs at 575,000 (a 72% increase from the same period last year), the survey revealed that more SME owners are looking for personal skills instead of professional ones when hiring.

The top five attributes were:

  • Honesty (44%)
  • Good personality (38%)
  • A skill set that matches the job description (37%)
  • Experience in a similar position (37%)
  • Good at verbal communication (34%)

According to the survey, the least important attribute was an undergraduate degree, with only 6% of small business owners believing that an undergraduate degree is important when recruiting.

When looking at the impact of recruitment on a business, 15% of small business owners believe that poor hires prevent future company growth and a further 11% agree that it leads to fewer sales.

Flexible working arrangements seem to be one way for new hires to meet their potential. Nearly half of the respondents who offer flexible working believed that these arrangements positively affected productivity. Only 7% said that it had a negative impact.

The survey results indicate that millennial business owners are more likely to offer flexible working arrangements, at 43%, compared to older generations, at 35%.

Seema Desai, Chief Operating Officer at iwoca, commented: “Small businesses employ over two thirds of the nation’s workforce. Some of the perceived barriers to applying for a job, such as having a degree, might not be as high as some job seekers think they are. Our research reveals the importance of strong personal skills when applying for roles, and the importance of hiring to the future growth of any business.”

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31% of financial services and banking professionals to leave the industry due to pressure

One third (31%) of financial services and banking professionals plan to leave their industry, and a further third (31%) are planning to stay within the industry but leave their current roles, reveals a new report.

According to the study by the digital accountancy platform, LemonEdge,  33% of financial service and banking professionals believe that working from home and hybrid working has increased burnout. Fourteen percent state that burnout has risen exponentially. The study also revealed that 23% of these professionals are worried about physical and mental health.

When asked why workers are planning to leave their positions, the following reasons were cited:

  • Heavy workload (42%)
  • Manual processes (36%)
  • Long working hours (32%)
  • Tight deadlines (26%)
  • Increasing demands from management (25%)

One in six of the financial services workers who were surveyed feel like they can no longer continue or no longer desire to continue in their role within the industry.

When asked what would help overcome burnout, 33% of financial services professionals agreed that a reduced workload would reduce burnout. Time off work (27%), support from management (25%), and faster, more efficient technology (23%) were also popular solutions.

Gareth Hewitt, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at LemonEdge, comments: “An exodus of industry professionals is a sure sign that levels of burnout have reached an unacceptable scale. Any experience of  burnout is serious and with thousands of employees planning to leave the industry as a direct result of high pressure, it should be a clear warning to firms before they risk losing valuable talent.

“The risk of burnout to employers is huge, and there are simple measures firms can introduce to reduce the risk of burnout, making the lives of their employees’ much simpler, easier, and with less stress. Firms need to be aware of the impact absenteeism and presenteeism will have on both their employees and business productivity. Just because you’re working from home, or in a hybrid model, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy time off. With one in four (23%) asking for faster or improved technology to eliminate manual processes, firms need to look at their approaches to improve the lives of their staff. In this day and age, technology, not only can but should, provide the automation and flexibility that can contribute to reduced stress, reduced working hours, and lower risk of burnout. At LemonEdge we are passionate about providing the tools and technology that enable financial services professionals to get home on time.”

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UK vacancies up 48% year-on-year

The locations with the highest rates of jobseekers have been revealed in a new study. London, Manchester, Birmingham, and towns on London’s commuter belt topped the list. The study results indicate that as offices reopen and daily commuting re-commence, workers are searching for roles closer to home.

The research by job search engine Adzuna also revealed that every advertised London-based job ad received an average of 65 views during April – indicative of high job churn in the capital city and centre of the Great Resignation in the UK.

Second on the list of jobseeker activity was Manchester, with over nine views for every job listing. Birmingham was third at over seven views per ad.

Edinburgh, Scotland, and Cardiff, Wales, also featured on this list, with view rates of 2.5 and 1.83, respectively. Northern Ireland, however, didn’t feature on the list – possibly showing that the Great Resignation has not reached them yet.

Further findings for April 2022 included:

  • Advertised vacancies in the UK were up 48% year-on-year, to 1,298,581.
  • Over half a million vacancies were on offer across London and surrounding areas.
  • The average advertised salary in London and surrounding commutable areas was £45,515.
  • The average advertised UK salary was £36,587 in April. This is 3% lower than 12 months ago (£37,898).
  • The number of advertised vacancies has exceeded the number of job seekers for the first time.

The study also revealed a growing interest in jobs within commuter towns. Slough and Heathrow experienced the fourth-highest jobseeker activity level. While traditionally, workers in these locations would have commuted into London, they are now looking for jobs closer to home. Job ads, on average, received over four views per posting in these areas.

There was also high jobseeker demand in other commuter towns around London:

  • Chelmsford (2.47)
  • Reading (2.45)
  • Guildford and Aldershot (2.07)
  • Luton (1.88)
  • Crawley (1.87)

The commuter belt towns accounted for a fifth of the list of top 30 UK towns and cities with the highest jobseeker activity.

Looking across the UK, England had the highest activity from jobseekers, with an average of 3.6 views per job ad. Rates were much lower across the rest of the UK with Scotland at 0.26, Wales at 0.11 and Northern Ireland at only 0.03.

Paul Lewis, Chief Customer Officer at Adzuna, comments: “London is at the core of the Great Resignation in the UK, but our data reveals the trend is spreading out fast. In particular, jobs in commuter towns are seeing high interest levels driven by a renewed interest from Brits to spend more time at home. As offices have reopened and commutes have restarted, workers are looking for close to home options that will continue to give them the flexibility they got used to over the pandemic and various lockdowns, be that picking the kids up from school, or simply working flexible hours. The return-to-office is a huge driver of the current high movement between jobs, and companies offering fully remote options, or even much publicised ‘work from anywhere’ policies, are stealing a march on the competition and coming out on top.”

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Despite efforts there is still massive room for improvement in UK management and reporting

In research released today, findings reveal a lack of focus on progressing diversity in the workplace. In the study conducted by SD Worx, it was found that while 68% of UK companies are committed to removing unconscious bias in the recruitment process, many have failed to implement a reporting system to track progress on meeting ED&I objectives.

The survey revealed that only 26% of UK companies evaluate managerial commitment to achieving ED&I-related objectives. A further 32% admitted having no systems allowing employees to report discrimination.

The UK ranked third in its commitment to removing unconscious bias at 68% when it comes to ranking. Ireland ranked first at 74%, with Belgium coming in second, at 69%.

As far as rankings for equal access to training, the UK is slightly lower than other countries, with 64% of companies investing in equal access to training and development. Ireland (72%), Belgium (71%), and Poland (69%) topped the list.

While 64% of UK companies include transparency about ED&I goals and actions to attract a diverse workforce in their mission statement and corporate values, only 60% of the UK companies surveyed said that they promote ED&I in job advertisements, social media, and their websites.

The survey also revealed that countries vary in their level of focus concerning educating and involving managers in their ED&I policies. For example, in the UK, 60% of companies stated that they actively involve their managers in ED&I policies, and 60% provide internal training on the topic.

Colette Philp, UK HR Country Lead at SD Worx commented: “It’s no longer enough for businesses to say they prioritise diversity and inclusion. Instead, they must prove their commitment to achieving a more diverse workforce, both internally within their business and externally to attract talent.”

“There is more awareness than ever before regarding diversity in the workplace and it’s a deciding factor for many when it comes to searching for a role or staying with a business. A diverse workforce brings new experiences and perspectives and an inclusive environment allows individuals to thrive. If businesses aren’t already putting ED&I as a top priority, it’s essential they act now to do so.”

Jurgen Dejonghe, Portfolio Manager SD Worx Insights, added: “It’s important that companies start investing in an active reporting system about their actions concerning diversity, equality and inclusion. On the one hand, that data offers a strong basis for optimising the diversity policy with concrete and consciously controlled actions. On the other hand, such a system also provides clear evidence whether companies are effectively putting their money where their mouth is and not making false promises to (future) employees.”

For ED&I initiatives to be successful, change needs to come from the top, with proper rollouts and reporting system to track their progress.

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Can employers help by scrapping outdated payday cycles?

According to a recent survey over 2,000 British people, one in four people are skipping meals over their rising cost of living worries.

With inflation at record highs, and increasing financial pressure, especially on ‘lower income’ workers, employers are urged to scrap outdated payday cycles which exacerbate stress.

Steve Tonks, SVP EMEA at WorkForce Software commented: “48% of the UK population frequently feel monetary stress, with financial anxiety being a leading cause of poor mental health for three fifths (60%) of employees – with the rising cost of living soaring it is no surprise that the fear of food poverty is growing. With grocery price inflation reaching 5.9 per cent, the highest level since December 2011, it is inevitable that the most affected by these hikes will be low-wage, hourly workers – many of whom are frontline.”

“For these employees, lunar pay cycles can be a particular pressure point– as there can be up to eight weeks of elapsed time between when hours were worked and when payment is received. As a result, many workers are forced into high-interest payday loans to make it through the month- an issue that is only being exacerbated by rising inflation.”

“Earned Wage Access (EWA) is a simple yet highly effective way to improve the employee experience, while helping workers to better manage their finances both in the short and long term.”

“Employers have a responsibility to help break outdated pay cycles, now more than ever. But, EWA shouldn’t just be a ‘nice-to-have’ during times of economic upheaval. Instead, it should be viewed as a long-term CSR goal for organisations, supported by ongoing education and advice on money management.”

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London has the highest hiring demand despite increased cost of living

The latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey has found that employers in the UK plan to increase headcount massively in the third quarter of this year. Based on responses from 2,030 UK employers, the survey looks at intentions for increasing, maintaining, or reducing workforce numbers in the next quarter.

Despite aggressively recruiting in the months post-pandemic, businesses are still struggling to fill vacancies.

According to the survey, UK’s employment outlook has tripled in the last 12 months. The Q3 outlook has reached a new high of +35%. This is a 22%-point increase from the third quarter of 2021.

The survey found that:

  • Banking, finance, insurance, and property are at the top of the list, increasing by 14% since the last quarter to +49%
  • London employers are also the most optimistic, increasing 10% in hiring confidence, moving up to +41%
  • The IT and technology industries are similarly committed to recruitment, increasing by 7% to +49% in the next three months
  • Manufacturing employers are also high on the list – the hiring intent is up by 27% to +38%
  • The hospitality sector was down by 9% to +25%.

Chris Gray, UK Director at ManpowerGroup, says: “These record hiring plans demonstrate the continuation of an employment trend, which sees businesses keeping their feet firmly on the gas, despite the familiar challenges with the UK labour market. Despite a shrinking workforce and with a large proportion of inactive workers, employers are still keen to recruit fresh talent to help them deliver their services, and to surf the wave of growth for as long as possible.

“We are seeing an active labour force confident enough to switch employers in the search for higher salaries, across both permanent and temporary categories. This is being driven by the rising cost of living and the need to chase higher wages to combat a dwindling disposable income. Demand for staff still outstrips supply, so the choice for candidates remains plentiful.

“On the other hand, we are seeing businesses work hard to bring in new talent but struggling to retain existing employees. Companies find themselves caught between a rock and hard place, in an effort to strike a balance between hiring new talent and being mindful of the needs and pressures felt by their existing employees.”

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Verbal communication and teamwork also top of list

A new study on skills in the workplace, commissioned by LMS provider Digits, has revealed the most important skills that workers expect from their managers. Of the 2,048 working-age adults polled, 51% of men and 45% of women agreed that leadership skills were the most important skills for managers.

Next on the list was verbal communication and teamwork, at 35%, followed by empathy at 30% and problem-solving at 29%. Written communication was at the bottom of the list at only 8%.

Just 10% of the respondents did not have any specific skill requirements for a manager.

Ranked by popularity, the most important skills needed by managers are:

  • Leadership skills (48%)
  • Verbal communication skills (35%)
  • Teamwork skills (35%)
  • Empathy (30%)
  • Problem-solving skills (29%)
  • A strong work ethic (21%)
  • Good time management (18%)
  • Conflict resolution (15%)
  • Written communication skills (8%)

Leadership skills include a variety of skills, hard and soft, and the term can mean different things to different people.

Bradley Burgoyne, Head of Talent at Digits, believes that the core leadership skills of a manager include:

  • Vision setting
  • Empathy and listening
  • Inclusive leadership
  • Coaching skills
  • Self-awareness
  • Collaboration skills

When analysed by age, the survey results revealed that opinions on managerial attributes differed depending on where people were in their careers, with 56% of people over 55 believing that leadership skills were the most important, compared to only 28% of 16 to 24-year-olds.

Other important attributes across the age groups were:

  • A strong work ethic is important to 25% of 16 to 24 year-olds
  • Verbal communication skills are preferred by 36% of 24 to 34 year-olds and 44% of over-55s
  • Teamwork skills are very important to 36% of those aged 35 to 54 years old

Burgoyne commented: “We’ve got more generations in the workforce today than we’ve ever had. And, each group of workers prefers slightly different managerial styles and leadership qualities.

“Every individual has their own expectations about how they want their managers to lead them, coach them, support them, relate to them, and empower them. Those skills don’t just happen, even the best managers need to receive regular training and development from their employers.”

“The challenge for HR and L&D teams is to ensure that their training strategy is broad enough to cater to all levels of employees in the organisation because, I think, everyone benefits from leadership or management development.

“It’s important that employers actively listen to their workforce and find out where the skills gaps are – what training do employees think they need? What training do employees think their managers need and what leadership qualities do they respond best to? They can then utilise the data to create training courses or a series of engaging development activities in their learning management system, that are really relevant to the people within the organisation rather than something that could, potentially, be seen as just a tick-box exercise.”

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Businesses called on to look at maternity pay policies and working models

The 2022 Parental Leave Study, conducted by Fertility Family, has found that one in five women are delaying having children due to work. The new study also revealed that half of new mothers need flexible working hours compared to less than two in five fathers. The belief is that flexible working hours would combat the increasing cost of childcare.

The study demonstrated that mothers struggle to balance work and family life after maternity leave. Twenty-four percent agree that maternity leave should last longer. And

As inflation hits new highs of 6.2%, 27% of women believe that maternity pay should be higher. In comparison, 15% of men want higher paternity pay.

The survey of employees at 116 UK companies also found that only 11% of mothers are happy with the parental leave policies at their companies and their company’s support of new parents.

The study also revealed that 21% of women would appreciate longer paid paternity leave for fathers. Fifteen percent of men feel the same. When asked whether working from home was a policy that new parents would appreciate, 46% of men and 44% of women agreed that it would.

With flexible working hours (45%) and remote working (45%) being the most popular wishes from both males and females, companies are called on to embrace employee-focused working models and increased maternity and paternity pay rates.

Gill McAteer, Director of Employment Law at Citation, commented: “Those who feel supported by their employers, and are clear about what their entitlements are, will feel much more comfortable making plans to start a family. Employees who are unsure of their workplace’s policy can often feel disengaged and stressed, which may lead to them putting off plans to have children as they feel like they are not ready.”

“Parental leave policies should be clear on employee entitlements and be available to everyone, with the aim of creating a supportive working environment. For employers looking to enhance their policies, they may consider adopting a family-friendly approach, with flexible or hybrid working, which would be well received by many of those who have families or are planning to do so.”

Lucinda Quigley, Head of Working Parents at Talking Talent, says: “The pandemic has led many people to re-examine their careers, futures and the way they want to work. Any companies not offering the right support and company culture could find their high-talent individuals eschew them in favour of more forward-thinking firms – which will be disastrous for long-term company success.”

“Now is the time for bold and honest conversations. Businesses must be ready to listen and create real change, especially given that the pandemic has transformed people’s thinking about the companies they work for, whilst also shifting family priorities.”

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