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33% of workers happy to take a reduced salary to work reduced days in the office

An overwhelming 80% of office workers express their belief in the potential of a four-day workweek to bolster productivity, as highlighted by a report released on August 7th from The study, based on a survey of 1,000 full-time office employees without existing four-day work weeks, underscores the strong appetite for this new work arrangement.

Among those surveyed, an impressive 94% reveal their openness to transitioning to a four-day work week, with 57% of them indicating substantial enthusiasm for the idea. Respondents emphasize the positive impacts of this change, citing improved work-life balance (96%) and increased productivity (88%) as key benefits.

The study also delves into the willingness of office workers to make concessions for this shift. Remarkably, 77% of respondents express their likelihood to consider changing jobs if offered the option of a condensed work week. Furthermore, 33% are open to taking a reduction in pay, even while maintaining their current job responsibilities.

Stacie Haller, Chief Career Advisor at Resume Builder, recognizes the significance of this trend. She suggests that the four-day workweek could serve as an effective solution for organizations aiming to enhance work-life balance, especially if remote or hybrid work arrangements do not align with their corporate culture. Haller also points out that companies insisting on in-person work might be missing out on a pool of potential employees who desire more flexible work setups. The four-day workweek, she asserts, could strike a balance that attracts a broader range of qualified candidates.

Despite the positive reception, a minority – about 6% – express reservations about adopting a four-day workweek. Their reluctance stems from concerns about the prospect of longer workdays required to accommodate the condensed schedule. Many of them indicate a preference for distributing their workload over a more extended timeframe rather than compacting it into fewer days.

The transition to a four-day workweek, while presenting challenges such as renegotiating employment contracts and addressing holiday pay, is touted as a worthwhile endeavor. Companies that have made the leap affirm its advantages: a boost in employee happiness, increased operational efficiency, and improved retention and recruitment rates.

The ongoing discourse about work schedules and productivity remains dynamic, with varying studies reflecting contrasting results. While certain reports suggest a decline in productivity, recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the second quarter of 2023 contradicts this trend. The data reveals a surge in labor productivity, attributed to heightened output and a reduction in working hours—the first decrease in hours worked since Q2 2020.”

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Government data reveals positive trends in 2022

Instances of workplace and recruitment-based discrimination in Singapore experienced a second consecutive annual decrease in 2022, as indicated by government data released on Monday.

Within the realm of job seekers, the proportion of individuals facing discrimination during their job search dropped to 23.8% in 2022, down from the 25.8% recorded in 2021 and a significant reduction from the 42.7% reported in 2018.

Based on a survey encompassing 3,600 Singaporeans, prevalent forms of discrimination encountered by job seekers centred around:

  1. Age (16.6%)
  2. Race (7.1%)
  3. Mental health (5%)
  4. Family status (4.3%)
  5. Gender (4.2%)

Instances of mental health discrimination saw an increase from the preceding year’s 2.9% in 2021, securing the third position this year and overtaking nationality, which held the third spot the prior year.

“This might be partially attributed to heightened expectations for employers to address their employees’ mental well-being, coupled with a rise in the proportion of residents within the workforce grappling with mental health conditions,” the report explained.

While diminishing, advertisements favouring specific demographic characteristics without valid justification remained the most prevalent source of discrimination for job seekers, as outlined by the report.

Additionally, another form of discrimination stemmed from employers’ requests for personal information not relevant to the job at hand. The report noted, “Age, marital status, and nationality were the most commonly requested personal details in job applications or during interviews.”

Meanwhile, instances of discrimination experienced by employees within workplaces declined to 8.2% in 2022, a slight decrease from the 8.5% observed the preceding year and a substantial decline from the 24.1% noted in 2018.

The report delineated workplace discrimination as unjust treatment in areas including salary, career advancement, and distribution of workload. Respondents indicated that instances of unfair treatment encompassed:

  1. Salary (56%)
  2. Workload distribution (46%)
  3. Performance evaluations (44.7%)
  4. Promotions (44.7%)
  5. Career growth (38.7%)
  6. Bonuses (36.7%)
  7. Daily interactions at work (26.7%)

The report further identified that employees experienced discrimination based on personal attributes such as:

  1. Mental health (4.7%)
  2. Age (3.7%)
  3. Race (2.6%)
  4. Disability (2.5%)
  5. Nationality (2.5%)

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) credited the declining figures to “combined efforts among stakeholders to advocate and maintain equitable employment practices.”

The report disclosed that the percentage of employees seeking assistance after encountering discrimination nearly doubled to 35.3% in 2022, a significant rise from the 20% reported in 2021.

“Majority of the employees (75.3%) who sought help for discrimination were able to do so through formal channels provided by their company or their labour union,” the report highlighted.

Those who chose not to report discrimination cited fear of marginalisation at work or straining work relationships (23.1%), apprehensions about potential effects on their professional trajectory or future job prospects (21.5%), and 16% expressed that previous incidents had eroded their trust in management’s impartial handling of such matters.

MOM underscored that employees and job seekers encountering discrimination could avail themselves of their employers’ grievance resolution processes and may also reach out to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices for assistance.

These findings align with Singapore’s ongoing efforts to introduce new legislation promoting workplace equity, aimed at eradicating discrimination within organisations.

“As we enact the Workplace Fairness Legislation, we will further fortify our stance against workplace discrimination in Singapore and ensure equitable opportunities for our workforce,” stated MOM in a press release.

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Companies to disclose salary disparities to address gender inequities in the workplace

The government of New Zealand has unveiled its intentions to mandate companies to disclose their gender-based salary disparities. The announcement, presented on Friday, was delivered by Jan Tinetti, New Zealand’s Minister for Women, and Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Associate Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety.

As per the ministers’ estimates, approximately 900 establishments employing over 250 staff members might soon be required to publicly reveal their gender pay discrepancies. This scope will subsequently extend to firms with more than 100 employees within four years.

Tinetti emphasised the distinct workplace experiences of women compared to men and stressed the necessity for change. She stated, “The imperative for companies to divulge their gender pay gaps will incentivise them to confront the factors causing these disparities and will enhance transparency for employees.”

Drawing attention to practices in other nations, Tinetti highlighted that countries such as Australia, Canada, and the UK have already implemented protocols for gender pay gap disclosure.

Radhakrishnan clarified that the initiation of pay gap reporting would initially be voluntary, followed by a governmental review after a three-year period to ascertain whether it should become obligatory.

Radhakrishnan also mentioned the government’s commitment to exploring the inclusion of ethnicity in pay gap reporting. She emphasised that ethnic groups like Māori and Pacific peoples often encounter compounded impacts from both gender and ethnic pay gaps. “As we move ahead with our consultation phase, we will deliberate on the integration of ethnicity before formalising the legislation,” she affirmed.

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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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Resilient tech sectors highlight big data and AI demand

During the second quarter (Q2) of 2023, the global landscape witnessed a downturn in employment opportunities as job postings dwindled by more than 15% compared to the previous year. Despite this trend, certain industries such as Retail, Technology, and Communications demonstrated noteworthy resilience. The drivers behind recruitment patterns were centred around prominent themes like Big Data, Cloud Computing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), as reported by GlobalData, a leading data and analytics firm.

GlobalData’s recent publication, titled “Trends & Insights in Global Hiring Activity Q2 2023,” disclosed a consistent downtrend in global hiring activity, with posted job opportunities declining by 15% year-on-year and 6% quarter-on-quarter within the mentioned quarter.

Regions including the Middle East, Africa, South America, and Central America experienced an upswing in job postings. Notable countries showcasing substantial growth in new job openings were Japan, the Czech Republic, and Brazil.

Sherla Sriprada, an Analyst specializing in Business Fundamentals at GlobalData, commented on these trends. Sectors like Power, Healthcare, and Foodservice marked higher year-on-year growth in terms of job postings. Industries such as Pharmaceuticals, Retail, Construction, and Automotive also displayed increased hiring activity. Noteworthy recruiters during this period included Abbott Laboratories, Black & Veatch Corp, and Robert Bosch GmbH.

In terms of specialized themes, sectors such as e-Commerce, Social Media, Edtech, and 3D Printing saw elevated job postings. The introduction of advanced AI tools like ChatGPT and Bard resulted in a significant uptick in opportunities related to Artificial Intelligence.

Sriprada elaborated on this trend, highlighting an impressive 106% year-on-year surge in roles related to Enterprise Social Networking and Collaboration Platforms as indicative of the adoption of these innovative technologies.

Other sought-after skills included proficiency in Office Productivity Applications, Application Lifecycle Management, Application Platforms and Containers, Business Intelligence, Data Discovery Tools, and Database Management.

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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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