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Cybercrime group Clop demands organisations enter into negotiations

BBC, British Airways, Boots, and Aer Lingus are among the latest victims of a large-scale cyberattack orchestrated by a Russian-speaking cybercrime group known as Clop. Staff have been warned personal data including national insurance numbers and in some cases bank details may have been stolen.

The group has stolen personal details of over 100,000 staff members across these organisations and has issued an ultimatum for ransom negotiations. The affected companies have been commanded to contact Clop by 14th June, or else the stolen data, which includes sensitive information such as names, addresses, national insurance numbers, and bank details, will be published online. Clop exploited a vulnerability in the MOVEit software, used for secure file transfer within internal networks, gaining unauthorised access to multiple victims in one mass hack.

Six organisations, including Aer Lingus and the University of Rochester, have confirmed being impacted by the attack. While some organisations directly used MOVEit, others outsourced their payroll services to a third-party provider called Zellis, which was also affected. Clop claims to possess information on hundreds of companies and hints at conducting a penetration testing service after the fact.

The demand for ransom negotiations does not specify a specific sum but requires the affected businesses to enter into negotiations with the cybercriminal group. This type of attack, known as “doxware,” represents an escalation in ransomware tactics. Rather than simply encrypting data and demanding a ransom for its release, the hackers directly steal the data and threaten to publish it unless the ransom is paid. This approach prevents organisations from simply restoring their data from backups and disregarding the ransom demands. While paying ransom demands is generally discouraged, there is a risk that some affected companies may succumb to the pressure.

It is crucial for the impacted organisations to be transparent with their employees and customers, offering support and guidance on protecting themselves from further attacks.

A MOVEit spokesperson said: “Our customers have been, and will always be, our top priority. When we discovered the vulnerability, we promptly launched an investigation, alerted MOVEit customers about the issue and provided immediate mitigation steps.”

They added: “We are continuing to work with industry-leading cybersecurity experts to investigate the issue and ensure we take all appropriate response measures. We have engaged with federal law enforcement and other agencies with respect to the vulnerability.”

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Would it result in more low-income workers leaving the workforce?  

In a groundbreaking move, England is set to conduct its first-ever trial of universal basic income, with 30 individuals being offered £1,600 per month without any work obligations. The aim of the trial is to assess the impact of providing a standard income on people’s lives. 

The pilot project, proposed by the think tank Autonomy, will span a period of two years and select participants from Jarrow, a town in northeast England, as well as East Finchley in London. The objective is to determine whether this scheme effectively addresses inequality and poverty. 

If the trial proves successful, there is potential for the government to adopt universal basic income, a system in which all individuals in society receive the same salary regardless of their means or abilities. 

 Universal basic income in the age of AI 

The concept of universal basic income has gained significant attention recently due to the integration and advancements of AI in the workforce, which has raised concerns about widespread job displacement across various sectors. 

Earlier this year, a report by Goldman Sachs indicated that AI could potentially replace 300 million full-time jobs. Universal basic income has been proposed as a potential solution to cope with high unemployment rates resulting from the replacement of jobs by AI. 

Nevertheless, critics argue that the implementation of universal basic income would impose a substantial financial burden on the government and divert funds from other essential public services. 

 Advantages and Disadvantages of Universal Basic Income 

Supporters of universal basic income highlight its potential to empower workers by allowing them to reject unsuitable jobs, advocate for better working conditions, and pursue activities that genuinely interest them. Social researcher Dr David Frayne, in a note on the Autonomy website, asserts that UBI could rectify the current situation where social inclusion hinges on one’s ability to secure employment. He states, “Basic Income could solve this problem by giving people the resources to undertake productive activities for themselves and for each other if they so choose. The hope is that, with the benefit of time and a guaranteed income, people would be able to develop a range of interests and capacities outside employment. You can finally do the thing you actually want to do.” 

However, opponents argue that universal basic income would place a considerable strain on government finances and could result in reduced funding for vital public services. 

The upcoming trial in England will provide valuable insights into the potential benefits and challenges associated with universal basic income, offering an opportunity to evaluate its effectiveness in addressing societal inequalities and shaping the future of work. 

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10% of women experiencing menopause have left the workforce

A new standard for businesses on menstruation, menstrual health and menopause in the workplace has been published by the UK’s national standards body, The British Standard Institution (BSI).

The free standard offers guidance to workplaces on how to accommodate and support employees experiencing menstruation, perimenopause and menopause.

It was developed with input from large businesses, government health bodies, charities and public consultation.

Anne Hayes, Director of Sectors at the BSI said the guidance will help employers support and retain female employees.

According to HR Magazine, Anne she said: “Working practices have changed and we now live in a time where more women are having long and successful careers. At the same time, some employees and stakeholders are becoming more aware of the importance of wellbeing at work.

“Developing workplaces in which menopause and menstruation are destigmatised and supported can enable organisations to better retain workers that experience severe symptoms and who might otherwise have considered leaving the workforce.”

Research from gender equality charity the Fawcett Society found 10% of women experiencing menopause have left the workforce due to their symptoms rising to 25% for those with more severe symptoms. Symptoms can include hot flushes, dizziness, insomnia, muscle and joint stiffness.

Hayes said the first step employers should take to support staff going through menopause is to break down the taboo around it.

She added: “A business can start by considering the existing workplace culture to determine whether there is a general awareness of menstruation and menopause, and whether employees are given appropriate opportunities for open conversation or to request support.

“In workplace cultures where menstrual health is openly discussed and employees and organisations work collaboratively to identify appropriate support or adjustments, employees perform at their best.”

The BSI guidelines ask businesses to consider whether there is a general awareness of menstruation and menopause, and whether employees are given opportunities for open conversations or to request support in the workplace.

It also gives guidance on training for line managers and how to create a comfortable environment for employees who are menstruating or going through menopause.

Other topics covered include considering menstrual health in relevant policies like sickness absence and flexible working.

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Selective industries experience cooling job market

The Employment Trends Index, published by The Conference Board, experienced a slight decline in May, with a reading of 116.15 compared to an upwardly revised reading of 116.79 in April. This decline is primarily observed in specific industries, particularly the information sector.

Selcuk Eren, a senior economist at The Conference Board, commented on the situation, stating, “The Employment Trends Index showed a slight decrease in May, continuing its gradual decline since reaching its peak in March 2022. Despite this, the index remains at a relatively high level, indicating that job gains are expected to persist in the coming months, albeit at a slower pace.”

Eren highlighted that job losses are concentrated within a few sectors, while other industries are still struggling with labor shortages and continue to create employment opportunities. He further emphasized, “Overall, we are still facing a tight labor market, especially when compared to pre-pandemic conditions. Job growth is happening across the economy, with in-person service sectors leading the way. Industries such as leisure and hospitality, as well as the government sector, which are yet to fully recover from the pandemic, are projected to continue adding jobs. Additionally, the healthcare and social assistance industry will experience sustained employment growth due to the aging US population.”

Although the labor market cooling is currently limited to select industries, notably the information sector encompassing tech companies, Eren mentioned that weaknesses are emerging in other labor indicators. These include a decline in voluntary resignations and a surge in layoff announcements during the first five months of 2023.

The Conference Board anticipates that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates by 25 basis points at least once to curb wage growth and alleviate inflationary pressures.

The decline in the Employment Trends Index for May can be attributed to negative contributions from five out of its eight components, namely the percentage of respondents reporting difficulty in finding jobs, real manufacturing and trade sales, the percentage of firms unable to fill positions currently, job openings, and industrial production.

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Unemployment rates showing positive trends

The most recent data from the Department of Statistics Malaysia reveals that Malaysia’s unemployment rate in March stood at 3.5%, reflecting a decrease of 0.6% compared to the previous year.

When compared to February 2023, the unemployment rate remained stable in March.

Throughout March, the number of individuals without employment continued to decline, registering a 0.5% drop to 588,700 persons. This represents a substantial decrease of 12.0% compared to the same period last year.

On a positive note, the number of individuals with employment displayed an upward trajectory, experiencing a 0.2% increase (+33,700 persons) in March. The total number of employed persons reached 16.22 million, compared to 16.19 million in February. Over the course of the year, this figure grew by 2.9%.

Moreover, the labor force expanded in March, witnessing a 0.2% growth (+30,500 persons) to reach 16.81 million individuals. In February, the labor force stood at 16.78 million persons. Comparatively, this represents a 2.3% increase over the year.

Conversely, March’s labor force participation rate remained steady at 69.9% compared to the previous month, but demonstrated a positive growth of 0.7% over the year.

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Two-thirds of business leaders say they need deeper understanding of HR function

Business leaders identify HR as ripe for disruption by AI

New data reveals business leaders recognise the potential of AI and automation in terms of  revolutionising HR – however, businesses will only thrive if they keep HR’s human touch.

HR software company Personio surveyed 500 C-suite level executives and 1000 HR decision makers at SMEs in the UK and Ireland. The data reveals 74% of business leaders reporting there is a need for their business to become more efficient and productive and 66% believe AI and automation have potential to deliver this within the HR department.

Key findings include;

43% of HR managers are worried they’ll lose their job as more of the HR function is automated.
73% of business leaders say HR will be more important to the business in the future.
60% of UK business leaders intend to incorporate more AI and automation into their HR department in the next 5 years.

In light of recent technological advances with generative AI, like Chat GPT, 61% believe HR will be taken over by AI in the future. However, these statements about the future of HR may be a symptom of a misunderstanding of the value that HR teams deliver to organisations. The survey uncovered a clear knowledge gap, with 67% of business leaders admitting they’d like to have a better understanding about what their HR team does.

Ross Seychell, Chief People Officer at Personio, said: “Emerging technologies such as generative AI tools, like Chat GPT, have the potential to revolutionise workplaces, and the HR department is no exception. But will HR be ‘replaced’ one day by AI? I certainly don’t believe so, and the business leaders that say it is possible are short sighted and worryingly misinformed about the role that effective HR plays in businesses. Instead we can expect to see AI make HR more important, by allowing a hard-pressed department to focus more on business critical issues like building a great culture or solving retention challenges, while new technology will make admin tasks more efficient.”

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85% of veterans demonstrate above average technology skills

A recent report reveals UK armed forces veterans hold the key to help bridge the UK’s digital skills gap.  

The latest WithYouWithMe’s report, ‘A new frontier for veteran employment,’ found that 85% of veterans demonstrate intermediate or above technology skills, surpassing the general population in abstract reasoning. However, businesses continue to overlook them in the fight against the technical skills gap despite being the UK’s largest untapped resource in tackling the digital skills crisis.

This ground-breaking study analysed two years’ worth of data from over 2,000 UK veterans and revealed that one third of UK veterans excel in digital symbol coding and they are commonly suited for careers in project management, operations, and cyber incident response.

Veterans are the UK’s primary source of security cleared talent for defence and national security organisations. Over 700,000 veterans are employed in the UK, but more than half are in low-paid or routine occupations that don’t utilise their full skills

While 71% of medium and large organisations are open to hiring veterans – only 39% would consider someone without industry experience.

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Small businesses embrace generative AI tools

According to a recent report by FreshBooks, the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on organizations continues to grow, with 25% of small businesses currently utilizing or testing generative AI tools. Encouragingly, two-thirds of these businesses plan to explore these tools for their work within the next 12 months. The report surveyed 1,000 small-business owners from diverse industries in the United States and Canada during May.

The findings suggest that small-business owners are not overly concerned about AI replacing their roles, as only 44% of respondents anticipated hiring fewer people in the future due to the capabilities of AI. Mara Reiff, Chief Data Officer at FreshBooks, explained, “Anxiety over AI has been growing lately, with workers in certain industries expressing concerns that their jobs will be replaced. In the world of small business, it appears that owners don’t feel particularly threatened and don’t believe artificial intelligence can do their jobs just as well as they can. On the other hand, their eyes are wide open to the potential of using AI as a support to help them scale.”

The survey revealed that the majority of current generative AI adopters are employing it for text generation purposes, while others are leveraging its abilities to create images or conduct general business research. Most respondents reported using AI-generated content on their business websites and social media platforms. However, fewer participants stated that they utilize generative AI content for customer support and communications.

Regarding the impact of AI on their businesses, 60% of respondents believed that AI would bring about significant changes within the next five years. The areas expected to be most affected include business analytics, sales and marketing, and customer communications, according to the report. On the other hand, respondents rated human resources, recruiting, and service delivery as the areas least likely to be impacted by AI.

Despite the growing adoption of AI, privacy, ethical concerns, and intellectual property issues were significant points of worry for 80% of small-business owners. This demonstrates a recognition of the potential risks associated with AI implementation.

Overall, the FreshBooks report highlights the growing acceptance and optimism surrounding the use of generative AI tools among small businesses. As these businesses explore AI’s potential to support their growth, they remain mindful of the ethical and privacy considerations associated with this technology.

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Australia’s minimum wage to increase by AUD 1.20 per pour

Australia’s minimum wage is set to rise by AUD 1.20 (USD 0.79) per hour starting from July 1, 2023, benefiting the country’s lowest paid workers. The Fair Work Commission recently announced a 5.75% increase in the National Minimum Wage, raising the hourly pay rate from AUD 21.38 (USD 14.13) to AUD 22.60 (USD 14.94) for these workers.

Additionally, all modern award minimum wage rates will also see a 5.75% increase, effective from the first full pay period on or after July 1, 2023. Modern awards outline the minimum employment conditions and terms beyond the National Employment Standards (NES), including aspects like pay and working hours.

Despite the wage increase, workers will still experience a real wage decrease due to a 6.8% inflation rate over the past year, as of April. The decision by the Fair Work Commission falls between the 3.8% requested by some business groups, such as AiGroup, and the 7% sought by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).

More than 20% of Australia’s workforce receives minimum award rates, while 0.7% earn the national minimum wage, which is the lowest rate. Fair Work Commission president Adam Hatcher acknowledged the challenges faced while making the decision, including declining wages, high inflation, and an anticipated economic slowdown.

In determining the wage increase, the commission considered the impact of inflation on the financial well-being of low-paid workers, as well as the upcoming rise in the superannuation guarantee from 10.5% to 11%. The commission also took into account the effects of a weakened job market on casual employees and relevant industries.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) expressed concerns about the increase, stating that it would impose an AUD 12.6 billion (USD 8.3 billion) wages burden on small and family businesses. ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar emphasized the negative implications for the 260,000 small and family-owned businesses that pay minimum and award wages, and he criticized the decision for potentially exacerbating high inflation amid a deteriorating economic outlook.

The wage increase fell short of the ACTU’s desired 7% raise. Sally McManus, the secretary of the ACTU, acknowledged that the increases would provide crucial support to millions of working people during the current cost-of-living crisis. She described it as a critical increase that would help these individuals stay afloat.

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Lengthening time to hire challenges employers

The duration to fill job positions experienced a slight increase during the first quarter, as indicated by a recently released report from AMS, a leading global provider of RPO, and HR research firm The Josh Bersin Co. The report reveals that the average time to hire individuals rose from 43 days, reported a year ago, to 44 days in the same period this year.

Furthermore, the study highlights a growing disparity between easy-to-fill and difficult-to-fill roles across all industries. While certain positions are successfully filled within a mere 14 days, many vacancies persist for two to three months or even longer.

The report encompasses data collected from eight different industries and over 25 countries worldwide.

“As demonstrated by our data, the time required for hiring has consistently increased over the past four years,” stated Jim Sykes, the Global Managing Director of Client Operations at AMS. “It is crucial to understand that the hiring landscape will not become easier in the near future. HR and talent leaders must continue to innovate and revamp their strategies for talent acquisition, development, and retention.”

According to the report, the energy and defense sectors endure the lengthiest hiring processes, exceeding 67 days, with further delays anticipated this year. Following closely, professional services recorded the second-longest average time to hire, reaching 47 days. The tech industry also faces persistent challenges in filling positions.

“Regardless of the current state of the global economy, it is evident that the availability of certain skill sets does not align with the existing demand and the gaps that need to be filled,” explained Josh Bersin, the Global HR Research Analyst and CEO of The Josh Bersin Co. “Forward-thinking HR and talent acquisition pioneers have recognized this and are exploring unconventional approaches to talent development, cross-functional role assignments, and proactively ensuring a continuous pipeline for succession planning and new positions.”

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Trending Stories

Talent Solutions

TALiNT Partners and Stratigens are proud to announce a strategic partnership which will provide an unparalleled range of talent intelligence solutions to the needs of our members, partners and clients.

Alison Ettridge, CEO of Stratigens said “Companies do research on their customers, their markets and their competitors to inform decisions all the time. With Stratigens, they can now do research on the greatest asset –access to the workforce and people they need to deliver their strategy. Our partnership with TALiNT Partners will support our mission of putting human capital at the heart of business decision making. We are really excited about working with the team to overlay the insight that TALiNT Partners’ network brings with labour market data to empower HR, TA and business leaders to make critical strategic decisions.”

Ken Brotherston, CEO of TALiNT Partners added “for some time we have been looking for a partner to support the insight generated by our network with global workplace data to bring a unique offering to the market. Stratigens is the perfect partner to help us achieve this and together we look forward to continuing to help raise capability in how employers find and keep the people they need, and how staffing and talent solutions providers can better support their clients.”

About Stratigens

Stratigens software is helping the world’s best companies make smarter decisions about where to grow, who to hire from and the diversity of their workforce. We join the dots between the labour market, economics and locations. Putting human capital intelligence at the heart of decision making.

We live in a world rich with skills and geo economic data, but the data is messy, unstructured, big and in thousands of places. Stratigens uses the latest in machine learning and big data to gather, extract, categorise and label the data, and put it into a format that’s easy to digest. So our clients can make smarter, faster, more informed decisions.

Stratigens – https://www.stratigens.com

About TALiNT Partners

TALiNT Partners connects the talent ecosystem. We bring together a global network of leading employers and solution providers to make better talent and technology decisions. Providing intelligence, insight and peer-to-peer networking that drives quality, innovation and improves inclusion across the talent ecosystem

TALiNT Partners – https://talintpartners.com/


If you would like to know more about the partnership, please contact Ken Brotherston, CEO of TALiNT Partners, ken@talintpartners.com

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Acquisition strengthens Nash Squared as a major MSP

Nash Squared, a provider of talent and technology solutions, has become a major force in Managed Service Provision with its recent acquisition of Het Flexhuis – a Managed Service Provider (MSP) of talent and recruitment services based in The Netherlands.

Het Flexhuis has a strong track record in delivering outsourced recruitment services for government, public services, and commercial organisations and will operate as an independent brand within Nash Squared’s recruitment business Harvey Nash.

Bev White, CEO of Nash Squared, commented: “I am delighted to welcome Het Flexhuis into the Nash Squared family. It is our vision to help our clients access talent and technology in every way possible, and offering a high quality MSP solution is an important next step for us. Het Flexhuis brings enormous experience and expertise with them, and I am excited by the potential.”

Occo Lijding, MD of Harvey Nash The Netherlands, commented: “This represents a step change in how we can help and support our clients in talent and technology. I have long admired the team at Het Flexhuis, and when we met I was struck by how similar our values and ambitions were. They are the perfect fit for us, and I look forward to working with them.”

Frederieke Schmidt Crans, Managing Director, Het Flexhuis commented: “We are thrilled and excited to become part of Nash Squared. Our company was established ten years ago with a mission to create a world-class MSP with great people and processes at its core. We see joining Nash Squared as the natural next chapter in that success story.”

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Search engines combine forces to accelerate Adzuna’s growth in the US

On Tuesday, 14 June, Adzuna announced their acquisition of the US job search engine Getwork.

The Getwork team, under the leadership of Brad Squibb, will be working alongside the Adzuna team, intending to accelerate Adzuna’s growth in North America.

Getwork links job seekers with vacant roles at North American companies by indexing millions of verified jobs daily directly from tens of thousands of employer career sites.

Adzuna, with headquarters in London, UK, Indianapolis, IN, and Sydney, AU, uses AI-powered technology to match people to jobs. The company has recently launched in Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, and Mexico. Their operations now cover 20 markets globally.

The two companies will operate as independent brands with their own established communities.

Doug Monro, CEO, and Co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “Adzuna acquiring Getwork will help us supercharge our growth in North America. The Getwork team’s stellar reputation for great service and delivery has led them to be trusted by an impressive roster of household name companies in the US. It’s also a great fit as their team and mission are so aligned with ours. The US enterprise market is crying out for strong alternatives to existing offerings and we’re looking forward to combining Adzuna’s marketing expertise, global footprint and programmatic job matching technology with Getwork’s deep industry knowledge and reputation to deliver even better for our customers. The US is the fastest-growing part of our business and this acquisition will accelerate our profitable growth trajectory.”

Brad Squibb, President of Getwork, comments: “Adzuna is a truly global business, operating across 20 countries, which creates an exciting opportunity for us to scale into new markets with the help of a brand that has already paved the way for international expansion. We can’t wait to join Doug and the team on this journey.”


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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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