Tag: Employee

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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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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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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Wage growth soars in Singapore

A recent report from the Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department revealed that more firms in Singapore were able to raise their employees’ wages in 2022 compared to the previous year. The report highlighted that nominal wage growth in 2022 reached its highest level in a decade.

Despite the challenges posed by higher inflation, real wages continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace compared to 2021. The data indicated a robust wage growth pattern in the face of increased manpower demand.

The report outlined that nominal total wages, which included employer CPF (pension) contributions, for full-time resident employees (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) who had been with the same employer for at least one year, rose by 6.5% in 2022.

Moreover, the Ministry of Manpower’s findings demonstrated that the nominal wage increase in 2022 was significantly higher than in the previous year, recording a 3.9% increase. This upward trend reflected firms’ efforts to restore the wages of employees who experienced cuts during the pandemic years. Additionally, companies granted higher wage increases to retain staff amidst the intensifying competition for workers.

While nominal wage growth managed to keep pace with inflation, resulting in real wage growth, the rate of growth was notably dampened. Real wages experienced a marginal increase of 0.4% in 2022, falling below the 1.6% growth witnessed in 2021. The report attributed this slower growth to the considerably higher inflation rate in 2022 (6.1%) compared to the previous year (2.3%).

Notably, all industries in Singapore observed higher wage growth in 2022 compared to 2021, although the extent of the increase varied across sectors. Accommodation and Retail Trade reported above-average wage increases of 9.7% and 6.7% respectively. These industries raised wages to attract and retain workers amidst a strong recovery in tourism demand.

The Financial Services (9.0%), Information & Communications (7.7%), and Professional Services (7.6%) sectors continued to experience robust wage growth in 2022, driven by sustained manpower demand.

Meanwhile, Manufacturing (5.7%) and Wholesale Trade (5.8%) firms also increased employee wages, although to a lesser extent due to global supply chain disruptions and weakness in trade-related activities.

The report further highlighted an encouraging trend, as the proportion of profitable establishments rose for the second consecutive year, reaching 83.9% in 2022. Consequently, the percentage of establishments that offered wage increases increased from 60.0% in 2021 to 72.2% in 2022, surpassing the pre-pandemic level in 2019 (69.2%).

The number of establishments that reduced employee wages remained relatively low at 5.2%, while the remaining 22.6% maintained wages unchanged.

Among establishments that provided wage increases, the magnitude of the increase was larger in 2022 (7.9%) compared to the previous year (6.3%). Conversely, establishments that implemented wage cuts saw a smaller magnitude of reduction compared to the previous year, with the figure decreasing from -5.2% to -4.5%.

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The program intends to enhance accessibility to various benefits

A new piece of legislation has been introduced by bipartisan US senators, aiming to simplify the process for independent workers, including independent contractors and temporary workers, to receive essential benefits like healthcare and life insurance. The proposed act, known as the “Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act,” intends to enhance accessibility to various benefits, such as retirement savings, workers’ compensation, disability insurance, sick leave, and training. It also includes provisions for allocating $20 million in grants to states, supporting innovative portable benefits programs.

The lawmakers behind the bill, including US Sen. Mark Warner from Virginia, emphasize the need to adapt to the evolving nature of the American workforce. With an increasing number of individuals engaging in part-time, contract, or other non-traditional work arrangements, the current retirement and savings programs are insufficient in meeting the needs of these workers. The proposed legislation seeks to foster experimentation and implementation of portable benefits programs at the state and local levels, acknowledging the realities of the 21st-century workforce.

The bill’s introduction is a collaborative effort, with Sen. Kevin Cramer from North Dakota and Sen. Todd Young from Indiana joining Sen. Warner. The lawmakers stress that independent workers constitute a significant portion of the workforce, yet they often lack access to the benefits commonly provided by employers. They argue that non-traditional workers in North Dakota, and across the nation, deserve the same financial stability and benefits as their counterparts in conventional employment arrangements. The proposed pilot programs would encourage state and local governments to facilitate portable benefits, thereby providing additional financial security for independent contractors.

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Fewer workers are quitting and labor market remains strong

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, seasonally adjusted data released today reveals that job openings in April surpassed those in March, reaching their peak since January. Conversely, separations, including both quits and layoffs, decreased in April compared to March and reached their lowest levels since 2021.

ABC News reported that the unexpected surge in job openings highlights the robustness of the US labor market. Nick Bunker, research director at the Indeed Hiring Lab, stated, “Demand for workers remains strong, and the labor market continues to perform well.”

In April, the US witnessed a total of 10.1 million job openings, reflecting an increase of 358,000 positions from March. However, when compared to the same month last year, there were 1.65 million fewer job openings.

The sectors experiencing growth in job openings were retail trade, healthcare and social assistance, as well as transportation, warehousing, and utilities.

Total separations declined by 4.8% in April compared to March, with a year-over-year decrease of 7.6%. These figures marked the lowest level since May 2021. Separations encompass both voluntary resignations (quits) and layoffs or discharges.

In April, quits amounted to nearly 3.8 million, representing the lowest level since March 2021. This indicated a decrease of 49,000 from the previous month and 704,000 from the previous year.

Meanwhile, layoffs and discharges in April totaled 1.58 million, indicating a decline of 264,000 from March. However, the number of layoffs and discharges increased by 239,000 compared to the previous year.

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Green shoots of recovery offer hope to tech industry

Tech workers have seen maximum salaries climb by as much as 30% since last year, in early signs that the sector is bouncing back from the challenges it has faced since the start of 2022; including major layoffs across high-profile firms such as; Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, Meta, Linkedin, Twitter, Zoom and Salesforce.

Data comes from the latest Salary Guide from Aspire, a recruitment agency specialising in the technology and digital sector. The guide benchmarks salary growth across a range of job roles, based on vacancies registered with Aspire between April 2022 and April 2023.

Increases are as high as 30% for Junior-Mid Quality Assurance (QA) Engineers, whose maximum earnings have jumped from £35,000 to £50,000. At the entry-level, Graduate Data Analysts have also seen their maximum salaries increase by 7% from £28,000 to £30,000.

The tech industry has been hit hard in the last 18 months by the economic downturn, with massive layoffs and hiring freezes. Just one role out of 15 analysed has experienced a salary decrease compared to the previous year. Mid-level User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) designers have seen their maximum earning potential fall by 10%, from £55,000 to £50,000, though Junior Designers have seen salaries increase by 13%.

The minimum earnings for Chief Technical Officers (CTOs) have jumped from £80,000 in 2022 to £150,000, increasing by 87.5%. These workers can expect maximum earnings upwards of this figure.

Head of Engineering roles have seen salaries remain stable, with maximum annual earnings at £120,000. This is also true of many other roles, which have shown resilience despite the challenging circumstances the sector has experienced.

Aspire’s Global Managing Director, Terry Payne, said: “The tech sector has gone through a difficult period over the last 18 months, with widespread redundancies at big-name firms. But steady salary growth across key roles looks like the first green shoots of recovery – a welcome sign for employers and candidates alike.

“Layoffs across the industry mean there are plenty of highly-skilled candidates on the market. Employers with ambitions to grow beyond the struggles of the last year can attract these workers by offering competitive salaries. I’m optimistic this marks a turning point for the sector.”

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The post was deleted following uproar

A Deloitte employee has been dismissed after writing a LinkedIn post in which he praised Adolf Hitler’s “charismatic qualities” and suggested that professionals could learn from him. Neerabh Mehrotra, an Associate Director in Deloitte’s Risk Advisory department, shared a “Friday Inspiration” post in which he referenced a book called “The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler” by historian Laurence Rees. However, Mehrotra misinterpreted the book’s context.

In his post, Mehrotra lauded Hitler’s traits as a “charismatic visionary” and a “massive action taker.” He listed characteristics such as being a magnetic speaker, extremely confident, and highly intellectual. Shockingly, he concluded the post with the phrase “Heil Hitler!” accompanied by a black and white image of Nazi party members performing the Sieg Heil salute in front of Hitler. The post was swiftly deleted following backlash.

Mehrotra later issued an apology, claiming that he had no intention to hurt anyone’s feelings but admitted to the need for greater care in his wording. He emphasised that his views were personal and unrelated to his race, religion, country, or current and past affiliations with organisations.

Deloitte has confirmed that Mehrotra is no longer employed with the company. A spokesperson stated that his social media views were inconsistent with the firm’s shared values and violated internal policies.

While this incident raises questions about appropriate social media conduct, particularly for employees, it should be evident to all that praising Adolf Hitler is wholly inappropriate. Katie Johnston, a Senior Associate at law firm Lewis Silkin, advises caution when using personal social media accounts. She highlights the potential for disciplinary action or even dismissal if an employer deems a post inappropriate or damaging to their reputation. Employers are more likely to succeed in justifying lawful dismissal if the employee’s public account is connected to the employer in some way.

To prevent such issues, Johnston suggests implementing a comprehensive social media policy that clearly outlines acceptable boundaries for staff use, including personal use outside of working hours. A well-defined policy can provide examples of posts that cross the line and indicate that misuse of social media may lead to immediate dismissal for gross misconduct.

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UK companies emphasise ESG practices to attract ethically conscious talent

A cousin of DEI, ESG (that is, environmental and social governance) is top of mind for many job candidates. Beyond compliance, employers can get serious about ethics to attract socially driven talent. But what makes a company ethical?

Researchers at nonprofit Ethisphere created a list of gold-standard companies when it comes to ethics, based on some fundamental criteria: environmental and social impact, governance principles, workplace well-being, legal compliance track record and structured compliance programmes. Leading this year’s list of “world’s most ethical companies” are employers across industries, including Apple, Ecolab, HP Intel, PepsiCo and Workday. Most companies on the list had a chief ethics and/or compliance officer, according to Ethisphere’s report, published Monday.

Likewise, 99% of the gold-standard companies said they brief their board of directors on benchmark progress. Additionally, 93% of companies reported involving their ethics team in pre-acquisition talks. Ethisphere’s researchers framed their data analysis as a guide to “future-proofing” companies — essentially, shielding them from cancel culture. They contrasted honourees against Boohoo and its “modern slavery” allegations in 2020, FTX and its 2022 downfall, and Silicon Valley Bank, which crashed and burned in March.

Additional studies confirm that, parallel to increased consumer interest in a brand’s ethics practices, worker interest in a potential employer’s values is at the fore. PwC reported in 2021 that 83% of consumers surveyed think companies should be honing their ESG best practices; 86% of workers surveyed “prefer to support or work for companies that care about the same issues they do,” researchers said.

HR managers looking to retain and attract millennials, as well as Gen Zers, for their multigenerational workplace should know that ESG is especially important to these groups; a Society for Human Resource Management report from March indicated as much. HR pros can take a number of steps to make a company more ethical, according to Ethisphere and other sources.

For example, HR should work to hold the C-suite accountable for meeting DEI goals, stakeholders said at a summit last week — be that through performance reviews, increased data collection or revamped executive compensation strategy.

Employers also can move to create formal ethics and compliance programmes if they don’t already have one, the Ethisphere report recommended.

“Providing the head of an ethics and compliance programme with some variation of the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer title is becoming a baseline expectation,” Ethisphere Sr. Compliance Counsel Jodie Fredericksen said in the report. Previously, the research firm found that this role was “dual-hatted” with the general counsel role; now, it’s less common, the report said.

And when it comes to shedding light on misconduct, HR can examine how it’s reported (think: a hotline), how it’s investigated and ultimately, how an ethics issue is resolved, according to Ethisphere. The same goes for ethics and compliance trainings, audit best practices and risk assessments, and communication therein.

Finally, Ethisphere continually pointed to transparency in its report. Organisations that lead the pack with ethics and compliance programmes clue in any “overseeing governing authorities” about programmes, on “a routine basis,” Fredericksen said. The goal is to ensure governing bodies understand how the compliance programme is working, beyond reporting and investigations, Fredericksen added.

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The deficit has been widening since 2016

New findings from the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) reveal that casual workers in Australia are facing an increasing disparity compared to their permanently employed counterparts. The research highlights that across all sectors, casual employees earn AUD 11.59 (USD 7.71) less per hour in comparison to their permanent counterparts. While permanent employees earn an average of AUD 40.54 (USD 26.97) per hour, casual workers receive AUD 28.95 (USD 19.26), creating a pay gap of 28.6%. This pay gap has been steadily widening since 2016 and has now reached its highest recorded level.

Further examination of the data within similar skill levels or occupations shows that the pay gap between casual and permanent workers ranges from AUD 3.55 to AUD 3.84 per hour, which is approximately 11%. Interestingly, this discrepancy persists despite casual workers being entitled to an additional loading of up to 25% in compensation.

The ACTU research also reveals that the financial situation of casual workers has deteriorated, with 50% reporting a decline in their financial well-being compared to the previous year. This percentage has increased from the 36% recorded a year ago.

Approximately 2.6 million workers in Australia, equating to nearly one in four, are engaged in casual work arrangements. Among these workers, women make up 55% of the casual workforce. The sectors with the highest rates of casualization include retail, accommodation, food services, health care, and social assistance, which collectively account for 55% of all casual employees.

In response to these findings, the ACTU is urging the government to abandon the changes made to the law during former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s tenure and instead introduce a more sensible definition of casual work as part of the ongoing Industrial Relations reforms.

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