Category: Human Capital

PMQs: Harman Targets Tax Credit Loss
Human CapitalTax

PMQs: Harman Targets Tax Credit Loss

Today’s PMQs became a showdown after Harriet Harman attacked the Prime Minister’s proposals to cut tax credits. The acting Labour leader, first quoting an earlier speech by David Cameron in which he stated ‘There’s…nothing progressive about robbing from our children’, before asking ‘is it not inevitable that cuts in tax credits for working families, unless employers raise their wages immediately, will mean that children are worse off?’.

Cameron responded by accusing Harman of misquoting him, and by indicating that tax credits were no longer viable because of the high proportion of unemployed people, which needed to be rectified by cutting the deficit: ‘First, what I said in that speech about robbing from our children was about the importance of getting our deficit down and not asking them to pay debts that we were not prepared to deal with ourselves. What we need to do is make sure we go on with a plan that is seeing 2.2 million more people in work. Crucially for children, compared with when I became Prime Minister, there are 390,000 fewer children in households where no one works. My programme for tackling poverty is to get more people in work, get them better paid, and cut their taxes.’ Cutting tax credits for families has long been one of Cameron’s strategies for reducing the deficit.

Harman had prepared figures to reinforce her argument, demanding of the Prime Minister ‘a lone parent working part-time: to compensate her for that loss of £1,400, the minimum wage would have to go up overnight by 25%’. Cameron’s response involved reminding Harman that he inherited a bad economy from the previous Labour Government and accusing Harman herself of being opposed to progression: ‘learned Lady seems to want is the current failure of low pay, high taxes and high welfare’. Ultimately Cameron could not provide Harman with details of how families could be compensated for the loss of the child tax credits.

Currently, families on a low income, whether working or not, are entitled to tax credit for any child either under 16 or under 20 but still in some form of education. A basic amount of £545 a year is allowed, with families receiving extra fund for every additional child, and every additional disabled or severely disabled child they care for.

 

 

July Budget: Higher Earners Should Review Pension Tax Relief Perks
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July Budget: Higher Earners Should Review Pension Tax Relief Perks

Britain’s higher earners should urgently consider reviewing their tax relief on pensions, affirms the chief executive of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.

The message from Nigel Green, CEO and founder of deVere Group, comes ahead of Chancellor George Osborne’s post-election additional Budget, scheduled for 8 July.

Mr Green comments: “This bonus Budget, the first of the new parliament, is likely to be used to deliver bad news, as it will allow the longest time for the electorate to forgive the government before the next general election. In order to demonstrate that ‘we’re all in this together’, it is probable that the Chancellor will target higher income earners’ pension tax perks.”

“As such, those who earn £150,000 or more and are subject to the marginal rate of 45 per cent, might want to urgently review their tax relief on pensions. The time to act is now as it is highly probable the pension contribution relief for those on higher incomes will be reduced.”

“For instance, it might be worth considering making a larger one-off contribution before the summer Budget, in order to benefit from the higher tax relief.”

Mr Green continues: “This latest policy would appear to be another hammer blow for those who want to get on in life through hard work and by prudently saving for their future.

“Aspiration and securing ones’ own financial future should be being actively championed by the government, not only because it means that people will be best-placed to have the retirement they wish, but it means that they are less likely to be a burden on the State and this will help ensure the country’s long-term, sustainable economic growth.”

He adds: “The move would be another example of how politicians of all parties seemingly believe that pensions are an easy and convenient target to bolster government coffers as and when they need to. This might explain the growing trend of people moving their UK pensions out of Britain and into HMRC-recognised overseas pension schemes.”

Global Salaries to Continue to Rise in 2015
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Global Salaries to Continue to Rise in 2015

A new survey from Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc, reveals that most employees around the world received pay increases in 2014 and can expect to receive comparable increases in 2015.

According to Aon Hewitt’s 2014 Global Salary Increase Survey of 12,690 employers in 110 countries, employees in Africa are expected to see the highest rate of increase in 2015 at 8.0%, up from 7.4% in 2014. Conversely, workers in North America can expect to see the lowest salary increases at 3.0%, up from 2.9% in 2014.

“This year, improved GDP projections and lower unemployment rates for most countries meant good news for many employees around the world,” said Yanina Koliren, global compensation surveys and solutions leader at Aon Hewitt. “Employers are competing aggressively for talent, particularly in some regions of the world, and they recognize pay is a key factor in attracting and retaining top employees.”

Key Highlights by Region

• Africa – In 2014, employees in Africa received 7.4% salary increases and can expect to see salary increases of 8.0% in 2015. According to Aon Hewitt, the high rate of increases reflects mainly the impact of inflation, the challenge of finding skilled employees in the region, as well as employers looking for ways to attract and retain top talent.

• Asia Pacific – In 2014, salaries for employees in Asia Pacific rose 5.2%. Specifically, in China, annual salary increases are still quite high (7.9%); however compared with previous years, the speed of salary growth is declining. Overall, employees are expected to see salary increases inch up to 5.8% in 2015, as major countries in the region see the better economic performance of 2014 continuing into 2015. Employee turnover also showed a slight uptick, and companies have adjusted their compensation budgets accordingly.

• Europe – Employees across Europe received salary increases of 3.6% this year and can expect to see similar increases (3.7%) in 2015, though the rate of increase varies by country. For example, Russia and Ukraine salary budget increases are expected to be 8.0% to 8.2% in 2015. In stark contrast, budget increases in Greece are expected to be just 1.9%. Despite the fluctuation, salary budgets in almost every country across Europe are forecasted to rise above inflation in 2015, which may reflect the anticipated strength of a European economic recovery next year and the need for organizations in this region to retain talent.

• Latin America – Companies in Latin America took a conservative approach to salary budgeting this year, and that strategy was reflected in workers’ salary increases. Employees in Latin America received average salary increases of 5.5% in 2014 and can expect to see slightly higher salary increases in 2015 (5.9%). Salaries across the region are slightly above inflation rates, with the exception of Argentina and Venezuela, where high inflation remains an issue. Employers also continue to focus on merit increases, as they try to retain and recognize top talent.

• Middle East (Gulf Countries) – Employees in the Middle East received 4.9% salary increases in 2014. In this region, organizations’ salary budgets are typically aligned with increases in gross domestic product (GDP). With GDP expected to grow in 2015, Aon Hewitt anticipates workers will see salary increases follow (5.1% in 2015).

• North America – Workers in the U.S. and Canada received average salary increases of 2.9% in 2014. In 2015, increases are projected to be 3.0%, which is the largest increase since 2008. In this region, most companies continue to reserve the majority of their compensation budgets towards variable pay programs, or performance-based awards that must be re-earned each year. In 2014, companies allocated 12.7% of their payroll funds toward variable pay.

 

Gender Diversity Top Priority for Business Leaders
Human CapitalTax

Gender Diversity Top Priority for Business Leaders

It is a business imperative that even greater strides are taken towards embedding gender diversity in the workplace, according to Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Northern Ireland chair Colin Walsh.

While welcoming the significant progress that the business community has made on the subject over the last two decades, Walsh, speaking at the CBI’s annual lunch in Belfast, said that there are many good reasons for companies to believe that increasing gender diversity in their workforces will be a business boost, as well as being the right thing to do.

In his remarks, Walsh said: “The CBI approaches the subject of gender diversity in the workplace with a clear belief in the needs to sustain and develop the talent pipeline for women.

“Personally, I look forward to the day when from education, to entry into work, through management positions and beyond that we have addressed the remaining issues to make the topic of gender diversity an accepted part of the business culture and that we do not have to talk about it anymore.

“Business needs to once again take ownership of the continuing momentum and progress of the last two decades – something seen very clearly in the number of females in attendance at the Lunch today – and ensure that diversity is and remains a key business issue.”

Turning to the ongoing political challenges in Northern Ireland, the CBI chair said: “In the last twelve months the private sector has created over 16,000 jobs – an encouraging start to our rebalancing of the economy with jobs being created in manufacturing and construction, as well as the services sector.

“The private sector is getting on with it – creating jobs and wealth, investing in their people and innovation, creating new products and services. But we recognise the journey has only begun and much work remains to be done if we are to achieve another of CBI’s objectives: ensuring that growth makes a difference to everyone.”

“This positivity must though be reflected and built on and, for this, it is critical that more cohesive and collegiate approach is taken by the Northern Ireland Executive. There is again a threat of reputational risk as well as ongoing uncertainty.

“It is vital that the Executive Ministers seize the opportunity that the potential of the devolution of corporation tax powers offers, a once in a lifetime opportunity, to make a seismic change that will drive further and higher value inward investment activity and facilitate additional investment by indigenous businesses.”

Commenting, Liz Earle MBE, the founder of the Liz Earle skincare brand and the keynote speaker at the CBI lunch, said: “The diversity agenda is one that I have long championed in my work and it is one that I am delighted to see that the CBI is so supportive of. My message to business today is that when it comes to nurturing and development within your own team, especially female talent that may also have other facets, such as family life or entrepreneurial experience over a formal qualification, don’t judge a book by its cover.

“Having built several highly successful and profitable businesses with predominately female employees I am passionately pro-female when it comes to the workplace. I genuinely believe that the role of more women at the highest levels in our boardrooms will help promote the over-arching objective of the CBI, which is to ensure our businesses can compete and prosper for the benefit of all.”

Tax-free Allowance for Non-UK Residents Could Go
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Tax-free Allowance for Non-UK Residents Could Go

According to the Treasury the UK’s higher allowance, coupled with restrictions in place in other countries, means that the amount of tax paid is not proportionate to their earnings in the country.

Presently the UK Personal Allowance is £10,000 and is planned to increase in April 2015. That will mean an allowance, the level of earnings before tax is deducted, of £10,500.

It means that the Treasury is ultimately missing out on an extra £400m each tax year.

Generous Allowance

The proposals outline how the majority of the EU member countries restrict access to such allowances. The same is true in the US, Canada and Australia.

The proposal document goes on to say that few countries have an allowance as generous as the one in the UK.

It states:

“the current UK rules on the Personal Allowance can, in certain cases, mean that there is little correlation between economic activity in the UK and a tax liability in the UK.”

Home Relief

Proposing that changes are introduced to create a more balanced link between the UK’s economic progress and future tax liabilities, the papers continue:

“the division of taxation between countries will often not reflect the way that the income actually arises in those different countries.”

If introduced, it is thought that around 175,000 non-resident landlords here in the UK could be affected, as well as about 250,000 seasonal workers.

However, the Treasury says that the income generated here could still attract tax relief in the individual’s home country to help offset any losses.

Unfilled Vacancies Costing UK Economy £18bn p.a.
Human CapitalTax

Unfilled Vacancies Costing UK Economy £18bn p.a.

New research reveals the scale and economic impact of unfilled vacancies on the UK economy – representing a staggering annual cost of over £18bn.

The economic potential offered by these positions is indicative of continuing improvements in the UK labour market, with falling unemployment and robust job creation. Despite this renewed confidence, the research suggests that many businesses are finding it a challenge to locate and secure the right employees. Inability to find and recruit the right hire for a role has an impact on both the business itself and the wider economy in two major ways. Failing to effectively resource a business slows both production and profits, while unearned wages reduce consumer spending power and contribution to economic growth.

Findings from the report, released by Indeed, the world’s leading job site and global hiring resource, illustrate the growing importance of building a strategic recruitment function to hire quickly and efficiently, and find the right fit for each role.

Indeed SVP Paul D’Arcy commented, “For today’s job seekers, these are positive conditions, however, at around £18 billion per year, the cost of unfilled roles should serve as a wake-up call to UK businesses developing recruitment strategies in a post-recession environment.”

“Each ‘empty desk’ represents an opportunity both for the individual and the business. For the business, finding and recruiting the right individual means better productivity and profits, while for the individual, earning an income and spending a salary contributes to wide economic growth. In today’s economic environment of lowered unemployment and labour participation, it has never been more important to hire the right fit for each role.”

Other key findings from the report:

● Open roles in the real estate sector have the greatest impact on the UK economy, due to high levels of contributed economic value (the goods and services that could be produced if the position were filled)

● Although less ‘productive’, the sheer volume of openings in the wholesale and retail sector means that vacant positions in this sector represent £195m per month

● Empty desks in the UK’s important professional services sector cost the economy an average of £155m per month

● Unfilled vacancies in the health and social work industry account for £130.9m in lost economic potential

● Unfilled vacancies in the finance and insurance sector account for £129.1m in lost economic potential

● Vacancies in the information and communication sector represent £119.9m of lost economic potential

● The proportion of unfilled vacancies in high value added sectors means that empty desks in the UK are of greater economic significance than in the US, Germany and Australia – representing 1.3% of monthly GDP across the UK economy compared to 0.9% in the US

● For industries which can achieve reductions in the time it takes businesses to fill job openings, there are significant economic gains to be made and greater amounts of economic potential can be unlocked by better matching the right people to the right jobs

● For the wider economy, the efficient matching of potential employees to businesses is key to supporting healthy levels of employment and household incomes, while allowing businesses to reach full productivity

Eurozone Unemployment and Inflation Stuck at Undesirable Levels
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Eurozone Unemployment and Inflation Stuck at Undesirable Levels

The unemployment rate across the Eurozone remained unchanged in May from April’s figure of 11.6%, according to data released by Eurostat. This follows data showing that annual consumer price inflation across the currency bloc stood at 0.5% for the second consecutive month.

The preliminary “flash” estimate of inflation released yesterday morning suggested that the largest upward pressure on prices in June arose from inflation in services (including housing, transport, communication and financial services). Offsetting this were falling food, alcohol and tobacco prices that declined by 0.2% in the year to June. June was the ninth consecutive month that inflation has been below 1.0% – referred to by Mario Draghi as “the danger zone”. While the European Central Bank (ECB) doesn’t expect deflation, it is worried about low inflation, which spurred it into cutting the Bank’s refinancing rate by ten basis points from 0.25% to 0.15% and lowering the deposit rate into negative territory.

However, this rate cut might be too little too late as roughly 18.5 million people were unemployed in May within the currency bloc. The prevalence of joblessness across the Eurozone is diverse, with countries such as Austria and Denmark recording a 4.7% and 5.1% unemployment rate for May, respectively, compared to Spain which suffered with 25.1%. More than one in every two Spaniards younger than 25 are unemployed.

Given that the ECB markedly changed monetary policy last month it is unlikely that any further revisions will be made when the Governing Council of the ECB release their rates decision on Thursday this week. However, further worries over the momentum of the economic recovery are represented by the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the Eurozone, which fell to 51.8 in June. This is the lowest level since November but still above 50, the figure that denotes growth, slowing momentum could spur the ECB into action once again. Cebr believes that further interest rate cuts would have a minimal impact on the Eurozone’s economic outlook. More successful policies should come from the countries within the single currency union, which need to address the underlying problem of a lack of competitiveness.

Summer Staff Parties Can Be Tax Free
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Summer Staff Parties Can Be Tax Free

With the World Cup imminent, many work places will be hosting football-themed parties for their staff this summer. And the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) is reminding employers that these parties can potentially be tax-free this year. Employers can spend up to £150 per member of staff each year without any tax charge, which is guaranteed to kick off any event in style.

This total not only covers food and drink, but also accommodation and transport home if the employer pays for these. Employees can even bring along their spouse or partner and as long as the cost per head is under the limit, there isn’t any income tax or national insurance to pay. On top of this, the employer will also get tax relief on the total costs, even if the party just lasts for 90 minutes.

The rules apply to any annual party or similar function, which must be open to staff generally or to workers at a particular location. The tax-free limit applies for a tax year, so if the employer puts on a summer party and a Christmas dinner, altogether costing less than £150 a head, both will be tax-free for employees – a match winner.

But one penny over this limit and the full amount spent on the party will become liable to income tax and National Insurance for both staff and employer alike. It is taxed as a benefit – which could prove an own goal.

Anita Monteith of the ICAEW Tax Faculty said: “With the late timings of many of the World Cup matches, many businesses will be hosting events for their staff. Having a summer party is a real morale-booster and rewards the hard work that staff put in over the year as well as demonstrating a sense of unity to support England during the World Cup. It is also a good way for businesses to show appreciation for their employees’ contributions and encourages their commitment and ongoing efforts. With no tax charged, it means there are no penalties from HMRC.”

Firms “Must Change Talent Approach”
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Firms “Must Change Talent Approach”

When the book The War for Talent was published in 2001, Apple had just released its first iPod, the world population stood at 6.2 billion people and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was below 10,000 points.

Today, more than 350 million iPods have been sold, global population figures are estimated at more than 7 billion and the Dow Jones recently hit a record high of 16,717. Yet despite these changes, a new survey from KPMG shows that businesses have barely moved when it comes to fighting the war for talent. “In 2001, the focus was on attracting and retaining ‘high potential’ and ‘high performing’ employees. It’s an approach that has become deeply engrained for many companies,” said Robert Bolton, co-leader of KPMG’s Global HR Centre of Excellence.

“In 2014, however, 66% of respondents are telling us it’s much more important for organisations to have a holistic approach to talent management that addresses the needs of all employees as well as those in critical roles; roles that are not defined by hierarchy but by position in the value chain.”

The survey results signify a dramatic shift in HR’s approach to business, brought about by four key factors. KPMG’s research identifies these as:

• a broad-based shortage of skilled workers

• the effects of increased globalisation

• competitive pressures resulting from improving economies, and

• the changing career expectations of younger skilled workers.

“These findings should serve as a wake-up call to HR managers who may still be clinging to outdated approaches to talent management,” said Bolton. “Addressing skill shortages throughout the entire organisation, and not just at the most senior levels, should be a top priority in 2014 and will become critical over the next two years.”

Bolton also found little evidence that the practices outlined in The War for Talent are actually contributing to improved business performance. “An analysis of the 106 original adopters of the ‘war for talent’ approach found that 13 years later, only 25% of those organizations can be categorised as market leaders,” said Bolton. “In addition, a third of those companies have ceased to exist altogether.”

According to Bolton, companies can change the status quo to give themselves an edge in the ongoing war for talent. “One thing many leading companies are doing is putting powerful new data analysis capabilities to work to help gauge their performance and fine-tune their people practices over time,” said Bolton. “There’s a real opportunity for companies to create a differentiated approach for the HR function, one that is a demonstrable driver for the business. Those companies that seize this opportunity stand to benefit, while those who take a narrow approach risk losing far more than simply the war for talent.”

KPMG International gathered input from 335 People & Change consultants from 47 countries as part of the survey, which took place between March and April 2014.

Fall in Level of Wage Deals
Human CapitalTax

Fall in Level of Wage Deals

The level of pay awards across the whole economy has fallen in April 2014, according to the latest findings from pay analysts XpertHR.

In the three months to the end of April 2014, the median basic pay award was worth 2%. This is below the April 2014 RPI inflation figure of 2.5%, but above the CPI rate of 1.8%.

However, behind the headline figure there continues to be a clear difference in the fortunes of employees in the public and private sectors. Public-sector employees continue to be caught by the government’s 1% pay policy. Within the latest batch of data are pay awards for around 1.7 million workers covered by the pay review bodies including those working in the NHS, the Prison Service and the Armed Forces.

Meanwhile, in the private sector the median pay award is worth 2.4%, representing a slight fall on the 2.5% figure recorded in the three months to the end of March 2014. Within the private sector, manufacturing and production firms are setting wage awards at a median 2.5%, compared with 2% awards in the services sector.

The most common pay award in the private sector is a 2% increase (representing just over a quarter of all pay deals recorded), followed by an increase of 2.5% (just over one-fifth of pay deals recorded at this level).

Key findings for pay awards in the three months to the end of April 2014 include:

-The whole economy median pay award stands at 2%.

-The middle half of deals fall between 1.5% and 2.5%.

-Pay awards in the private sector are worth 2.4% at the median. Much of the public sector continues to be covered by the average 1% pay award stipulated by the UK government.

-Manufacturing-and-production employers record a higher median pay award (at 2.5%) than the services sector (2%).

XpertHR Pay and Benefits editor Sheila Attwood said:”Following an encouraging start to the year, the pace of pay bargaining seems to have eased. Pay awards in the private sector remain low, at just 2.4% and there is little to suggest a dramatic increase in settlement levels is in the offing.”

London Tops List of Attractive Cities for Business
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London Tops List of Attractive Cities for Business

London has for the first time posted the highest score among the 30 cities studied by PwC US in the sixth edition of its Cities of Opportunity report.

London, the only city to finish first in three of the 10 indicators—economic clout, city gateway and technology readiness, a category it ties with Seoul—was followed by New York and Singapore. The study shows that top ranked cities embody the energy, opportunity and hope that draw people to city life. High performing cities also find the right balance between social and economic strengths in a world being quickly shaped by inescapable global trends.
Moving up four spots from the last edition, Singapore takes third place overall and finishes first in two indicators—ease of doing business and transportation and infrastructure. Despite not having a top rank in any indicator, New York continues to show strong consistency across most of the categories. Rounding out the top five cities are Toronto and San Francisco.

As for London, the city outperforms New York by a good margin after finishing second in a virtual tie with New York in 2012. Results show London is developing a strong foundation for the future with top economic strength, openness to the world and technology readiness—all critical building blocks for further growth in a digitally and physically connected world. In addition, London finishes a narrow second to Paris in intellectual capital and innovation and comes in second—virtually tying Sydney—in demographics and liveability, both key areas for future urban prosperity.

“Changing demographics, shifts in economic power and the concepts of urbanization being realized are the forces taking the world in a new direction,” said Bob Moritz, PwC’s US Chairman and Senior Partner. “Cities are increasingly competing for talent and are working hard to capture the promise of growth from the many opportunities in today’s rapidly changing world. As a result, people are looking for more potential for personal opportunity while demanding critical elements to increase quality of life. It’s the top ranking cities in this year’s study that are demonstrating the foresight that is needed to adapt, stay competitive and thrive for a sustainable positive future.”

Cities of Opportunity 6 also highlights the increasing competitiveness of emerging cities across several key indicators. Beijing, which ranked 19th, finishes in the top three in both the city gateway and economic clout categories, while Seoul is top in technology readiness and is the only emerging city to reach the top 10 in the ease of doing business indicator. Seoul and Buenos Aires also break into the top three for transportation and infrastructure, while Johannesburg is in the top three for cost.

UK “Needs More Women in IT”
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UK “Needs More Women in IT”

Increasing the number of women working in IT could generate an extra £2.6 billion a year for the UK economy, according to a new Centre for Economics and Business Research report commissioned by Nominet, the internet company best known for running the .uk internet infrastructure.

Women currently make up less than one fifth of the IT workforce. Based on current trends, the IT gender gap is set to widen slightly over the coming years. The report found that if the gender gap reduced and women filled the skills shortage in IT, the net benefit for the UK economy is estimated to be £2.6 billion each year.

The report found that 76% believe they lack suitably skilled staff in IT. Of these, 58% say this negatively affects productivity levels, estimating on average that productivity levels are 33% lower as a result. And 59% agree that their IT team would benefit from having a more gender-balanced workforce, while only 7% disagree. Improved communication skills (52%), improved staff morale (48%), and bringing new ideas to the organisation (46%) were the most frequently cited benefits.

The report found that low female participation in IT education is a key factor in the workforce gender gap. Only a third of ICT A-level students and less than a tenth of Computer Studies A-Level students are female. The imbalance remains at university, with girls accounting for only 19% of students taking computer science degrees. At present, only 9% of female students taking IT degrees go on to an IT career, compared with 26% of men.

The research also found that 53% agree that women find working in technology jobs less attractive than men do. Of these, 60% of believe that the IT profession is still perceived to be male-dominated, and 33% think IT is not promoted enough as a viable career option for girls in school or college.

Nominet’s Director of HR Gill Crowther said: “The digital economy is driving economic growth in the UK. Given the extent of the IT skills shortage, we can’t afford to only recruit from half the talent pool. It’s alarming to think that, if current trends continue, the IT gender gap will get bigger rather than smaller. We need to attract more women into the technology industry at every level and this starts with encouraging girls at school and university to study IT subjects. The new curriculum coming into force in September offers a fantastic opportunity for girls to become engaged with more technical subjects as the study of computing – and coding – becomes compulsory for all schoolchildren.”

Brewery Aims to Hitch up Global Economy
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Brewery Aims to Hitch up Global Economy

Two Tales Brewing, a family-owned brewing company from the Czech Republic that exports beer novelties around the globe, is planning to boost the global economy through a unique charitable marketing campaign.

Targeting the United States—which the company has determined to be the home base of the financial crisis—Two Tales searched for the root of the problem, exploring college dropouts, criminal activity and drug use. Exhaustive research brought the company to the unequivocal conclusion that the common denominator amongst all issues considered is none other than sagging trousers.

Two Tales has therefore pledged that for every six pack sold during the campaign they will donate a belt to an American citizen in need.

“It’s not only a matter of taste, like with our beers,” said Se Padilla, one of Two Tales Brewing’s founders. “This project is of pivotal importance to us. We have the chance to stand up for our beliefs as a company, but we also have the power to work towards the greater good: reviving the global economy.”

The company’s owners are convinced that with Americans’ hands freed from holding up their trousers, they will be free to carry the burden of the economy.

“It’s time for small countries to make history,” explained Jan Martasek, co-founder of Two Tales Brewing. “For the first time ever, a country known for its ice hockey players is now coming to the aid of a nation thirty times its size, with the help of craft beer,” Martasek concludes.

Two Tales Brewing was founded in 2007 by US citizen Se Padilla, professional musician, operator of diverse bars and restaurants and owner of the Prague Beer Museum, and Czech Canadian Jan Martasek, a financial investments manager.

The current Two Tales Brewing product spectrum consists of six different types of craft beers, from lager, ales and flavoured to non-alcoholic, all brewed in Bohemia under the Two Tales brand. The beer specials are available in 0.33 l bottles and kegs. Most exports land in the Nordic countries and in South-east Asia.

Small Businesses Work Together to Achieve Growth Goals
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Small Businesses Work Together to Achieve Growth Goals

More than half of early-stage companies identify sharing resources as vital to SME success, according to a report published by car sharing and car club service Zipcar, in conjunction with StartUp Britain and Ashridge Business School.

Rather than a last resort to cut costs, for the majority of those surveyed, collaboration represents a key element of their business plan, with over a fifth choosing to share office space and 31% sharing their workforce with another company.

“Sharing with other companies enables start-ups to access resources they might not otherwise afford, as well as providing greater flexibility, reducing overheads and improving the bottom line,” said Zipcar UK’s general manager Mark Walker.

“In the UK lots of companies are large processors with huge turnovers, but they are quite inflexible,” said Charles Baughan, owner of Devonshire sausage firm Westaways, who was surveyed for the report. “SMEs like ours can dodge around the big businesses, adding value and being flexible by exchanging skills with others.”

Fashion business owners Sam Brightmore, of small boutique chain Bottega, and Donna Ida, who runs the denim brand of the same name, are another pair who, the report says, have discovered the advantages of co-operation, having initially made contact through Twitter to share appreciation for each other’s’ collections but have since found there to be significant cost savings in joining forces on international buying trips.

Competition Intensifying for Human Capital Management Vendors
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Competition Intensifying for Human Capital Management Vendors

In its first half 2014 Technology Value Matrix for Human Capital Management (HCM), Nucleus Research finds leading vendors are increasingly consolidating core Human Resources (HR), talent management and workforce management (WFM) functions onto a single platform.

It also found that, where mid-market vendors are innovating to develop new functionality from the ground up, larger, established vendors are looking to acquisitions and integration of their existing point solutions to build out their platforms.

There is nothing ‘magic’ about the Nucleus Value Matrix, which categorizes vendors according to usability and functionality. This determines which solutions provide the most value to organizations. While large vendors such as IBM, Oracle and SAP have kept pace with each other by acquiring smaller entrants in traditional and non-traditional labor management since last year, flurries of new investments have helped to establish smaller, mid-market vendors as capable challengers. Ceridian, Infor and Ultimate are competitively positioned to potentially overtake Oracle and SAP as HCM leaders while Cornerstone and Sum Total Systems continue to challenge, gaining ground in the leader quadrant.

“Competition is reaching a fever pitch as vendors shift from point solutions to the end-to-end human capital management platforms customers are demanding. And with the establishment squaring off against some well-financed midmarket players, it’s a battle of acquisition versus new innovation, making HCM one of the most exciting and driven areas in enterprise software,” said Zachary Chertok, analyst at Nucleus Research.

The Nucleus Matrix additionally finds vendors are linking HCM with Big Data analytics and business intelligence (BI) focusing their efforts on providing integrated functionality across the core competencies of HCM while integrating HCM into the bigger picture of operational analytics. Many are integrating their data sets across multiple solution offerings to compile analytics into common dashboards that make data more accessible, and that provide new and adaptive insights and visibility for real-time problem solving. Nucleus has recently seen increased interest in new innovations and new strategies exploring cloud capabilities and social collaboration.

Human Capital Centre of Expertise Launched
Human CapitalTax

Human Capital Centre of Expertise Launched

Pronounced “UKC,” the company helps employers avoid the spiraling costs associated with bad hires. It is the brainchild of founder Danny Kellman, who has witnessed first-hand the detrimental effect that hiring the wrong employee, from front line to leadership level, can have on an organisation.

“The effect of hiring the wrong person can resonate throughout a company,” said Kellman, whose experience encompasses 10 years in a variety of HR functions. “It isn’t solely about the cost of training and time invested in bringing that new employee in. It’s about the impact on team morale, employee engagement, and productivity, too.”

HUCACE offers what it considers to be a “first of its kind” one-stop talent acquisition experience utilising the application of science, technology, and emotional intelligence.

Employers can select which stage of the recruitment process they need assistance with, and choose from a range of comprehensive services including:

– Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

– Job Postings

– Pre-screening questionnaires

– Realistic job preview surveys

– Psychometric assessments

– Job-specific skills tests

– Interview process consultation or creation

– Reference and Background checks

“Our offering is unique as our clients can select a single element, or a bundle of services – whatever meets their specific needs,” Kellman said. “For instance, the psychometric assessments and background checks aim to significantly reduce recruitment costs and dramatically increase ROI by identifying the best candidates for each specific vacancy.”

Kellman is emphatic that candidates, as well as employers, receive the highest quality of service. “We ensure that all applicants are treated with respect and dignity throughout the selection process,” she said.