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Part consultancy, part thinktank, part social enterprise, Halcyon helps you prepare for and respond to personal, organisational and societal change.

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2015

What's Changing? - Work

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Please see below selected intelligence about work. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at corporates, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers in our external environment.

See also:

 

April 2018

 

March 2018

  • Automation is continuing to move income from workers to owners, according to a new study by the Brookings Institute. "Displacement need not imply a decline in employment, hours, or wages. Rather, it simply requires that the wagebill - that is, the product of hours of work and wages per hour—rises less rapidly than does value-added".

 

January 2018

  • The informal sector – the part of the economy where people work/employ without declaring it to the government –comprises 41 percent of the GDP of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. That’s a massive amount of untaxed income and unregulated working conditions.

 

January 2017

  • Forecasts on the impact of technology on the future of work are deeply polarised, creating fear of the challenges to come and inaction on new opportunities. What do we know about the transformation underway and what short- and long-term innovations hold the greatest potential to navigate these changes?

June 2016 

  • Asking "what’s the future of the workplace?", an MIT professor predicted that new technologies will enable more decentralised decision making and ultimately more freedom in business. 

 

 

May 2016 

 

 April 2016 

 

 

 

March 2016 

  • About 200 million people are unemployed globally, according to BCG. As a result of demographic shifts, there will be a need for 600 million new jobs over the next 15 years to keep current employment rates stable, particularly in Africa and Asia. At the same time, many companies cannot fill positions because applicants lack the right skills, especially in developing countries.

  

 February 2016 

  

 

January 2016 

 

 

 

December 2015

 

 

 

  • A new book, The Refusal of Work, argues that the time has to come to challenge the work-centred nature of society. The author, David Frayne, an academic who looks at consumerism and radical approaches to work, describes the powerful view that jobs are an expression of our creativity and selves. There is for some, a religious devotion to work. He writes: “Gratifying work is a fantasy that we have all been trained to invest in, ever since our teachers and parents asked us what we wanted to ‘be’ when we grew up.” Moreover, he argues that “those activities and relationships that cannot be defended in terms of economic contribution are being devalued and neglected”. How different this is from economist John Maynard Keynes’s prediction in 1930 that in 100 years we would devote most of our week to leisure.

 

  • Real estate billionaire Jeff Greene warned that technology will kill white-collar jobs. He says new forms of technology will only exacerbate the growing gap between the rich and the poor, because, he claims, we have left ourselves unprepared for the inevitable automation of many jobs traditionally done by humans. He said: “What globalisation did to blue collar jobs and the working class economy over the past 30 or 40 years, big data, artificial intelligence and robotics will do to the white collar economy - and at a much, much faster pace.”

 

 

 

November 2015

 

  • The European Commission, together with the European Business Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR Europe), launched the European Pact for Youth, a mutual engagement of business leaders and the EU to improve the chances for young people of getting a job, at the Enterprise 2020 Summit. The Pact is an appeal to all business, social partners, education and training providers and other stakeholders to develop or consolidate partnerships in support of youth employability and inclusion.

 

 

 

 

  • The OECD unemployment rate was stable at 6.7% in September 2015, 1.4 percentage point below the January 2013 peak. Across the OECD area, 40.9m people were unemployed, 8.0m less than in January 2013, but still 6.4m more than in July 2008, immediately before the crisis. The euro area unemployment rate declined by 0.1% to 10.8%, its lowest level since January 2012. Within the euro area, the largest fall was in Spain (down to 21.6%, now having decreased every month for two years). The unemployment rate in September was stable in Japan (at 3.4%) and in the US at 5.1%), while it increased in Canada (to 7.1%). More recent data show that in October 2015, the unemployment rate fell by 0.1% in the US (to 5.0%) and in Canada (to 7.0%).

 

 

October 2015

 

 

  • In One Algorithm to Rule Them All, strategy+business argued that we’ll likely see is unemployment creeping up, downward pressure on the wages of more and more professions, and increasing rewards for the fewer and fewer that can’t yet be automated. Meanwhile, in Will automation replace our jobs?, the professor of management practice at London Business School, discussed the impact of automation trends in the workplace, and in particular how this will affect the work of internal communicators.

 

 

 

 

  • Looking much longer-term, in On the Edge of Automation, in five hundred years from now, claimed venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, fewer than 10 percent of people on the planet will be doing paid work.

 

 

  • KPMG’s recent piece, Bots in the Back Office: The Coming Wave of Digital Labour explored the ‘withering’ BPO industry. KPMG’s report said “The concept of labour arbitrage as the primary value lever of business process outsourcing (BPO) is dying. The geographic discussion is giving way to automation."

 

 

  • The EU28 unemployment rate was 9.5% in August 2015, stable compared to July 2015, and down from 10.1% in August 2014 - details.

 

 

 

September 2015

 

 

 

 

 

August 2015

 

 

 

 

  • As Europe’s post-crisis workers live through huge labour market upheaval, with growing numbers surviving on short-term contracts, the Financial Times analysed what this means for young people, business and the economy. The FT believes that, in Europe, the increase in temporary work is sinister, as it reflects a rise in precariousness rather than autonomy.

 

 

 

 

July 2015

 

 

 

 

  • Unemployment across emerging markets has risen sharply this year, reversing a six-year slide, even as it has continued to fall in developed countries. The figures compound a worsening slowdown in emerging markets, driven by a fall in commodity prices and a pullback in global trade, which threatens to drag consumer spending down.

 

 

 

 

June 2015

 

 

 

 

 

May 2015

 

 

 

 

 

April 2015

 

 

 

 

 

January 2015

 

 

 

 

 

November 2014

 

 

 

  • Tower Watson's The 2014 Global Workforce Study: Driving Engagement Through a Consumer-Like Experience provided a detailed view into the attitudes and concerns of workers globally, with responses from 32,000+ employees across a range of industries in 26 markets. Key findings: (a) just four in 10 employees are highly engaged, so there is room for improvement, (b) regardless of employee age, base pay is the reason most frequently cited by employees for joining or leaving a company and (c) 41% of employees cite job security as a key reason to join a company.

 

 

October 2014

 

 

 

 

  • In The Future of the Workforce - a world of contingencies, Shaping Tomorrow argued that the changes in both the nature and skills required of employees and the dynamics in the global labour market are creating both uncertainty and opportunity. Many labour trends have been stable for long periods of time, yet are now entering a period of greater change. Contingent workforces are on the rise. For example: businesses will face a shrinking workforce and fiercer competition for skilled workers; many service industries may shed much of their workforceto automation and more of the workforce may be located in service sectors and the average output per worker (and thus average productivity in the economy) will rise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2014

 

 

 

 

August 2014

 

 

 

  • The informal sector – the part of the economy where people work/employ without declaring it to the government –comprises 41 percent of the GDP of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. That’s a massive amount of untaxed income and unregulated working conditions.  

 

December 2015

 

 

 

  • A new book, The Refusal of Work, argues that the time has to come to challenge the work-centred nature of society. The author, David Frayne, an academic who looks at consumerism and radical approaches to work, describes the powerful view that jobs are an expression of our creativity and selves. There is for some, a religious devotion to work. He writes: “Gratifying work is a fantasy that we have all been trained to invest in, ever since our teachers and parents asked us what we wanted to ‘be’ when we grew up.” Moreover, he argues that “those activities and relationships that cannot be defended in terms of economic contribution are being devalued and neglected”. How different this is from economist John Maynard Keynes’s prediction in 1930 that in 100 years we would devote most of our week to leisure. 

 

  • Real estate billionaire Jeff Greene warned that technology will kill white-collar jobs. He says new forms of technology will only exacerbate the growing gap between the rich and the poor, because, he claims, we have left ourselves unprepared for the inevitable automation of many jobs traditionally done by humans. He said: “What globalisation did to blue collar jobs and the working class economy over the past 30 or 40 years, big data, artificial intelligence and robotics will do to the white collar economy - and at a much, much faster pace.”

 

 

 

What's Changing? - Cybersecurity

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Please see below selected recent external intelligence about cybersecurity. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at corporates, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.

     

    2018

    March

    • GZERO Media warned that there’s no Geneva Convention for cyberspace at the moment. Without global agreement on the distinction between online behavior that is merely bad and what’s truly unacceptable, it’s difficult to determine proportionality in the cyber realm. Does large scale IP theft, for example, demand the same response as hacks or disruptions of critical infrastructure?  

     

    What's Changing? - Society

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    What would it take to build a more just society? In contemporary debates about justice, identity is frequently front and centre, but the 20th-century American philosopher John Rawls thought that looking past identity was the key to more equality. In his book A Theory of Justice (1971), Rawls argued that if we could build a society from behind a ‘veil of ignorance’ that kept us from knowing anything about our identity, we would make choices resulting in a fairer society than we now have – one in which all would benefit from greater freedom and ‘fair equality of opportunity’.

     

    See also:

    2018

    January 2018

     

    2017

     

    July 2017

    Battling modern slavery - Raconteur
    Buying time promotes happiness - PNAS
    Future Workplace Special Report Published in The Times
    How will you drive talent strategy in the digital age?
    How work changed to make us all passionate quitters | Aeon Essays
    Independent work: Choice, necessity, and the gig economy | McKinsey & Company
    India is a migration superpower. Here's why | World Economic Forum
    Jinfo Blog: Jinfo for knowledge management
    Policymaking must become more empathetic rather than continuing its current overreliance on economic measures - LSE
    Preparing for a new era of work | McKinsey & Company
    Superfluid Labor Markets — Tapping Into Skilled Talent Anywhere and Everywhere - EYQ
    The cost of universal basic income might be lower than you think | World Economic Forum
    The Era of Ownership Is Ending - Futurism
    The World's Broken Workplace | Gallup
    These are the most peaceful countries in the world | World Economic Forum
    This is how a universal basic income can end financial exclusion | World Economic Forum
    Universal basic income could work in Southeast Asia — but only if it goes to women | Responsible Business
    You might not believe it, but the world just got a bit more peaceful | World Economic Forum
    Navigating through new forms of work | Deloitte University Press
    Navigating the future of work | Deloitte University Press
    The changing nature of careers in the 21st century | Deloitte University Press
    Tom Friedman interview: Jobs, learning, and the future of work | Deloitte University Press
    Workforce of the future - The competing forces shaping 2030:PwC

     

    August 2017

     

    Inadequate sleep costs employers $7 billion a year: How to look after your employees' wellbeing - Deloitte
    The cost of universal basic income might be lower than you think | World Economic Forum
    The future of jobs: is decent work for all a pipe dream? | Tim Jackson | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian
    The rise of philanthropic investing - Raconteur

     

    September 2017

     

    'Inspirational' robots to begin replacing teachers within 10 years
    British Social Attitudes: Record number of Brits with no religion
    The 'internet of things' is sending us back to the Middle Ages
    Why economic growth doesn't mean social progress | World Economic Forum

     

    October 2017

     

    Globalisation: what people think - Raconteur

     

    November 2017

     

    Companies That Lead on Societal Impact Reap Financial Benefits - BCG
    IGP's Social Prosperity Network publishes the UK's first report on Universal Basic Services | UCL Institute for Global Prosperity - UCL - London's Global University
    Refugees are not the creators of the crisis. They are the victims | World Economic Forum
    Robots will drive us to rethink how work is distributed - FT
    The 2017 Best for the World Honorees 846 Companies Leading the Way to a Shared and Durable Prosperity for All - BCorp
    The progressive case for immigration - Free exchange
    The rise of inequality: Can it be reversed? | LinkedIn
    To fix income inequality, we need more than UBI—we need Universal Basic Assets — Quartz
    What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages | McKinsey & Company
    Women in the Workplace 2017 | McKinsey & Company

     

    December 2017

     

    10 Trends Shaping Migration - European Commission
    AI isn't just taking away our privacy—it's take away free choice, too — Quartz
    Inequality is a threat to our democracies - FT
    What does your country think about globalization? | World Economic Forum
    What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages: Jobs lost, jobs gained | McKinsey & Company
     

    2016

    October

     

    September

     

    August

     

    July

     

    May-June 

     

    April

     

     

    What Changed? - Sustainability (2013-15 archive)
    blog image
    Halcyon In Business 31 December 2017

    Please see below selected pre-2016 intelligence about sustainability. Please contact Dominic Kelleher with any questions.  

     

    June 2015

     

     

     

    On Leonard Cohen

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    "So come, my friends, be not afraid.
    We are so lightly here.
    It is in love that we are made;
    In love we disappear."

    Happy posthumous birthday, Lenny.

    You tried, in your way, to be free. Thank you. Now go join that great gig in the sky. So I wrote a year ago, when Lenny left us. However, the legend lives on - listen for example to How the Light Gets In.

    'We Love Leonard Cohen' celebrated his 81st Birthday, and then, for his 82nd and final birthday, Leonard gave us a present. "You Want It Darker" is the title track to last album, his 14th studio album in his 49-year recording career. (See also Leonard Cohen Makes it Darker.)

    "Leonard Cohen offers the possibility of living with grace, dignity, and integrity, without submitting to illusions, without succumbing to indifference, and without indulging in denial of our own failures and flaws, in a world that is too often corrupt and malevolent" - Allan Showalter

    What Happened? - Africa

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    Please see below selected pre-2016 intelligence about Africa. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at corporates, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.

     

    2016

    • The “Africa Rising” narrative gained momentum around 2010. As is the way with these things, it arrived about a decade late - and just as things were about to go pear-shaped. Investors, hungry for yield, alighted on the only continent where living standards had not yet visibly begun to converge on those in the west. Their bet was that Africa had turned a corner. Were they wrong? These days, the mood has darkened. Nigeria and South Africa, which account for half of sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product, are at or close to recession. Nigeria has squandered its oil boom. Long-sluggish South Africa has failed to meet the pent-up expectations of its black majority. The hopes of other resource-rich countries — including Angola, Mozambique and Zambia — have faded along with commodity prices. A flawed election in Uganda, plus a cavalcade of leaders clinging grimly on to power, from Zimbabwe to Burundi, undermine the idea that governance is on the mend. Those who helped change the Africa narrative, however, are sticking to the script. Among the true believers is the consultancy McKinsey, whose 2010 “Lions on the Move” report did much to feed the original story. This week it published a follow-up . Call it “Africa Rising: The Sequel”.

     

     

    December 2015