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Halcyon In Business

What Happened? - Work

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Please see below selected pre-2016 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.

 

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.

 

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 Changed? - Sustainability (2013-15 archive)

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

 

June 2015

 

 

 

What's Happening? - AI: at WEF 2017

As business opportunities for artificial intelligence multiply, how can industry leaders design the principles and technical standards into their products that benefit society as a whole? Dimensions addressed by the panel included: data ecosystems for privacy and security, algorithms for greater social inclusion and institutions to build trust among stakeholders.

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

 

 

 

 

 

What's Happening? - Blockchain
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Halcyon In Business 22 November 2016

What's Happening? - China

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

 

Q3 (July-August-September) 2016 

 

  • The former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund warned that a slowdown in China is the greatest threat to the global economy, claiming that a "hard landing" for one of the main engines of global growth could not be ruled out.
  • However, China’s industrial profits jumped the most in three years. They rose 19.5% from a year ago to 534.8 billion yuan ($80.2 billion), according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The data suggests further stabilisation in manufacturing and a greater ability of companies to pay off debts.
  • Indeed, China’s economy grew by 6.7% in the second quarter, the same as in the previous three months and a healthier pace than many had expected given the country’s stock market crash and depreciation of the yuan. Investment in infrastructure has surged and personal consumption has been strong.
  • Although there is some suggestion that Chinese private sector is losing confidence in economic prospects, China’s producer price index was its least bad in four years. Government data tracking the cost of manufactured goods out the factory gate showed prices declined just 0.8% through the month of August, indicating that the flagging economy might be stabilizing. Consumer price inflation climbed 1.3%, slightly below July’s increase.
  • Yet China’s July economic data provided more evidence of a slowdown. Investment grew at its slowest pace in more than 16 years in the January-July period. Retail sales in July increased 10.2%, versus a forecast 10.5% and down from 10.6% in June. Industrial output for the month rose 6% from a year earlier, slowing from 6.2% in June and missing the forecast of 6.1%.
  • China’s “One Belt, One Road” project aims to make central Asia more connected to the world, yet even before the initiative was formally announced China had helped to redraw the energy map of the region. However, China is not the only investor in central Asian connectivity. Multilateral financial institutions, such as the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank have long been investing in the region’s infrastructure. The Kazakh government has its own $9bn stimulus plan, directing money from its sovereign wealth fund to infrastructure investment. Other countries, including Turkey, the US, and the EU have also made improving Eurasian connectivity a part of their foreign policy. 

 

June 2016

 

 

 

 

 

What Happened? - China

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

 

December 2015

 

 

 

 

 

  • Activity in China's services sector expanded at a slower pace in November as new orders weakened. The Caixin/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 51.2 in November from a three-month high in October of 52.0. A reading above 50 points signifies growth on a monthly basis, while one below that points to a contraction.New business rose at a slower pace of 51.1 - down from 52.9 in October - showing weaker domestic and external demand while employment in services rose only marginally, with the smallest increase in three months.

 

 

 

  • The latest snapshot of manufacturing activity by the Chinese Federation for Logistics and Purchasing showed activity slipping for the fourth month in a row, falling further below the 50 no-change mark to 49.6 in November from 49.8 the previous month. Economists at ANZ Bank said the data could prompt yet another rate cut from China's policymakers.

 

 

 

What's Happening? - India

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

 

May 2016

 

 

 

 

What Happened? - India

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

 

 

December 2015

 

 

 

 

 

What's Happening? - Risk

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

 

Q3 (July-August-September)

September 2016

  • Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer talked with IMF chief Christine Lagarde about managing risk in a complex world.

Managing Risk in a Volatile World - TGF 2016 - September 12 from IEFA on Vimeo.

 

June 2016

 

  • Eurasia Group noted that euroscepticism is increasingly evident in national politics: China has made clear its intention to further promote its semiconductor industry, focusing on overseas acquisitions this year; Germany's government has agreed to prioritise investment in digitisation; Turkey's new cabinet will prioritise near-term growth, weakening the medium- to long-term outlook; Canada's climate change plan, if approved, would put energy-intensive industry under significant pressure; the Korea Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of Korea, are feeling the pinch from weak global demand.

 

See also: