Global Talent Update - September 2017

GlobeEurope, Middle East and Africa

A survey conducted by Reuters found that around 10,000 finance jobs could leave Britain or be created overseas in the next few years if the U.K. is not able to join the European single market, Reuters reported.

Brexit is scheduled to take place in March 2019.

Though finance firms are worried about the negative employment effects of Brexit, U.K. food and drink manufacturers have adopted a more confident stance. A survey by Lloyds Bank found that these manufacturers plan to create almost 100,000 jobs in just five years, The Telegraph reported. In addition, 69 per cent of the companies said that they’re attempting to reach new international customers, compared to 55 per cent last year.

In France, people have taken to the streets to protest President Emmanuel Macron's proposed labour law changes, according to The Connexion.

Philippe Martin, head of the CGT Union, estimated that there were more than 100,000 people protesting, though police figures were lower.

Macron's plans would make hiring and firing easier for employers and also streamline employment rules in general, Reuters reported. The proposal also has longer-term goals to revise the pensions and unemployment benefits systems.

In other employment news, Nokia announced that it would hold off on its plan to let go nearly 600 of its employees in France, Seeking Alpha reported. The company will suspend the plan until Oct. 2, when Junior Economy Minister Benjamin Griveaux meets with officials at the finance ministry. The majority of the cuts would be to administrative and support roles.

The United Arab Emirates and the Philippines recently signed a memorandum of understanding regarding cooperation in the recruitment of Filipino domestic workers in the UAE, Gulf News reported.

"The MoU is a result of many consultations held between the two countries, which began when the UAE Cabinet tasked the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation with overseeing the domestic workers sector in the country," said Saqr Ghobash, UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

More retailers in the UAE are seeking temporary workers as opposed to full-time staff to cut costs, Zawya reported. There is particularly high demand for temp workers at in-store kiosks and for marketing events, especially at high-traffic hypermarkets in Dubai.

Asia-Pacific

Japan reached a population milestone last week when the number of citizens 90 or older surpassed 2 million for the first time, The Japan Times reported, citing data released by the government.

The 90-and-over population was counted at 2.06 million in September. In addition, the government found that there were a record 7.7 million people age 65 or older with jobs, which represents 11.9 per cent of all employed individuals in the country.

Some 39 per cent of these 7.7 million older workers were non-regular employees, such as temporary workers or part-timers, the source noted.

The government is looking to increase the number of foreign workers in Japan, particularly in the anime, design and food industries. It recently announced plans to ease residency requirements for foreign students in the country working in these three sectors, The Japan Times reported. The reduction in requirements is intended to make it easier for foreign students to find employment in Japan after graduation.

In another boost to jobs, the Department of Labor and Employment of the Philippines announced its intention to sign a memorandum of understanding with Japan to create 100,000 jobs in the country for Filipinos, Rappler reported.

"Last week, we talked with the Ministry of Health and Labor and the Ministry of Justice in Japan," said Philippines Undersecretary Bernard Olalia during a recent press conference. "They are opening their markets for our skilled and semi-skilled workers. Apart from care workers, our nurses and caregivers, they will [also] accept the professionals."

jobsDB, a Thai employment site, ranked Thailand third out of six Asian countries for predicted employment growth, according to The Nation.

In its survey, jobsDB found that 43 per cent of employers based in Thailand plan to hire more workers this year.

"Healthcare and manufacturing are the top two industries that need more experts or special workforces to support their business growth," said Noppawan Chulakanista, managing director of jobsDB.

The survey results suggest that Thai employers plan to increase their workforces despite threats from automation. Research shows that Thailand is especially at risk of losing jobs due to automation, according to China Global Television Network.

Thailand has a workforce of 38 million people. However, the "Thailand 4.0" plan announced by the government calls for 50 per cent of the country's manufacturing workforce to be automated within five years.

Americas

The U.S. saw only a minor increase in its unemployment rate, which rose 0.1 per cent between July and August 2017 to reach 4.4 per cent, according to the most recent Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment throughout the nation has remained within the low 4 per cent range for much of the year thus far. Average wages grew by 3 cents to reach $26.39, a downgrade from July 2017's 9-cent growth. While the level of employment creation for August 2017 - 156,000 nonfarm jobs added - undercut economists' estimate of about 200,000 new jobs, gains in previously declining industries such as construction and manufacturing were considered bright spots.

Reuters reported that economic activity in Brazil rose 0.41 per cent in July 2017, ahead of experts' widespread prediction of 0.10 per cent growth. Underwhelming upticks in retail sales prior to July informed these conservative predictions, but Brazil's emergence from recession continues unabated. The nation's central bank also found that the economy had grown more in June than originally reported - 0.55 per cent instead of 0.50. Finally, Barron's noted that Brazil's gross domestic product is likely to continue the upward trajectory that began in 2017's second quarter, when it showed 0.3 per cent year-on-year growth after three years of decline.

The unemployment rate remains a weak spot in Brazil's economy, with Trading Economics - citing data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics - reporting 12.8 per cent unemployment as of July 2017, the latest month for which statistics were available. This does represent an improvement from earlier in 2017, however, when unemployment reached an all-time high of 13.7 per cent.

The Mexican economy showed uneven results during the second and third quarter of 2017, with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development stating that the nation's employment, when measured as a share of the population aged 15-74, remained below its 2007 pre-financial crisis levels. Unemployment, meanwhile, has returned to around 3.6 per cent, which is in keeping with numbers seen before the global financial panic of 2008. Also, the still-unresolved renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement will keep Mexico and all of North America in flux until a conclusion is reached, according to The New York Times. Nevertheless, Financial Times reported that the Bank of Mexico adjusted its 2017 and 2018 growth forecasts to predict a more positive economic direction for the country, due to inflation of the peso finally topping out in August 2017.

According to a separate Reuters report, Roberto Sifon Arevalo, a managing director of Standard & Poor's, recently predicted growth of only 1 per cent throughout Latin America for 2017. Arevalo cited years of instability as the main reason for these difficulties.

"Many countries, especially the big ones in the region, are coming out of high commodity prices that allowed them to do a lot of populism, with a lot of spending and little control," Arevalo told Reuters, referring to nations such as Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil and others that saw populist-left movements rise and fall. "And this has a cost."

However, the outlook is not all negative. The International Labour Organization reported in early September that investment in Latin America by Chinese companies had created almost 2 million jobs between 1990 and 2016, and this trend appears likely to continue.

 

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