Most Important Developments for 4/16

In the popular imagination, the past four decades were wonderful for the owners of capital and miserable for labour. The rich world’s workers endured competition from trade, relentless technological change, more unequal wages and tepid recoveries from recessions. Investors and companies enjoyed expanding global markets, liberalised finance, and low corporate taxes. Even before Covid-19, this caricature of broken labour markets was mistaken. Today, as the economy emerges from the pandemic, a reversal of the primacy of capital over labour beckons — and it will come sooner than you think. It might seem premature to predict a wonderful world of work only a year on from a labour-market catastrophe. But America is showing how rapidly jobs can come back as the virus recedes. In the spring of 2020 the country’s unemployment rate was nearly 15%. Now it is already just 6% after a year containing five of the ten best months for hiring in history. Public perceptions of how easy it is to find a job have already recovered to levels that it took nearly a decade to reach after the global financial crisis. And even in Europe, which is suffering a third wave of infections, the labour market is beating forecasts as economies adapt to virus-containment measures. The Economist

0416 Blog OT1

Professional networking site LinkedIn has added a new feature to its platform that allows users to pick “stay-at-home mom” or “stay-at-home dad” as a job title on their profile. The “stay-at-home” option, which launched last week, is part of LinkedIn’s goal of providing more ways to explain someone’s employment gaps, the company told CBS MoneyWatch on Friday. In the coming weeks, the site plans to add “parental leave,” “family care,” and “sabbatical” options. Bef Ayenew, LinkedIn’s engineering director, said the new titles “allow full-time parents and caretakers to more accurately display their roles … We’ve heard from our members, particularly women and mothers who have temporarily stopped working, that they need more ways to reflect career gaps on their profile due to parenting and other life responsibilities,” Ayenew said. He suggested that the “stay-at-home” option might be particularly helpful for women who have exited the workforce since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Roughly 3 million women have lost jobs since the pandemic began, according to Labor Department data. CBS News

0416 Blog OT2

The last six years have been a long strange trip for CEO Dan Price. Back in 2015, the tech entrepreneur shocked the business world by slashing his own $1.1 million pay package to help fund a minimum “living wage” of $70,000 for all workers at his credit card processing company Gravity Payments. Price’s decision led to him being heavily criticized as a “socialist” on Fox News and Fox Business. But in the years since, Price has been hailed as a success by Harvard Business School and Inc. magazine, which noted the number of employees at Gravity has doubled while the value of payments that the company processes has gone from $3.8 billion a year to $10.2 billion. On Tuesday, Price referenced this success in a viral Twitter thread. “6 years ago today I raised my company’s min wage to $70k. Fox News called me a socialist whose employees would be on bread lines. Since then our revenue tripled, we’re a Harvard Business School case study & our employees had a 10x boom in homes bought. Head count grew 70% Customer base doubled. 70% of employees paid down debt. Homes bought by employees grew 10x. 401(k) contributions grew 155%. Turnover dropped in half. Always invest in people.” HuffPost

0416 Blog OT3

Although employers may be focused on COVID-19-related leave obligations during the coronavirus crisis, they should note that some states and cities have paid-sick-leave laws that extend beyond the pandemic. “Mandatory paid sick leave was an area of law that had rapidly and significantly developed in recent years, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” observed J.T. Holt, an attorney with Reed Smith in Pittsburgh. Christina Janice, an attorney with Barnes & Thornburg in Chicago, said the trend is expected to continue. Paid-sick-leave laws have steadily gained traction across the country, she noted. Compliance can be incredibly difficult for employers with workers in multiple locations. Although employees typically accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 to 40 hours worked, some jurisdictions mandate higher accrual rates or have different rules depending on employer size. Some laws apply to businesses with a specific number of employees in the jurisdiction, and others are triggered based on a company’s total headcount. Furthermore, some states offer additional paid family and medical leave, which may or may not provide job protections. SHRM

0416 Blog OT4

Conservative lawmakers concerned by the growing list of major corporations taking progressive stances on hot-button political issues should expect more of the same for the foreseeable future. So says Lisa Osborne Ross, who next month will become the first Black person to serve as chief executive officer for the U.S. division of Edelman, one of the world’s largest and most influential public relations firms. Just 10 years ago, it was still considered taboo for most companies to risk alienating customers by taking stands on divisive political issues. But Ross said Edelman’s widely referenced consumer research shows that major brands can no longer afford to sit on the fence. “We’re used to staying out because it’s easier,” she told CNN Business during a recent interview. “But the landscape has changed. Your employees and your customers expect you to engage, and not just verbally. They expect you to do something.” CNN Business

0416 Blog OT5

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