Monthly Archives: January 2014

I’m no economist, but…

In London over the New Year, I witnessed first-hand the buzz of the City even in the middle of winter. As with Australia, it’s a country grappling with a flood of people, in this case Eastern Europeans who want to make London home. The open borders of the EU create its own complex challenges of population shifts, but then that’s a high class problem compared to the declining populations of Italy, Spain and some of the Eastern European states.

More people means more food, more housing, more services, more jobs, more… Success begets success in a natural/organic economic model.

So how’s this working for France?

Of the 52 European partners who each pocketed around $10M in bonuses this year as a share of one particularly lucrative private banking business, 48 state they are domiciled in the UK. How can that be when most of them are by birth French nationals and do a fair share of their work in France?

Regardless of what you think of those chunky bonuses, if we look closer it seems to be a case of the French government cutting off its nose to spite its face.

These high net worth individuals previously domiciled in France are instead taking their bonuses as residents of the UK, thereby saving $3M. There they pay 45% tax compared to the French slug of 70%.  So with the tax gap, they can buy more UK property and spend, employ and feed the UK economy.

I’m not sure what the business analogy in all this is, but disincentivising performance is surely defying Human Nature 101. Gerard Depardieu pulled up stumps and moved to Russia. In every way, culture, the economy and daily life is reduced when a society’s high flyers bid adieu.

What’s your Point of View?

Posted in The world @work

Power pops and gung-ho grannies

It cuts both ways: You may already have managed someone old enough to be your grandfather, but sooner or later, according to recent research, you’ll be supervised by a friend of your granddaughter.

A report from Suncorp Superannuation released in late 2013, titled Rise of the Grudge Workforce, found that a quarter of Baby Boomers (some 1.3 million) have insufficient funds to retire and will be forced to work into their eighties just to continue to make ends meet. According to the report, only one in five Baby Boomers have saved enough to retire to this point, and 52% will be working beyond the official retirement age of 65.

Superannuation industry advisor Peter Gebert responds, “If you happen to be over 55 and hoping to be in the 48% at 65 not working, remember there is a Transition to Retirement option that might help you. Make sure you obtain the appropriate advice from your Fund to put this in place.”

Whenever I’ve been to the US in the last 10 years, it’s struck me how many more older workers there are in the US than in Australia. Come to think of it, other than at Bunnings stores around Australia, I rarely see older workers en masse.

So when I fly within the US, shop retail or check in to hotels and restaurants it’s more common to experience more wrinkles than hair serving me.  The wave of the greying workforce in the US was memorable enough for me to recall recently when I read Suncorp’s Rise of the Grudge Workforce paper.

And in light of the silent ageism that still creeps into Australians’ hiring decisions, it’s likely that there will be a seismic shift in the coming decade. The so-called Grudge Workforce is likely to bring quality experience combined with modest salary expectations and a strong will to stay employed, equating to a very attractive hiring option.

I would forecast, based on the US experience and our underfunded ageing population, that we’ll soon experience the same greying workforce in Australia.

What’s your Point of View?

Geoff Slade

(no grudges, still loving work)

Posted in The world @work

Unexpected revelations for organisational success

Here’s our 2014 New Year resolution, compliments of Mrs Jones, the 92 year old internet darling, still smiling and happy to wake up each morning for the simple pleasure of being alive.

At Slade Group, we think The Mrs Jones List is just as true for Organisational Wellbeing as it is for the individual.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

  • Free your heart from hatred
  • Free your mind from worries
  • Live simply
  • Give more
  • Expect less

Can you argue with any of them?

We thought about how they apply to the world @work:

  1. Free your heart from hatred – accomplished teams outstrip toxic organisations.
  2. Free your mind from worries – only sweat the stuff you can control and deliver.
  3. Live simply – don’t blame lack of resources on your lack of success.
  4. Give more – it comes back in bucket loads.
  5. Expect less – and then be pleasantly surprised. Remember consistent 10% – 20% year on year growth delivers a phenomenal compound growth.

Go on, add your tried and trues to the Mrs Jones list.

Posted in The world @work

Crystal balls, lies and damn statistics

We sometimes think we have it hard — working with the variable nature of human beings all day, every day. But I’d rather deal with talent ahead of economic forecasting any day.
What’s your sense of 2014? Here’s a quick snapshot from some of our economic gurus.
Dun & Bradstreet
Employers expect to see a surge in hiring activity in the New Year, with twice as many planning to recruit new staff compared to the December quarter, according to new figures from business analyst Dun & Bradstreet. Some 10% of employers plan to take on new staff in the three months to March, compared to just 4% in the previous quarter, according to the survey of more than 800 businesses.
Westpac Australia
Overall this report emphasises that the Australian economy is likely to require further stimulus in order for growth to lift back towards trend. We believe that the Reserve Bank in forecasting 2.5% (below trend) growth in 2014 is of a similar mind.
Westpac NZ
The economy will grow almost 4% next year, helped along by a strong population gain from surging migration, according to Westpac Bank’s latest predictions.
Macquarie senior economist Brian Redican expects resource export volumes to steadily increase and continue to provide support for economic growth. Mr Redican predicts the trade balance will shift into surplus over the next 12 months, as more mining and resources projects go on line and start producing and exporting.
Reserve Bank of Australia
The jobless rate will increase to 6.25% by Q2 2014.
Expectations for the December quarter are that selling prices, exports and profitability will begin to recover and may therefore lead to an investment pick up in the second half of 2014. At present, there still appears to be excess capacity in many businesses, with 50% of surveyed respondents reporting that they are not operating at a satisfactory level of capacity.
At Slade, we see a flat-lining arrow showing up in our crystal ball. Much as we’d like to be bullish, we hear too many organisations continue to struggle to make profit and that means that confidence and hiring intentions are flat.
What’s your Point of View for 2014?
Posted in The world @work