Barclays Trims Job, Scales Back Ambitions

Barclays bank financial scandalsBarclays has announced that it will downsize its workforce significantly over the next two years. The scandal-ridden bank plans to axe more than 7,000 jobs in its investment division after a series of public scandals and risky investments hit the bank’s reputation and bottom line.

In addition to the 7,000 jobs forecast to be lost in Barclays’ investment division, an additional 12,000 staff will lose their jobs with the bank by 2016. About 10,000 of the jobs Barclays plans to axe are based in the UK. The downsizing is part of a plan from new chief executive Antony Jenkins to “clean up” Barclays’ image.

Former chief executive Bob Diamond left the bank after the Libor scandal – a serious public relations disaster for the bank that was one of several scandals to damage its reputation with investors and retail customers. Critics of Barclays called the growth of its investment units under Diamond a “casino” strategy built on deception.

Jenkins has already encountered obstacles in his effort to bring Barclays back into a position of trust with the public. The bank suffered a PR setback earlier this year as it was revealed that high-level staff were paid over £1.5 billion in bonuses last year while profits at the bank declined rapidly.

In addition to the large-scale job cuts, Barclays is expected to significantly scale back its bonuses this year. In a statement, Antony Jenkins said: “With a smaller investment bank, our expectation is that the number of highly paid people, defined as over £1 million, will come down over time.”

The job cuts will affect an estimated 19,000 people worldwide – a significant size of Barclays’ 140,000-strong workforce. Although the bank hasn’t announced any news about branch closures, Antony Jenkins claimed that it was likely the number of bank staff working at retail branches would fall slightly as a result of the cuts.

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176,000 New American Private Sector Jobs in August

september-06-01United States businesses added 176,000 new jobs to the economy in August, new data from payroll processing company ADP claims. The new data has given many economists optimistic views of the US government’s upcoming jobs report.

The employment report, which will be released this Friday by the United States Labor Department, is expected to show a short-term increase in jobs after many private sector growth signals diminished in recent months.

The ADP report confirms many of the predictions, showing that a large increase in jobs has occurred in the last month. The majority of the new jobs in the report have been added by small and mid-sized businesses, indicating a possible new trend.

Of the 176,000 jobs added during August, over 71,000 were at small companies and local businesses. An estimated 74,000 were at mid-sized businesses. Finally, 32,000 new jobs were created at large companies, bucking previous employment trends.

As with previous employment progress, some sectors fared better than others. The biggest winners were the professional services sector, with 50,000 jobs, and trade, transportation, and utilities, which added 40,000 new jobs to the US economy.

The increase in housing sales across the United States resulted in 4,000 new jobs in the construction industry. Economists and political commentators have noted that a growing real estate market activity could lead to large-scale US job creation.

While the report has resulted in optimistic assessments regarding the government’s upcoming job report, some analysts believe that there could be a major difference in the findings of the reports. A previous Labor Department report estimated that only 161,000 jobs were created during July, compared to 200,000 from the ADP.

ADP has partnered with Moody’s Analytics to provide the reports, which, despite a range of initial accuracy issues, have come closer to matching US Labor Department reports in recent months.

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20-Somethings ‘Act Entitled’ When Searching For New Jobs

august-06-03Forbes’ recent list of ten mistakes committed by 20-something job seekers is a short compendium of things to avoid on your job search. With a large amount of early-20s jobseekers struggling to find work, the list highlights some of the worst behaviour of today’s young professionals in searching for a job.

Topping the ten-point list, in first place, is ‘acting entitled.’ The writer lists a former intern that decided to leave their job early to attend a horse riding lesson, assuming that it would be accepted by his employer. The faux pas is one of many committed by jobseekers in the current ultra-competitive employment market.

Other mistakes made by young jobseekers include starting the process too late after graduating from university. Many jobseekers begin searching for jobs after they’ve finished university instead of searching for internships and opportunities as they attend classes.

A mistake that’s illustrative of different thinking between generations is the lack of utilisation of the alumni network by 20-somethings. Young professionals rarely use their parents’ connections in order to find job opportunities, even though they can be a useful source of new contacts and openings.

Finally, a serious issue that many young jobseekers face is a Facebook page or other social media profile that doesn’t reflect upon their best elements. Many jobseekers fail to take into account that employers can view their social media presence and design it to appeal to their peers instead of potential employers.

For young jobseekers, the solution is fairly simple – eradicate ‘entitled’ behaviour, begin looking for opportunities as early in your education as possible, and clean up your social media presence. As well as this, young jobseekers should show respect for interviewers and ‘gatekeepers,’ as well as respecting generational differences.

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New US Jobs Largely Low-Paying, Often Part-Time

august-05-02Despite positive reports on job growth and optimistic predictions from economists, most of the new jobs in the United States are part-time or low paying. A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that most new jobs are in industries such as retail and hospitality, where average incomes are lower than the national mean.

Economists have been optimistic about long-term job growth, using statistics such as the total number of new jobs to illustrate an expansion of the workforce. But an alarming number of these jobs aren’t full time – many, in fact, are part-time jobs at low-paying workplaces that result in negative effects on measures of employment.

Over 162,000 new jobs were added to the American economy on July – a figure that, despite beating out the predictions of many bearish economists, fell below estimates from many more optimistic analysts. The new jobs were primarily in retail, where a total of 47,000 new jobs were created, and hospitality, with 38,000 new jobs.

What’s far more alarming is that over 60 percent of the new jobs were in temporary positions – often seasonal jobs or part-time positions. Temporary positions make up approximately 22 percent of total United States employment, and the new jobs are overwhelming in this relatively small slice of the national economy.

While the low-income job growth is alarming for the economy as a whole, it’s a good sign for workers with limited education and restricted job prospects. Americans that graduated high school but did not attend college gained 400,000 new jobs in July as four-year degree holders saw over 256,000 full-time positions disappear.

Economists have pointed to a number of reasons for the uneven job growth. Many claim that the new healthcare legislation, which requires businesses to purchase an insurance policy for full-time workers, is leading to more businesses hiring workers only on a part-time basis.

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Amazon.com Aims to Fill 5,000 Full-Time Jobs This Year

august-01-01Online retail giant Amazon.com is planning a massive workforce expansion as over 5,000 new full-time workers join its fulfilment centres. The company, which is one of the online world’s largest retailers, claims that it will also hire 2,000 new people to fill customer service roles in one of the biggest staff expansions in history.

Amazon.com has fared well in recent years as sales of its retail products rise, along with its ultra-successful Kindle e-reader. The company is now one of the largest US retailers, with a North American presence rivalling that of big box retail chains such as Wal-Mart.

With many of its high street rivals out of business – the former book retail leader Borders one such example – and others struggling to achieve their previous sales, Amazon’s expansion couldn’t come at a better time for the company. The new jobs are in the company’s fulfilment centres – one of the industry’s biggest supply chains.

The positions are compensated well, with Amazon paying around 30 percent above market salaries for the retail industry. The company has automated a large amount of its fulfilment centre operations, allowing it to focus on hiring skilled staff to run its large network of warehouses, storage centres, and shipping bases.

Amazon’s hiring practices are focused on developing long-term careers for its new workers, with the company’s Career Choice program providing financial support for employees interested in acquiring skills relevant to their position. The program will pay as much as 95 percent of tuition fees for programs that are helpful to workers.

While other retail firms may be struggling due to reduced consumer spending and a poor economy, Amazon.com is one example of a growing level of employment in the United States. The company’s new fulfilment centre was visited by Barack Obama as part of a job creation tour, who praised Amazon.com for its approach to hiring.

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US Private Employers Welcome 188,000 New Employees in June

july-04-01Good news for the United States’ ailing economy. American businesses added over 188,000 new employees to their payrolls last month, according to payroll company ADP. The good news comes despite concerns from economists that many American companies will face reduced operating budgets this year due to tax increases.

Most of the new jobs were added by small businesses, which made up 84,000 of the over 188,000 new jobs. Mid and large-sized companies added a combined 104,000 jobs to the United States’ employment market, largely in industries such as utilities, transportation, and trade.

The United States construction sector, which has benefited from new infrastructure projects in recent years, added 21,000 jobs. The American manufacturing industry, on the other hand, added only 1,000 new jobs due to reduced spending power from domestic customers and a downturn in international demand in the Eurozone.

Many economists were surprised by the figures released by ADP, which seemingly contradict predictions of economic contraction following $85 billion in budget cuts for government departments. Other issues include a payroll tax increase that took effect at the beginning of March, potentially affecting small businesses.

Despite the job growth, other statistics indicate that the United States’ recovery isn’t going quite as smoothly as many economists have hoped. Government figures show an annual growth rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter of the year – a figure that’s far below the 2.4 percent growth rate that the government had predicted.

Economists believe that the United States economy will improve during the second half of the year as increased real estate activity improves conditions for residential construction companies. Manufacturing activity is also expected to increase as the average American household spending power returns to pre-crisis levels.

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In a recent speech given in Tokyo, the head of the IMF stated that the outlook for the global economy is worse than expected. Christine Lagarde said that the state of affairs around the world is bleak and has extended well beyond the current crisis in the eurozone.

Not only did jobs in the United States not grow as expected, large emerging markets such as China have slowed as well. It had been forecast by the IMF back in April that 2012 would see a growth of 3.5pc whilst 2013 was projected to be at a growth rate of 3.1pc.

Unfortunately, within the past two months many global economies have stalled or deteriorated and as stated, United States and Chinese jobs creation has not met up with expectations. Within the next week or two the IMF is expected to release an assessment of growth which will have been updated to reflect these unexpected slowdowns.

Part of the basis for a reassessment is in the fact that US jobs only grew by 80,000 last month as opposed to the 90,000 which had been projected. Although it was higher than the previous month’s creation of 77,000 jobs, it is much lower than had been anticipated. When large global economies do not produce as projected, this has a dire impact on economies around the world.

Given the fact that this is much lower than the pre-crisis average of monthly growth, it is believed that the US Federal Reserve will implement another stimulus package to try to give the economy there a boost. It appears as though an unexpected rise in jobs earlier in the year gave false hopes and now these new fears are rippling through global economies, especially in the UK and the eurozone.

With Germany standing strong against further help for the troubled EU and confidence down, it appears as though worries for the global economy are well founded. Spain and Italy are the two countries which are currently causing a great deal of concern in the eurozone and France is right there amongst them. Even Germany’s bond yields have turned negative which will probably also be reflected in the IMF’s updated assessment.

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There has been a myriad of opposition over Government’s austerity measures and attempts to restore public confidence are not as effective as had been hoped. The chief exec of Sainsbury’s, Justin King, says that it is an inconsistency in policies that are to blame for a lack of confidence as well as providing a solid foundation on which investors feel comfortable with.

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As recently as two days ago, the BoE was predicting a 0.1% growth in the GDP. However, today a policymaker for the Bank of England is now saying figures ‘could’ show a slight decline in growth. This would place the UK back into a recession, the first double-dip recession since 1975 and it would not be good news for those already suffering from budget cuts imposed by the austerity measures government adheres to.

This could be devastating news for the nation as it finally appeared as though manufacturing was back on track and services were picking up as well. Unfortunately, the growing debt crisis in the eurozone is wreaking havoc not only in the UK but around the globe as well, evidenced by yesterday’s markets.

Although the UK is not part of the single currency, they have been part of the bail out with quantitative easing which means that economic problems on the continent will surely affect Britain. As Holland’s president resigned and Nicolas Sarkozy is probably on the way out, Angela Merkel is continuing her drive for austerity in the EU.

Tomorrow’s data will show if austerity is working in the UK and if it is then Ms Merkel has a valid point. If not, if the UK is plunged into a double-dip recession, this does not bode well for Merkel or Sarkozy who is battling it out in a second round election for his job. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, hope or gloom, but at the moment it is not looking good.

With a turnaround in just 2 days in their predictions, the BoE has everyone waiting with baited breath to see what shape the UK economy is in. It can only be hoped that a recession is avoided as austerity is already crippling many social programmes and killing jobs by the tens of thousands.

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Jobs steadily declining in the UK

Recent figures released by accounting firm KPMG and REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) show that jobs have declined at the fastest rate since November 2009. Jobs are at the lowest rate in more than 2 years, which further indicates that jobs being lost in the public sector are not gaining in the private sector. 

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