SMEs react to Sajid Javid’s economic vision as the major parties prepare to woo voters

Jenny Tooth, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, and Luke Davis, CEO IW Capital, asses the relationship between Sajid Javid’s vision and SMEs

Speaking in Manchester, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid has announced the fiscal vision for Britain should the Conservatives be elected to be the ruling party at the next General Election. Setting out his three rules for fiscal policy, a clear shift from previous Conservative Party policy regarding rates of borrowing was the headline announcement. Whilst maintaining that fiscal responsibility and spending within their means was imperative to the Conservative’s vision, investment increases are now central to Javid’s plan, increasing the limit of investment spend by the government to 3% of GDP, theoretically creating an extra £20bn per year.

With John McDonnell’s vision to be laid out in Liverpool later today, business leaders have reacted to Sajid Javid’s speech and the implications of the Conservative vision set out for the electorate.

Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, commented:

It seems that both political parties are going to attempt to win over voters in the regions. With Labour and the Conservatives announcing their economic visions in two of the great northern cities, just 20 miles apart, speaks volumes. For too long there have been investment disparities across our country. The independent UK 2070 Commission unveiled earlier this year found that the UK was one of the most imbalanced developed economies. Given that 99.9% of British businesses in the UK are SMEs, more simply has to be done by whoever controls the offices of power in Whitehall to provide greater assistance to regional SMEs. It seems that the Conservatives are putting forward a vision to increase investment opportunities across the nation, but we need to wait and see from the other parties to conclude just how seriously the major political parties value SMEs in the UK.”

Luke Davis – CEO of SME investment provider IW Capital comments:

“Economics are seemingly becoming more and more central to the campaigns of the major parties as they set out their policy for the upcoming election. Economic growth is clearly essential for job creation and future prosperity, but one area that has not so far received very much attention is the SME arena. SMEs employ around 16million people in the UK – half of the private sector workforce – and contribute around £2trillion to the economy. Unlocking the latent potential and ambition in these firms could prove to be a powerful catalyst to wider growth and new jobs. The UK’s greatest industrial asset is our people and their ideas, translating this into tangible growth will require support and continual investment, but cannot be ignored.”

What Are We Doing Wrong When It Comes to Promoting Women?

By Rosalie Harrison

Most of our clients come to Borderless with a genuine desire to build diverse and diversity-capable leadership teams. That is, after all, our expertise. And at the top of their concern? Women in leadership.

What Are We Doing Wrong When It Comes to Promoting Women

With women representing more than 50% of the world’s population and a rapidly growing percentage of the most highly educated portion of the world’s employable talent, this focus is not a surprise. Companies paying attention are increasingly aware that creating a work environment where women leaders can advance, contribute and succeed is a vital competitive business advantage.

Nonetheless, despite often well-intentioned initiatives on women and their careers, many companies still fall short of their goals to promote and retain women in leadership positions and struggle to understand why. As you would imagine, the answer to this question is as varied as both the many women who are offered these opportunities and the environments in which such an offer is made.

Despite the complexities, and the lack of quick-fix answers, there is value in raising awareness around some of the more common issues that we see plaguing the advancement of talented women. In this spirit, we urge you to think about, ponder and explore these issues in the context of your own working environments.

Treat women as individuals

First of all, treat your promotable (female) executives as individuals. We will start with an issue that should be readily apparent but often is not (even to women themselves). Women represent more than 50% of the world’s population. They are not a minority and they are as diverse as people can be. As a result, their reasons for accepting and/or rejecting a promotional opportunity must always be negotiated and assessed individually.

This does not mean that women will not have some shared experiences, especially as it relates to their treatment within a given working environment. Such experiences, however, will not be because they are a homogenous group, but because the work environment may treat them as they are. As such, if you are having problems promoting women, take a hard look at your working environment. The common threads preventing success are more likely to be in your work culture and environment than in the women themselves.

Moreover, do not confuse professional women’s issues as always being synonymous with working parent or caregiver issues. Twenty percent of professional women will not be a parent or caregiver. However, if the woman you are promoting is a parent or caregiver, working moms do share many issues and challenges that need to be considered. But these issues are also quite relevant for all parents. In fact, these issues will be increasingly important to the younger generation of workers, both male and female, as parenting preferences and traditional gender roles continue to erode.

Flexible terms

Secondly, signal a willingness to design terms, conditions and benefits for success. Within the context of any executive promotion negotiation, the terms and conditions should be designed to enable the candidate to succeed in the role. A standard package that has been designed for a traditional candidate may or may not be relevantly configured for your female candidate. For example, for a woman who is a working parent and whose spouse also has an executive position, covering (and paying for) caregiving and/or balancing or reducing travel requirements may be significant threshold issues to address before the candidate will commit to the demands of the new role.

Accordingly, to prevent women from just turning down positions as a result of these non-traditional considerations, it is important for companies to signal their willingness and commitment to have discussions about them in good faith and without future adverse impact. This can be communicated in a variety of ways. For example, at the time the promotion offer is made, you can simply ask the candidate what she would need to be successful in the role and express your willingness to address and explore individual needs that may require adjustments.

You can also word a job description in such a way that invites alternative discussion on terms and conditions. For example, instead of saying “50% travel required,” you could say “Extensive travel may be required, but terms of travel to meet global demands can be explored further.” Women are much less likely to self-disqualify if terms invite such openness to discussion. When invited to do so, we have seen female candidates have excellent alternative ideas for managing effectively.

Finally, when negotiating terms, women should not be unfairly burdened with the fear that they are creating a precedent for all women, unless such precedent considerations would also have been applicable to negotiations with male candidates.

Give them time

Thirdly, give your female candidates more time and support to consider a promotion offer. If a woman is being offered a promotion into an executive team that is (and has been) male dominated and quite traditional, the task before her is daunting. She is not just considering accepting a new job with greater responsibilities, which on its own is a big decision. She is also often assessing her ability to be successful doing so in an environment that is not designed for her, where there is little or no natural/social support, and where there are often unfairly high performance expectations and no room for error.

Constantly proving yourself in such an environment is an exhausting undertaking and can also be quite lonely. (Notably, the same is true for any candidate that will find themselves in a minority situation within the executive team).

Woman may also have non-traditional personal and family obligations to consider. For many, work and family life may currently be in a perfect, but quite fragile, balance with many ‘moving parts’ to consider. In such a circumstance, many women’s first instincts are to refuse such a promotion, especially if their perception of the new role is a misguided assumption that it will be more work being piled on them.

The reality is that executive promotions for women can often move them into a role where they will have much more control over how they work. It is the role just before that promotion that is often the worst in terms of workload and lack of control. This aspect of the promotion is often not fully appreciated or explored.

In such circumstances, it can be extremely helpful to use the services of a third-party consultant during deliberations and negotiations. Women considering promotions often need a safe place to voice their concerns, explore their needs and express their insecurities without undermining their executive voice and closely guarded credibility.

Tailored support

At Borderless, we even recognized this as a need in our normal search and placement process, especially for female or minority hires, where they are placed into an environment where natural and social support may be lacking. In fact, we designed our Borderless100Days program with these challenges in mind, which allows us to provide continuing support for any placement during the first 100Days in a candidate’s new role.

Our BorderlessWIN services (Women in Negotiation) enables us to provide such third-party support on a consulting basis for internal offers and promotion. The services are designed to increase the rate and success of our clients’ internal efforts to promote and support their high performing women into leadership roles. As you might have guessed, such services will need to be customized for each individual circumstance.

Are you enabling women in your organization to achieve their full potential?

Let me know your thoughts at [email protected].

About Borderless

Borderless finds and attracts senior-level executives for multinational companies in the Life Sciences, Chemicals and Converting, and Food Processing sectors. The firm identifies leaders for Board positions, as well as for senior management, finance, human resources, administration, marketing and sales, operations, logistics, R&D and specialist roles. Additionally, Borderless consultants assess the effectiveness of corporate Board, Management and Executive teams, helping companies align organizational design with strategy. http://borderless.net

Note from the editor: see also CFI.co’s coverage on Women, Science and Robots

Banking disruptor seeks innovative developers in Denmark

Visit booth at GOTO Copenhagen 2019
18-20 November 2019

Banking Circle

London, November 2019 – Since launching in 2015 as the first ever non-bank to provide Virtual IBAN accounts, Banking Circle has been delivering ground-breaking FinTech solutions to help increase financial inclusion. As a next-generation provider of mission-critical financial services infrastructure, Banking Circle is continually growing its team and recruiting innovative developers to build market-leading solutions.

Now the multi-award-winning financial utility, which started life in a small Copenhagen office, is seeking new talent to join the team based in Denmark. Michel André, Chief Technology Officer of Banking Circle, commented: “When Banking Circle launched it had just three employees, but has grown at a tremendous pace with the global team now comprising over 200 people, including more than 50 already based in Copenhagen.

“However, to continue developing so rapidly and delivering solutions which offer true value to businesses around the world, we need to grow our team and bring in new talent with diverse experiences and new ideas.

“We are excited to be attending GOTO Copenhagen 2019 later this month and look forward to showing budding and experienced developers how they can be part of improving SME financial inclusion around the world, which in turn boosts economies. Not only is Banking Circle a great place to work, but it is a FinTech pushing for and inspiring change in the global financial industry today.”

As Chief Technology Officer, Michel André heads up the Banking Circle technology team based in Copenhagen. He has more than 20 years’ experience as a financial services developer, designing and redesigning a wide range of existing and new trading and risk management systems to increase scalability and throughput.

To find out more about Banking Circle, visit its booth at GOTO Copenhagen, or www.bankingcircle.com.

About Banking Circle

Banking Circle is a next-generation provider of mission-critical financial services infrastructure leading the rise of a super-correspondent banking network. Banking Circle empowers banks and financial tech businesses to support customers’ trading ambitions – domestic and global – whilst reducing risk and the operational cost of transactions. Banking Circle solutions are increasing financial inclusion by helping thousands of businesses transact across borders in a way that was previously not possible.

In 2013 Saxo Bank formed a new entity, Saxo Payments A/S, with the purpose of using Saxo Bank’s core capabilities within the non-cash payments market. In October 2015 the company launched the Banking Circle – its ground-breaking product for payments and FX to the Financial Tech industry. In October 2017, the company launched its new identity for Banking Circle, to reflect its position as a financial utility servicing Financial Tech businesses and banks. In September 2018, Banking Circle was acquired by EQT VIII and EQT Ventures, in partnership with Banking Circle’s founders.

Domiciled  in the European Union, Banking Circle specialises in providing global banking services including accounts, payments, lending and foreign exchange services to financial institutions, including FinTechs, banks, acquirers, payment service providers, FX brokers, money transfer businesses, e-wallets, and alternative payment providers.

For further information and interviews please contact the Banking Circle Press Office: 

Wendy Harrison – Harrison Sadler

T: 0208 977 9132

E: [email protected]

Inaugural SDGs Impact Summit to Urge Cross-Sector Collaboration Between the Global North and South to Accelerate SDGs Action

15th – 16th November 2019, New Delhi, India

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were first established at the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 by 193 world leaders, with a commitment to ending global poverty, reducing inequalities and tackling climate change by 2030. With only 10 year’s left to achieve the SDGs, a high-level international forum – SDGs Impact Summit – has been conceptualised with a special focus on unlocking the innumerable potential of a collaboration between the Global North and South in accelerating action on the SDGs. Hosted and spearheaded by the Global South, the first edition of the Summit will bring the focus to India, the world’s youngest and second most populous country, and takes place on 15th and 16th of November at Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi.

Inaugural SDGs Impact Summit to Urge Cross-Sector Collaboration Between the Global North and South to Accelerate SDGs Action

Whilst the Global North holds one quarter of the world’s population but controls four-fifths of the world’s income, the Global South inversely bears three quarters of the world’s population with access to only one fifth of the world’s income. As two separate and independent entities, the Global North and Global South houses the resources and capability to solve the world’s most prevalent issues, yet this remains firmly locked and restricted by the lack of interconnectivity and collaboration by the two. By bringing the Global North and Global South together as one force with a common blueprint, the SDGs Impact Summit aims to bridge this economic and resource divide, by connecting borders, unleashing innovation and localising solutions to address complex world issues and explore solutions to achieve the SDGs by 2030 and unlock a truly global alliance for good.

The Summit will convene a cross-sector, cross-continental collaboration between a dynamic and unusual coalition of leaders and changemakers across business, celebrity, polity, academia, NGOs and activists. Together they will inspire on-ground action by encouraging constructive and open dialogue, story-telling and lesson sharing, which will in turn help to galvanise the formation of partnerships from individuals and organisations within the Global North and South, committed to accelerating progress to achieving the SDGs by 2030.

The Summit will include Plenary and Speed Talk Sessions as well as a Hackathon in search of the next generation of disruptors. Audiences within and beyond the Global South will be encouraged to mobilise action to address some of the pressing issues of the decade including climate change, inequality, poverty, hunger, gender equality, education and government accountability, broadly segmented into four thematic areas – People, Prosperity, Planet and Partnerships.

The World We Want is Founded by Natasha Mudhar, an SDGs campaigner and advocate, who was also appointed India Director of Project Everyone, an organisation co-founded by filmmaker Richard Curtis to launch and popularise the SDGs when they were launched in September 2015, to 1.3bn people in India. Speaking ahead of the global announcement for the SDGs Impact Summit, Natasha said: “Currently, the discourse surrounding achieving the SDGs has been predominantly hosted by the West, which has somewhat limited the offering of the Global South. Without support and engagement from the South, the achievement of the SDGs will not be possible.

“We are living in an era by which the resources to ensure the sustainable future of our planet and human race are available. Yet these resources cannot be fully utilised until we explore the true potential of cross-sector collaboration, where the North meets South, East meets West, private sector meets public, business meets government, innovation meets investment and entrepreneur meets activist. The Summit will provide an interactive stage to the international rule breakers, problem solvers, storytellers, thought shapers and renegades with a cause who are committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and will unlock unimaginable possibilities between the Global North and South. The vision behind this Summit is to become the blueprint and facilitator for change as we move into the final decade of delivery from 2020.”

The SDGs Impact Summit will coincide with the launch of key initiatives to inspire advocacy and SDGs action.

The World We Want has conceptualised a 10-year grassroots plan starting in 2020 and begin-ning in India before rolling out to other Global South countries, to support the nation to acceler-ate its progress in achieving its targets by 2030. Agenda 2030 India will focus on cultivating cross-sector collaborations between corporates, celebrities, NGOs, young changemakers, aca-demia and policy officials through the launch of SDGs Hubs. Each Hub will be aligned to specific SDGs, SDGs targets and the government’s national and local agendas. The coalition members will raise awareness of the SDGs targets, leverage their networks to demonstrate action, show-case inspiring stories and mount a disruptive campaign to build a demand for change.

Hello! India Magazine will publish a special issue, Power of Giving on stands in January 2020, marking the countdown to a Decade of Delivery. The special edition issue will be aligned to SDGs and will spotlight the world’s most impactful thought-leaders and changemakers across multiple sectors. The special edition will coincide with the Hello! India Power of Giving Gala Ball & Changemakers Awards.

The World We Want with partners Global Goals World Cup, will organise a special mixed gender celebrity version of the flagship football match for SDG5: Gender Equality in 2020.

“We are not content with a singular event to pedal the success of the goals. The SDGs Impact Summit has been conceptualised to be a clarion call for an ongoing strategic plan of action across the proceeding decade. The SDGs can only be achieved with continuous calls to action, which can be achieved as the Summit takes place on an annual basis. One single sector cannot possibly solve the world’s problems by themselves, but a universe of stakeholders in tandem can”, Natasha added.

To register your interest to partner or to attend, log onto sdgsimpactsummit.com

Join the Conversation!

#SDGsImpactSummit

For more information, please contact:

Sterling Media

Tel: +44 20 7801 0077

Email: [email protected]

About the SDGs Impact Summit

The SDGs Impact Summit is a high-level international forum with a special focus on unlocking the innumerable potential of a collaboration between the Global North and South in accelerating action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Whilst the Global North holds one quarter of the world’s population and controls four-fifths of the world’s income, the Global South inversely bears three quarters of the world’s population and has access to only one fifth of the world’s income. The SDGs Impact Summit has been specifically conceptualised to bridge this economic and resource divide, by unlocking borders, unleashing innovation and localising solutions to address complex world issues and explore solutions to achieve the SDGs by 2030. The multi-sector event will convene a dynamic coalition of sector leaders and changemakers across business, celebrity, polity, academia, NGOs and activists to encourage on-ground action through Plenary and SpeedTalk sessions, Hackathons, SDGs Marketplace and other impactful activities. The annual summit will be an interactive space for coalition building and to galvanise action within and with the Global South to address some of the pressing issues of the decade including climate change, inequality, poverty, hunger, gender equality, education and government accountability, broadly segmented into four thematic areas– People, Prosperity, Planet and Partnerships.

About The World We Want

The World We Want (WWW) is a global impact enterprise working with organisations and individuals to accelerate the progress to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. WWW aims to utilise its global reach and expertise to convene governments, corporations, celebrity and popular culture. government, campaigners, civil society, individuals and not for profits, leveraging ideas, networks and technologies to bring visions to life and create sustainable solutions. The World We Want will be powered by “Accelerator” ventures aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on convening leading organisations, corporations, public figures including celebrities, campaigners and thought leaders around the world to awaken social consciousness and drive meaningful change. Ventures include using expertise to help organisations add real meaning to the lives of stakeholders, identifying and developing the change makers of the future, empowering the world’s citizens through supporting open data policies, harnessing the power of celebrity and pop culture to entertain and inspire audiences and supporting critical impact projects through an ethical investment fund. With an international team, WWW has been co-founded by Teji Singh and Natasha Mudhar, seasoned entrepreneurs with a commitment to doing well, by doing good. They are also the driving force behind the award-winning global business and communications consultancy Sterling Group.

See CFI.co’s SDG Coverage

Employers play a vital role in supporting employees with cancer, says Unum

6 November 2019 Leading employee benefits provider, Unum, hosted an event yesterday (5th November) to highlight how important it is for employers to provide the right support for employees impacted by cancer throughout their journey from diagnosis through treatment to recovery and possible return to work.

Employers play a vital role in supporting employees with cancer, says Unum
Employers play a vital role in supporting employees with cancer, says Unum

Guest speakers included former BBC presenter, and current Classic FM host, Bill Turnbull. Bill talked openly about his ongoing battle with prostate cancer, after being diagnosed in 2017, and how it has affected him both personally and professionally.

It is an accepted fact that now one in two people in the UK will get cancer in their lifetime[1]. In the context of an ageing work force, 125,000 of working age adults are diagnosed with cancer annually[2], meaning that cancer is becoming an issue which will impact most businesses whatever the size.

In 2018 cancer was the top cause of long-term sickness absence claims paid by Unum.

Upon returning to work, Unum’s research found that 28% of workers with cancer, or who have had cancer, said they didn’t receive any support, or the support they did receive fell below their expectations when they were at work following their diagnosis.

84% agreed their loyalty towards employers could have been influenced by the amount of support they received, and 3 out of 4 workers worried about the cost of cancer and how their families would cope with loss of income if they had to give up work.

A panel of corporate wellbeing and cancer care specialists, moderated by Unum’s HR Director Liz Walker, discussed that the key issues affecting employees include dealing with the feeling of fear that comes after a cancer diagnosis; fear of losing their job and fear of not being able to support themselves. Employees can also struggle with the lasting physical effects of cancer treatment after returning to work, including fatigue, as well as lack of confidence from being out of the workplace for a period of time.

The panel also highlighted that what can affect employers and line managers the most is speaking about a cancer diagnosis with an employee. This can be a sensitive and challenging conversation and one which they have not always been trained for, which could mean they struggle to provide the support needed. 

Employers can help by ensuring that the right support is put in place to help the employee throughout their treatment and possible return to work. The panel agreed that one effective way of doing this is to ensure all guidelines and advice relating to cancer are available in one place, easily accessible to both employees and employers.   

Unum is enhancing the cancer support it offers through its Critical Illness cover, including the introduction of Unum’s ‘Cancer Pathway’, which provides consultation assistance to patients, helps with managing symptoms, a medical concierge, and psychological and post-treatment support.

Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants (VRCs) are also available to work closely with employers to put together a plan to help recovering employees return to work when they’re ready to do so.

[email protected], Unum’s new app powered by Square Health, gives employees access to enhanced health support and is available with Unum’s Group Income Protection policies at no additional cost. Four key services are available to employees and their families through [email protected]: a remote GP service, a second opinion, mental health support and physiotherapy. The second opinion service can be particularly important after an initial cancer diagnosis to ensure an employee receives the most effective treatment, tailored to their unique needs. [email protected] provides access to specialist consultants who can offer either a face to face or video consultation.   

After the panel discussion, speakers and attendees networked with the Unum team as well as Unum’s support service providers and partners including reframe (formerly HSC), a UK provider of specialist cancer support, and Maggie’s, a charity that offers free emotional and practical help for people with cancer and their families.

Bill Turnbull says: “It’s been two years since my diagnosis and my life has changed forever. While I’ve had my ups and downs, it’s been the support of those around me who have helped me, and this extends beyond my family and friends to include my employer and colleagues at work. I think being able to go back to work is a huge part of being able to feel normal again. It’s vital that employers understand how important the support they provide to their employees with cancer is in helping them cope and live with this disease”.

Peter O’Donnell, CEO of Unum says: “As we live and work longer, the reality is that more and more of us will face a cancer diagnosis at some point in our working lives. Employers play an important role in supporting employees as they face the financial, emotional and professional obstacles a cancer diagnosis can bring.  Unum’s enhanced critical Illness product and the unique Cancer Pathway provides quick and easy access for employers and employees to cancer support upon diagnosis, through treatment and recovery – whenever it is needed.”


[1] Cancer Research UK, 1 in 2 people in the UK will get cancer. 2015

[2] Macmillan Cancer Research, Macmillan: Work and Cancer, 2017

Media Enquiries: [email protected] 020 7360 7878

About Unum

About Unum

Unum is a leading employee benefits provider offering financial protection through the workplace including: Income Protection, Life insurance, Critical Illness, and Dental cover.

Our Income Protection customers have access to medical and vocational rehabilitation expertise designed to help people stay in work and return to work following illness and injury. Unum LifeWorks, our Employee Assistance Programme, provides help and advice on a range of work/life issues.

Our Critical Illness customers can access our Cancer Support Service, providing personalised support for employees with a cancer diagnosis.

We are committed to workplace wellbeing for both employees and employers. We have a wide range of tools designed to help businesses create or enhance their employee wellbeing strategy, including our Mental Health Pathway and Wellbeing Calendar.

At the end of 2018, Unum protected 1.4 million people in the UK and paid claims of £314 million – representing in excess of £6 million a week in benefits to our customers – providing security and peace of mind to individuals and their families. 

Our parent company, Unum Group, is a provider of employee benefits products and services in the United States, including group and individual disability insurance. Premium income for Unum Group and its subsidiaries totalled $9.0bn in the year ended 31 December 2018, with reported revenues for the group totalling $11.6bn and total assets of $61.9bn.

A.M Best has given all rated Unum Group companies an Excellent rating for Financial Strength, with a stable outlook.

For more information please visit www.unum.co.uk.

Unum Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Unum Dental is a trading name of Unum Limited. Registered in England 983768.

Unum is a leading employee benefits provider offering financial protection through the workplace including: Income Protection, Life insurance, Critical Illness, and Dental cover.

Our Income Protection customers have access to medical and vocational rehabilitation expertise designed to help people stay in work and return to work following illness and injury. Unum LifeWorks, our Employee Assistance Programme, provides help and advice on a range of work/life issues.

Our Critical Illness customers can access our Cancer Support Service, providing personalised support for employees with a cancer diagnosis.

We are committed to workplace wellbeing for both employees and employers. We have a wide range of tools designed to help businesses create or enhance their employee wellbeing strategy, including our Mental Health Pathway and Wellbeing Calendar.

At the end of 2018, Unum protected 1.4 million people in the UK and paid claims of £314 million – representing in excess of £6 million a week in benefits to our customers – providing security and peace of mind to individuals and their families. 

Our parent company, Unum Group, is a provider of employee benefits products and services in the United States, including group and individual disability insurance. Premium income for Unum Group and its subsidiaries totalled $9.0bn in the year ended 31 December 2018, with reported revenues for the group totalling $11.6bn and total assets of $61.9bn.

A.M Best has given all rated Unum Group companies an Excellent rating for Financial Strength, with a stable outlook.

For more information please visit www.unum.co.uk.

Unum Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Unum Dental is a trading name of Unum Limited. Registered in England 983768.

Buy-Now-Pay-Later Schemes Encourage Half of Workers to Spend Money They Don’t Have

The schemes have risen in popularity over recent years with those earning over £100k worse affected, new research finds

London, 6th November 2019 – Buy now pay later schemes are luring people into living beyond their means according to a recent survey by Hastee. Half of respondents said buy now pay later options encourage them to spend money they don’t have and this rises to 59% for millennial respondents (those aged 18-35).

Buy now pay later schemes have become a popular interest bearing option where retailers allow consumers to delay payments on their purchases for a specified period. More than a quarter of respondents (27%) said they have experienced difficulties after using buy now pay later schemes. The same percentage of respondents said they have experienced problems after using payday loans which have come under increased scrutiny in recent years, resulting in the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) stepping in to apply limits on daily borrowing.

Millennials are the worst-hit age group when it comes to experiencing difficulties after using buy now pay later schemes – over a third (36%) said this has been the case. Financial stress has impacted their social lives (50%), relationships (40%), health (39%) and work (38%).

The survey revealed that workers across all salary bands agree that the schemes encourage them to spend money they don’t have. The figure tends to rise in the higher salary bands, highlighting that this issue is not exclusive to lower paid workers:

  • Up to £20k salary: 45%
  • £20-30k salary: 49%
  • £30-40k salary: 52%
  • £40-50k salary: 43%
  • £50-27k salary: 50%
  • £75-100k salary: 59%
  • Over £100k salary: 77%

“Buy now pay later schemes might seem an attractive option for consumers but they’re proving to be as problematic as more traditional forms of credit,” says Hastee

CEO James Herbert. “While they seem like a good short term solution, they can cause consumers issues in the longer term. Missed payments can impact credit scores, cause longer term debt problems and could create an unhealthy reliance on credit cards and overdrafts as users struggle with repayments.

Our advice for anyone tempted by one of these schemes is to make sure you’ve weighed up the affordability of the purchase and explored all options before making any commitments. If you can’t afford the repayments, consider whether you really need the item or work out another way of paying for it that won’t cause you long term financial difficulty. There are plenty of digital money management tools that work together to help people live comfortably and within their means, such as challenger banks, earnings on demand solutions and budgeting apps.”

About Hastee

Hastee is an award-winning employee benefit which empowers employees to receive their earned pay immediately via our mobile app, increasing their choice and financial wellbeing. Workers can choose to receive up to 50% of their gross pay for the work they have completed; it is income smoothing of their earned pay, not a loan. Companies may choose to restrict the availability for their staff to below 50% should they wish/need. We do not charge interest, just a low and simple fee (subscription and on-demand options).

Companies profit from the improved recruitment, retention, engagement and productivity of their workforce. This is at no cost to the employer (unless they wish to contribute as a paid benefit) and has no impact to company cash flow (we fund the advances, with the company reimbursing us when they pay their staff as normal). Giving access to earned pay only, Hastee is a meaningful benefit that can be made available to all staff, including salaried, temporary, variable and gig workers.

Additionally, we have now launched an employee financial education programme in the form of a series of emails over a period of 7 weeks. Companies can choose to include as many of their staff as they wish in this programme at no cost, or leave to only those who register with our app. Related to this, we have content available on the Financial Education Hub on our website and, obviously, within the app.

AI Reveals Misrepresentation of Engineers Online

Royal Academy of Engineering and leading consumer brands join forces to change the face of engineering, after AI reveals misrepresentation of the profession online

  • Major brands, leading businesses and high-profile engineers have come together in a bid to change the online image search results for the word ‘engineer’
  • Over 100 organisations and counting1 including the BBC, Facebook, ITV, Transport for London, Ocado, Rolls-Royce and National Grid have signed a pledge to address the misrepresentation of engineers and engineering online and in popular culture
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering employed an Artificial Intelligence algorithm trained on online image search results for ‘engineer’ to generate artificial images of what it learned a typical engineer looked like – the majority of images generated were of a white man wearing a hard hat
  • 6 November is This is Engineering Day – a national awareness day in Tomorrow’s Engineers Week to celebrate the unsung contribution that engineers make to our lives, and to call upon media, image providers, recruiters and advertisers to paint a more representative picture of the profession and those who work in it
  • Amazon’s Alexa2 will answer questions about engineering and This is Engineering Day

Major brands, leading businesses and high-profile engineers have come together in a bid to change the online image search results for the word ‘engineer’, as an AI programme trained on the results of an online search for images of engineers found that it vastly misrepresents the profession.

The announcement comes on This is Engineering Day, part of a nationwide campaign led by the Royal Academy of Engineering – and supported by a range of brands and engineering companies – to change the misrepresentation of engineering online, celebrate the contribution of engineers, and encourage more young people to consider a career in the profession.

To test the representation of the profession online, an AI machine learning model, otherwise known as a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN), analysed over 1,100 images of engineers sourced online,3 and generated images based on this given dataset. The images generated by the GAN showed how narrowly an engineer is typically portrayed online: the majority of the generated images were of a white male wearing a hard hat. An online search, conducted by the Royal Academy of Engineering on 21 October 2019, found that 63% of images on the first page of the search results were of a person in a hard hat4, despite the fact that only a small minority of professional engineers wear hard hats most of the time.

The Royal Academy of Engineering has created This Is Engineering Day, which takes place in Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, to radically change this narrow stereotype, and celebrate the varied and vital roles that engineers play, from developing medical technologies like brain scanners and clean energy solutions, to powering the social media platforms and smartphones we rely on to keep in touch every day.  

Over 100 brands across the UK that depend on engineering – including the BBC, Facebook, ITV, Transport for London, Ocado, Rolls-Royce and National Grid – have signed a pledge5 to increase the public visibility of more representative images of engineers and engineering, and helped create a new library of free to use images of engineers that better represent what engineers and engineering really look like (www.flickr.com/thisisengineering/)6. This has been developed to encourage website owners and image users to deploy a more diverse range of images when showcasing engineers and the industries in which they work.

The campaign’s partners and supporters will also be challenging this misrepresentation on social media and through a range of different activities and events on This is Engineering Day including:

  • Amazon Alexa2 will answer questions about ‘This is Engineering Day’ and the role of engineers, and Amazon will run engineering-focused tours and STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) workshops in its fulfilment centres on 6th November
  • Network Rail showcasing real images of engineers on 60 screens across 15 stations in the UK, and across the Virgin train network
  • Facebook and Ocado creating and promoting new engineering video content featuring its engineers
  • Google hosting an engineering takeover at its Portsmouth Digital Garage on 6 November

Many of the emerging and in-demand jobs identified by the World Economic Forum7 are engineering jobs, yet every year the UK is short of up to 59,000 engineers, while only 12% of the engineering workforce in the UK are female, and 9% are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Research from EngineeringUK8 shows that more needs to be done to raise awareness of engineering careers and encourage young people to consider the profession. Over three quarters (76%) of young people aged 11-19 and 73% of parents do not know a lot about what those working in engineering do.

Dr Hayaatun Sillem, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, says:

Engineers play a profoundly important role in shaping the world around us – from designing our cities and transport systems, to delivering clean energy solutions, enhancing cybersecurity and advancing healthcare – but that’s simply not reflected in online image searches. 

That’s why on This is Engineering Day I’m appealing to anyone who uses or promotes images of engineers to join us in challenging outdated and narrow stereotypes of engineering. We want to ensure that engineers are portrayed in a much more representative way, and that we help young people see the fantastic variety of opportunities on offer.  

Engineering is everywhere, and This Is Engineering Day gives us an opportunity to shine a light on the people who make possible so many features of modern life that we take for granted.  I hope that by inviting the public to discover a different side to engineering, we will be able to inspire more people from all parts of society to choose a profession that shapes our world.”

The This is Engineering free public image library is available now at www.flickr.com/thisisengineering/ for media, photo, advertising agencies and the general public to view and use in projects, articles, campaigns and on social media. The library and This is Engineering Day are part of the This is Engineering campaign, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering to give more young people, from all backgrounds, the opportunity to take up engineering careers. More information on the campaign can be found at www.ThisisEngineering.org.uk, @ThisisEng on Twitter and @ThisisEngineering on Instagram.

1 – Brands involved in the campaign include Google, Amazon, Facebook, Ocado, Ferrari, Anglian Water, Heathrow, Network Rail, TfL, Virgin Media, BBC, ITV, EDF Energy, Science Museum Group, as well as the list of corporate partners below, as well as professional engineering institutions and many UK universities.

2 – Amazon’s Alexa, will answer the below engineering and This is Engineering Day questions:

  • ‘Alexa, Tell me about This is Engineering Day?’  
  • ‘Alexa, How can I get involved with This is Engineering Day?’ 
  • ‘Alexa, When is This is Engineering Day?’
  • ‘Alexa, What does an engineer look like?’
  • ‘Alexa, Tell me a fact about engineering’
  • ‘Alexa, What is This Is Engineering?’ 

3 – The Generative Adversarial Network was trained by Stylianos Moschoglou, a PhD student in Machine Learning at Imperial College London and Machine Learning Scientist at Facesoft.io. Due to the GAN image being too low res and pixilated for print purposes, a digital artist has retouched the image, without changing the likeness.

4 – Researchers at the Royal Academy of Engineering analysed the search engine image results for “engineer” to assess what is being shown as representative images of engineers and engineering. The assessment took place on 21st October 2019 using Chrome extension “Fatkun” to search for the term ‘engineer’ on Google. Accepting that statistically the vast majority (as much as 95%) of online visitors rarely search beyond the first page in Google searches, only the first results page of 452 images was assessed. The results were downloaded to a library and counted manually.  The results revealed most images (63%) featured hard hats. 

5 – Please click here to see the pledge – https://bit.ly/2JBv1bj  

6 – The new public photo library, which has been contributed to by some of the biggest brands in the world, will be sent to stock image providers, website owners, media, advertisers, and recruiters to encourage them to use these real images of engineers to help increase visibility around the profession – www.flickr.com/thisisengineering/

7 – The Future of Jobs Report 2018, World Economic Forum http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs_2018.pdf. Please see notes to eds for more information.

8 – Research carried out by EngineeringUK. Data from the 2019 Engineering Brand Monitor captured in Jan – Feb 2019, based on a sample of 2,514 pupils aged 7-19, 1,023 educators, and 1,810 members of the public

About This is Engineering

About This is Engineering

This is Engineering is a campaign to raise awareness of the breadth of careers in engineering and help address the significant engineering skills and diversity shortfall that is holding back growth and productivity across the UK economy. The campaign aims to give more young people, from the broadest possible backgrounds, the opportunity to take up an exciting, engaging, rewarding and in demand career.

This is Engineering is led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, in collaboration with EngineeringUK. The campaign has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering and our corporate partners. More information about the campaign is available at www.thisisengineering.org.uk and @ThisIsEng on Twitter

Strategic partner

EngineeringUK

Founding Principal partners

BAE Systems

National Grid

Principal partners

Anglo American

BP

Centrica

Rolls-Royce

Shell UK

Siemens

Major partners

BT

Facebook

Sponsors

MBDA

Mott MacDonald

Petrofac

Teledyne e2v

WSP

Principal university partners

University of Leeds

University of Oxford

Major university partners

Anglia Ruskin University

Aston University

Heriot-Watt University

Imperial College London

University partners

Cranfield University

University of Exeter

University of Southampton

University of Glasgow

About the Royal Academy of Engineering

As the UK’s national academy for engineering and technology, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers from academia and business – our Fellows – to advance and promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of society.

We harness their experience and expertise to provide independent advice to government, to deliver programmes that help exceptional engineering researchers and innovators realise their potential, to engage the public with engineering and to provide leadership for the profession.

We have three strategic priorities:

  • Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation and businesses
  • Address the engineering skills and diversity challenge
  • Position engineering at the heart of society

We bring together engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics, educators and the public in pursuit of these goals.

Engineering is a global profession, so we work with partners across the world to advance engineering’s contribution to society on an international, as well as a national scale.

About EngineeringUK 

EngineeringUK is a not-for-profit organisation, which works in partnership with the engineering community to inspire tomorrow’s engineers and increase the talent pipeline into engineering. EngineeringUK leads engagement programmes The Big Bang and Tomorrow’s Engineers, creates inspiring engineering careers resources and produces a body of research including the flagship State of Engineering report.

About Tomorrow’s Engineers Week

Tomorrow’s Engineers Week (#TEWeek19) takes place from 4-8 November 2019 and aims to change perceptions of engineering among young people, their parents and teachers and to inspire future engineers. Tomorrow’s Engineers Week is led by EngineeringUK, a not-for-profit organisation which works with the engineering community – employers and professional institutions – to inspire tomorrow’s engineers. To find out how to get involved, visit www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk/teweek

This is Engineering is a campaign to raise awareness of the breadth of careers in engineering and help address the significant engineering skills and diversity shortfall that is holding back growth and productivity across the UK economy. The campaign aims to give more young people, from the broadest possible backgrounds, the opportunity to take up an exciting, engaging, rewarding and in demand career.

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SME investment is the elephant in the general election war-rooms

Political uncertainty has caused a reduction of business investment in the UK by 11%

Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, calls for an end to “deafening silence” of politicians regarding SME investment

Now that the majority of the party leaders have launched their general election campaigns, there will now be five weeks of battling to decide which prospective vision for Britain captures the imagination of British voters best. However, the elephant in the room still remains the sustainability of the British economy post-Brexit, and how to reinvigorate investment that has dried up throughout the three and half years of political limbo and chaos.

Uncertainty in the British economy due to an inability to find a Brexit resolution has seen business investment into the UK cut by 11 percent, or the equivalent of £20bn. Just last month, the Office for National Statistics announced that labour productivity in the second quarter of 2019 fell by half a percent, the worst performance since 2014. Now, with an election looming and no guarantee that a majority will be secured, British businesses have been thrown further into the lurch regarding investment opportunities for growth.

Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, has called on leading ministers at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to speak up for SMEs to provide much needed confidence and stability.

“The silence from the ministers at the Department for (BEIS) has been deafening. Just a month ago we had a proposed Withdrawal Agreement that at the very least, gave businesses an idea of what the future looked liked, and how they needed to plan ahead. Now, we are in an election cycle, and we are back to square one.

There are 5.9 million SMEs in the UK. In other words, 99.9% of the businesses in the UK are SMEs. How can an economy be galvanised and strengthen if its very lifeblood is left in the precarious position of not knowing what is on the horizon. 60% of the British workforce works within an SME, with SMEs accounting for 52% of all turnover in the British economy. I find it quite remarkable that nothing is being said in defence of SMEs and their importance to the British economy.

I call on Andrea Leadsom at the Department for BEIS to speak up for small businesses on the election trail, and shadow secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey along with the other parties spokespeople to provide a clear vision as to how they will guarantee the longevity of SMEs in the UK to ensure that their dynamic input to the British economy will be maintained.”

Bilateral ties to play key role in meeting India’s $5t economy target: Al Saleh at UAE-India Economic Forum 2019

UAE-India Economic Forum 2019 wraps up the 5th edition gracefully.

Dubai, 5th November, 2019: The 5th Edition of UAE India Economic Forum observed a grand opening at Waldorf Astoria, Dubai International Financial Centre on Monday, 4th November with the participation of High Dignitaries and Officials, leading experts and leaders from the two nations.

India’s partnership with the UAE is set to play a key role in its march towards the ambitious goal of becoming a $5-trillion economy by 2022, Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary for Foreign Trade and Industry, Ministry of Economy, said on Monday.

Addressing the opening session of the UAE-India Economic Forum organized by BusinessLive Middle East, Al Saleh said the strong bilateral ties are the result of :the political will articulated by both governments,” and their sustained efforts to work together for the mutual benefit.

Al Saleh said the recent meeting of the UAE-India High Level Joint Task Force on Investments, which is a platform to communicate mutual requirements and vision for the future, has played a key role in boosting bilateral investments and cooperation.

“With Expo 2020 around the corner, we will witness India’s commitment with one of the largest pavilions, which is a testament to the value the country puts to promoting bilateral economic relations,” he said.

Al Saleh said the UAE is the largest Arab investor country in India, accounting for 81.2 per cent of total Arab investments. The UAE investments into India’s $2.8 trillion economy are estimated to be around $10 billion including foreign direct investment of almost $5 billion.

“The UAE hosts the largest Indian community overseas and their annual remittances are estimated to be more than $17 billion, which is 38 per cent of the total outflow,” he said.

“As both countries remain keen as ever to strengthen the trade dialogue, recently, an ambitious project – the India -UAE food corridor – was launched with the plan to benefit two million farmers and create an additional 200,000 jobs across India, due to cumulative investments of more than $7 billion by the UAE in the next three years,” said Al Saleh.

Among the dignitaries present at the day-longs sessions were Vipul, Consul General of India in Dubai; Fahad Al Gergawi; Chief Executive Officer; Dubai FDI; and Jamal Al Jarwan; Secretary-General; UAE International Investors Council; and Ali Ibrahim; Deputy Director-General; Dubai Economic Development, according to Poonam Chawla, Associate Publisher, BusinessLive Middle East.

Poonam Chawla said the UAE-India Economic Forum 2019 was a great success as it highlighted the areas of cooperation between the UAE and India. “It helped to throw light on how this historic bilateral relationship has been elevated to a strategic partnership while creating new opportunities in various fields like IT, trade, food, smart cities, banking and fin-techs, renewable energy and startups,” Poonam said.

According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the FDI to the UAE rose by eight per cent to $10.4 billion in part due to rising cross-border mergers and acquisitions sales, making the country the largest source of FDI in 2017 for the Arab region (at 36 per cent of total FDI inflow). India is UAE’s second-largest trade partner today and the UAE has become India’s third-largest trading partner, with the total non-oil trade between the two countries recorded at $35.9 billion in 2018.

A special mention to the UAE-India Economic Forum 2019 sponsors “Ajman Free Zone” and “Galadari Advocates and Legal Consultants”. In the 5th Edition of the UIEF delegates brainstormed on new opportunities for partnerships with sessions on infrastructure, banking and finance, fin-tech, healthcare, food corridors, smart cities and start-ups. The UAE-India Economic Forum also felicitated government and industry leaders, who have worked towards nurturing ties between the two nations, with the Qadat Al Tagheer Awards.

Volvo receives Europe’s largest order for electric buses

Volvo Buses has received the largest single order for electric buses in Europe. Volvo Buses will deliver 157 electric articulated buses to Transdev starting in 2020. The buses will operate on a number of routes in Gothenburg. With their introduction, emissions and noise will be significantly reduced, and the electric buses will be able to operate in sensitive areas or zones with special restrictions. 

“It is immensely gratifying that we have secured Europe’s largest ever single order for electric buses – no less than 157 buses. Volvo is a pioneer in electromobility and sustainable public transport. We have a holistic system perspective for cities that encompasses vehicles, services and charging infrastructure. We focus on solutions that offer high reliability and high service levels for route operators and passengers. This large order confirms that electric buses are already recognised as a sustainable and financially viable solution for demanding high-capacity public transport needs,” says Håkan Agnevall, President of Volvo Buses

“Transdev is today Europe’s leading operator of electric buses and we know what challenges there are with the transition to electric propulsion. We’ve therefore been extremely thorough in choosing a partner with a holistic approach, a partner that will be able to deliver both buses and charging infrastructure on time and with excellent uptime. Being able to announce that we have chosen Volvo as our partner for city bus operations in Volvo’s home city of Gothenburg is of course particularly satisfying,” says Gunnar Schön, CEO of Transdev Sweden

All of the buses will be of the recently launched 7900 Volvo Electric Articulated model. The Volvo Electric Articulated can carry 150 passengers with an energy consumption that is 80 per cent lower than that of a corresponding diesel bus. The Volvo Electric Articulated combines high passenger capacity with low operating costs. The buses will be charged at quick-charge stations along the route, using the industry common charging interface OppChargeTM, in order to ensure the most efficient operation possible. In addition to the electric buses, the order includes 27 Euro VI buses for regional operations, running on biodiesel. 

“For us as a mobility supplier, it is vital to always be able to offer passengers good service and functional vehicles, but it is also important that our drivers have a good working climate. New buses, in particular quiet electric buses, not only result in cleaner cities – they also improve the everyday working environment,” explains Gunnar Schön.

“Electromobility creates new exiting opportunities for urban planning since we now get emission-free and quiet public transport that can operate closer to the city’s residents. Volvo aims to be a leader in increased electrification and to be a partner for cities that wish to implement long-term sustainable public transport solutions for their inhabitants,” concludes Håkan Agnevall.


Gothenburg, November 5, 2019
For further information, please contact: 
Joakim Kenndal, Manager Media Relations, Volvo Bus Corporation,                       
Phone +46 739-02 51 50 or e-mail [email protected]