Sickness absence is severely impacting UK business – yet take up of key protection benefits is low

Long-term sickness absence is a serious issue with over two-fifths (44%) of UK SMEs reporting at least one employee absent for four weeks or more in the last twelve months, according to research from leading employee benefits provider, Unum.

The majority of SME bosses also said that long-term sickness (absence over six months) of a key employee would have a significant (44%), or even critical (24%), impact on the future success of the business. More than half (55%) said they would do everything they could to aid a member of staff back to work after a period of illness.

Despite the business impact of long-term absence and the employer’s desire to help employees back to work, another recent study by Unum and the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), found uptake of core protection benefits to be very low.

According to the Unum and BCC study, only 8% of UK businesses surveyed offered income protection, one of the core products to help businesses and their employees through sickness absence with financial assistance and rehabilitation support. 22% surveyed said they offered Life Insurance, just 9% offered Critical Illness Insurance, while 22% said that they provide nothing at all in the form of financial protection benefits.

Alongside financial protection and rehabilitation support, fast access to early clinical help can be invaluable to employers and their employees. With that in mind, Unum has launched a new easy to use app ‘[email protected]’ as part of its Group Income Protection product to give employees and their families fast access to remote GPs, second medical opinions, physiotherapy and mental health services.

Peter O’Donnell, Chief Executive Officer, Unum UK, said: Illness and long-term sickness absence can have a serious impact on individuals and their families as well as to businesses of all sizes and across every sector. At Unum, we want to help businesses of all sizes put in place the necessary services and products to enable them to manage this effectively.

“As evidenced in the recent Government consultation – ‘Health is everyone’s business’ – the government is also placing greater importance on the role of employers in keeping people in work. Good employers want to support employees when they are unwell as our research shows, and making our services more modern and helping them better understand how products like Group income protection can help, is an important place to start.”

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 http://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.

About the British Chambers of Commerce

The British Chambers of Commerce surveyed 1,000 business leaders online between 29 April and 16 May 2019. Around 91% of participants were SMEs.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) sits at the heart of a powerful network of 53 Accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes and within all sectors. Our Global Business Network connects exporters with over 50 markets around the world. For more information, visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

Helsinki, World’s First City as a Service Is Not Just a Joke – Attracts Over 6500 applications from +100 cities

Helsinki, World's First City as a Service Is Not Just a Joke – Attracts Over 6500 applications from +100 cities
Helsinki, World’s First City as a Service Is Not Just a Joke – Attracts Over 6500 applications from +100 cities

 Helsinki and some of Finland’s most renowned tech companies launched a talent attraction campaign in September branding Helsinki as the world’s first City as a Service (CaaS). The campaign reframed the value that Helsinki offers to its “users” (current citizens) and potential “demo users” (tech professionals looking to relocate) using familiar vocabulary and tone of voice for international tech professionals. The campaign received close to 7,000 applications of tech professionals interested to relocate to Helsinki.

Now Helsinki is bringing its potential tech professionals to visit the city. Tech talent from Tel Aviv to New York will experience their potential new hometown Helsinki and its work-life balance during one of the world’s largest startup events, Slush, on 19–22 November. The visit is hosted by City of Helsinki along with Supercell, Smartly, Slush, Relex, and MaaS Global (Whim). 

“Finding the best talent in the world is critical for us and other tech companies in Helsinki. It is a great place to live and work, with the best education system, best healthcare, opportunities to families, amazing international companies and happiest people in the world! It is easy to demonstrate that when we bring people here,” says Kristo Ovaska, CEO of Smartly.

Clever and engaging campaign noticed by the global tech community

The campaign turned city into a digital product of this decade and pitched Helsinki as a Service, highlighting its multiple perks: Helsinki’s 640,000 daily active users, key features such as free world-class education and healthcare. Helsinki’s bugs – darkness, snow and the flat skyline – were mentioned as carefully considered features. The city’s Mayor Jan Vapaavuori was recruited to act as the CEO of CaaS, encouraging potential demo users to apply for a free demo trip to Helsinki during Europe’s leading startup event Slush. 

The stunt was described as clever and engaging by Trendwatching and chosen as their Innovation of the Day. The results speak for themselves. In less than a month Helsinki received close to 7,000 applications from the wished target group of professionals in tech from software engineers, developers, AI researchers etc. 

“Helsinki has all it takes to make you feel like home but the problem was, not too many knew about its beautiful features. To make the world aware of what Helsinki has to offer, the city just needed a little repackaging.” says Alexander Pihlainen, CEO of brand company Bou behind the creative concept. 

Helsinki steps up efforts to attract international talent

This year the Finnish growth companies attracted the most venture capital investments to GDP in Europe, and hundreds of millions of euros in foreign capital have been invested in startups here. With a new approach to branding Helsinki, the city wants to improve the city’s image as a place to live. 

“Helsinki is located in one of the world’s most secure countries and inhabited by the world’s happiest people. The majority of foreign experts who have settled in Helsinki are satisfied with the quality of life here. The experience of a happy, good life is a combination of tangible – like housing, transportation, jobs and infrastructure – and intangible things. The intangibles – sense of trust and community, equality, closeness to nature – are essential values in building the quality of life”, says Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki.

Campaign site: www.myhelsinki.fi/caas

For more information, please contact:

Laura Aalto
CEO
Helsinki Marketing (Helsinki)
+358 40 507 9660
[email protected] 

Helsinki Marketing is a company owned by the City of Helsinki. It is responsible for operative city marketing and business partnerships for Helsinki. Helsinki Marketing interacts with local residents, visitors, decision-makers and experts. 

The Dutch Fund for Climate and Development open for business

The Hague, November 15, 2019 – The Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD) has officially been launched in the presence of government officials, NGOs, investors, politicians and other interested parties. In May of this year, the DFCD was awarded to the consortium of Dutch development bank FMO, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-NL) and Climate Fund Managers (CFM). “Today’s launch means that the DFCD is officially open for business,” said Linda Broekhuizen, Chief Investment Officer at FMO. “The consortium is keen to connect with innovative entrepreneurs with climate-related businesses and with private investors keen to mobilize much-needed funding from the private sector to join us in our mission to create a more climate-resilient world.”

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face today. It is already affecting people and nature across the globe, with developing countries being most impacted. “The poorest communities are the most vulnerable to climate change. Poor farmers and others at the bottom of the pyramid suffer and lose their livelihoods even with small changes in rainfall patterns or temperature”, as Meike van Ginneken, Chief Executive Officer at SNV explained.

There is an urgent need for investment to enable vulnerable communities and ecosystems to adapt to climate change. Carola van Rijnsoever, Director of Inclusive Green Growth, and Ambassador for Sustainable Development, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: „The challenge we face to help communities adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change is enormous, and the case for action is incredibly clear. We cannot do this with governments alone. We need all stakeholders to be strong enough to confront this challenge. The set-up of this consortium in which finance and NGOs come together, is unique and uniquely positioned to do this.“ The government of The Netherlands has committed to addressing this need through the DFCD, making EUR 160 million available in the period 2019-2022 for climate adaptation and mitigation, of which at least 50% is earmarked for climate adaptation projects.

DFCD is a direct response to the increasing demand for climate adaptation projects that have to date suffered from a lack of funding compared with mitigation efforts. Linda Broekhuizen adds: “In 2018, USD 612 billion was invested in climate mitigation which is important and much needed. In contrast however, only 5%, USD 30 billion, was invested in adaptation. Adaptation may have to be USD 180 billion a year if the 2030 goal is to reach the USD 1.7 trillion as required according to the most recent report of the Global Commission on Adaptation.”

To help bridge this funding gap the DFCD aims to mobilize upwards of EUR 500 million from private sector investors. Andrew Johnstone, Chief Executive Officer of Climate Fund Managers adds: “The opportunities are there. Take water for example: 80% of the world’s wastewater enters rivers and oceans untreated and by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water stressed areas. Neither the private nor the public sector is doing enough, but together the investment potential is enormous, as is the impact to be delivered.”

This partnership of NGOs and financiers seeks to develop and finance sustainable private sector solutions to enhance resilience to the effects of climate change. These projects will boost the health of freshwater, forest, agricultural and ocean ecosystems, and improve water management.

“The consortium takes a landscape approach through investing in projects which are planned in an inclusive manner, and build on a solid understanding of the landscape, ecosystems and communities. In this way these projects will contribute to healthier ecosystems,” said Kirsten Schuijt, Chief Executive Officer of WWF-NL. “New and incredibly exciting in this consortium is that there is early-stage funding available to convert adaptation opportunities into bankable projects.” 

WWF and SNV take on the key role of developing climate-relevant projects from an early-stage idea to a bankable business case. Climate Fund Managers and FMO provide investment capital, delivering projects to full operations. This combination of early-stage involvement with full life-cycle funding will ensure lasting, long-term impact that contributes to the Paris Agreement and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Interested parties can contact the DFCD through: www.thedfcd.com.

The Dutch Fund for Climate and Development open for business
In picture from left to right the DFCD partners at the official launch event in The Hague: Andrew Johnstone, CEO of Climate Fund Managers, Kirsten Schuijt, CEO of WWF-NL, Linda Broekhuizen, CIO of FMO, Albert Bokkestijn, project manger DFCD at SNV, Carola van Rijnsoever, Director of Inclusive Green Growth, and Ambassador for Sustainable Development, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In picture from left to right the DFCD partners at the official launch event in The Hague: Andrew Johnstone, CEO of Climate Fund Managers, Kirsten Schuijt, CEO of WWF-NL, Linda Broekhuizen, CIO of FMO, Albert Bokkestijn, project manger DFCD at SNV, Carola van Rijnsoever, Director Inclusive Green Growth, and Ambassador Sustainable Development, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

WeWork? More like WePull: New flexible co-working is fuelling office romances

The melting pot of young creative talent is having surprising effects on co-worker’s love lives

It used to be down to catching the eye of your suitor at the water cooler, but now with the influx of co-working super offices with an average of 700 members per building, office romances are hitting record levels.

Daily networking opportunities, huge open plan co-working areas and free beer are some of the features that are helping to turn WeWork into “WePull”.

“If you fill a building with young, ambitious people, then fuel them with free beer, topped off with evening networking – it’s going to bring people together and I guess that’s the point!”, says Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk

“We’ve been told that the large buildings are very busy with new relationships, and many are working out. People seem to have a common goal, a reason to chat and the environment is very productive to new relationships – both business and personal”, Ratcliffe adds.

The average amount of co-workers per WeWork location is nearly 700 – with a steady turnover and influx of new members every day, those looking for new romance can sit back and take their pick.

Even if it doesn’t work out, flexible workspace means just that – move to the next.

But there are pitfalls for those working for large organisations though – breeching company policy and embarrassing public arguments could have serious effects for those in long term employment.

According to a survey by Vault.com industries with the highest “fling per head” were:

  • Retail – 62%
  • Technology – 60%
  • Human Resources – 57%
  • Insurance – 54%
  • Finance – 49%

The survey also found that 51% had an office romance at some point, and 20% were in a relationship with a co-worker at that very time.

“It’s not surprising that the industries that typically use co-working workspaces are those who enjoy the most work flings”, concludes Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk

Survey data taken from Vault.com: https://www.vault.com/blogs/workplace-issues/2015-office-romance-survey-results

Spokesperson Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk is available for comment on 020 3151 3360 or by email [email protected]

Offices.co.uk is a National Provider of Serviced Offices and Flexible Workspaces.

Website: https://www.offices.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/offices_co_uk

SMEs hoarding record levels of cash amid Brexit turmoil – and it’s costing them billions a year

  • SMEs now hold an estimated £333 billion in cash deposits – a record high
  • But SMEs are set to miss out on £3.7 billion in interest this year because their money is languishing in low-paying savings accounts
  • This may also be damaging to the UK economy as it relies heavily on the performance of SMEs, says Flagstone

UK small and medium-sized businesses are holding record levels of cash as uncertainty surrounding Brexit persists – and it is costing them billions of pounds a year, new analysis reveals.

In the last 12 months, SME’s cash reserves have increased by more than 3% to £333 billion – the highest level on record – according to analysis of UK Finance figures by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) on behalf of Flagstone, the UK’s largest cash deposit platform.

Much of this growth has been from deposits into instant-access accounts. Indeed, nearly 58% of all SME cash reserves are now being held in instant-access accounts, suggesting that firms want quick access to their money.

However, by doing this firms are missing out on billions of pounds of interest as these accounts typically pay the lowest interest rates.

With SMEs currently holding £191 billion in instant-access accounts and receiving an average rate of 0.41 % [1], they are on track to earn £566 million in interest in the coming year, CEBR’s analysis found. However, if they were to switch to a market leading instant-access rate of 1.40% [2], they would earn £2.7 billion in total in the next year – £2.1 billion more than they are currently expected to earn.

Further, UK SMEs currently hold £141 billion in fixed-rate deposit accounts earning on average 0.86%, meaning they are expected to earn £1.2 billion in the next 12 months. But if SMEs instead switched to the market-leading 1.95% one-year fixed rate, they would collectively earn £2.8 billion in interest in the coming 12 months – £1.6 billion more than they would have otherwise.

It means, in total, firms are expected to miss out on £3.7 billion in interest in the next year because their money is languishing in low-rate savings accounts.

That extra £3.7 billion would be enough to fund for a year the salaries of more than 123,360 additional workers on the UK average annual salary of £29,588[3].

Separate research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Flagstone reveals why SMEs are reluctant to shop around for a better rate for their cash.

Almost four in ten (39%) of the 500 firms surveyed said the hassle of opening an account is the greatest barrier stopping them from moving their money followed by 34% of firms who said the perceived risks of depositing money with a challenger or non-high street bank was the biggest deterrent.

Andrew Thatcher, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Partner of Flagstone, said: “It’s clear that firms are worried about what effect Brexit will have on their business and are hording cash in case the waters become choppy. However, whilst this may be a sensible move, our study reveals that firms aren’t choosing the best home for their cash. Often, firms are getting sub-optimal rates of interest when they could be getting much higher returns on their cash by shopping around.

“The research shows that savings apathy doesn’t just affect individual savers, but also the nation’s businesses too. Each year SMEs are missing out on billions of pounds of interest because they’re failing to shop around for a better deposit rate for their cash reserves. Firms that forego this extra cash could be missing out on the chance to grow their business by hiring extra staff or investing in productivity improvements.”

“The solution a platform like Flagstone provides is that it not only consistently keeps business owners and financial directors in the path of the best rates, but it also removes the barriers to switching, providing a simple way to increase income and reduce risk. If you are an SME or charity with excess cash at bank it makes no sense not to at least consider a service such as Flagstone and choose from one of hundreds of deposit products at the touch of a button to earn more money.”

[1] All figures on current SME cash holdings and average interest rates are Bank of England data, analysed by the Cebr

[2] Correct as at 4 November 2019

[3] Employee earnings in the UK: 2018, released by ONS on 25 October 2018. Annual figure calculated by multiplying median full-time gross weekly earnings (£569) by 52

Flagstone

Flagstone is an FCA authorised and regulated fintech company (FCA reference numbers 676754 and 605504) located in London and founded in 2013. Flagstone’s online cash deposit platform enables companies, charities and individuals to earn more interest and reduce risk through diversification. Completion of a single application gives the client access to over 550 deposit accounts from 38 different banks and enables them to research and open accounts in just a matter of keystrokes. The platform puts clients in control of their cash, giving them access to market-leading and exclusive rates from a growing panel of UK banks, consolidated reporting and regular new rate alerts to ensure that their cash is working as hard as possible for them 24/7. For more information, see www.flagstoneim.com or watch a short film explaining what we do and how it benefits clients by clicking here.  

All of the UK banks on the Flagstone platform are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the PRA. Deposits placed with any of these banks via the Flagstone platform are afforded exactly the same Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection (i.e. £85,000 per individual depositor per authorised institution) as if the client placed the deposit directly with the bank.

Qualcomm set to benefit from wider 5G adoption

Comments from Anthony Ginsberg, Managing Director of GinsGlobal Index Funds

Qualcomm has reported a drop in its adjusted earnings per share to 78 cents, but it was not as high as most analysts were expecting. The company was expected to provide a much gloomier report than it did, based off its Q2 numbers.

The company’s shares were up around 3% in after hours trading, while earnings are expected to trail last year’s figure.

Qualcomm’s large investment into 5G has proven fruitful for the San Diego-based semiconductor maker. We believe it will be a leader in the Internet of Things and benefit from the explosion in Cloud Technology too – since companies active in this sector will be dependent on 5G technology.

It’s likely 5G wireless networks will usher in a range of new possibilities for businesses. Health-care startups could use the speed and power of 5G to conduct remote surgery. 5G is predicted to be 100 times faster than the current generation of wireless. Qualcomm Inc.’s venture-capital division is setting aside $200 million to invest in 5G wireless startups – an indication of its commitment to this area.

Qualcomm is partnering with US phone carriers such as Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. – in the race to roll out 5G offerings. In September, Qualcomm announced new mobile platforms that will power lower-cost 5G phones – making them far cheaper than the current $1000 plus cost. This includes new Series 6 and Series 7 chips.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm is both working and competing with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co. over 5G intellectual property and to supply 5G-compatible chipsets to smartphone makers as they introduce 5G-enabled phones.

We expect the US-China trade war to simmer down – now that Phase 1 is expected to be agreed to imminently. Qualcomm has previously been hurt by possible trade war worries. Qualcomm will likely be one of the biggest beneficiaries of a reduction in the trade dispute with China. Its share price has already started to show signs of recovery.

The importance of 5G

In the delivery of healthcare – 5G will be of tremendous economic benefit – especially in the areas of telematics and wearables – tracking how people are living. Healthcare accounts for almost 20% of the US GDP – so any efficiency drivers in this area will be widely adopted.

We believe wireless and 5G represent the future of business digitization. Qualcomm is well positioned to benefit from these significant trends. We expect early 5G innovations could occur in enterprise business settings next year.

About GinsGlobal

GinsGlobal Index Funds provides a wide variety of index-linked investment products.  These include traditional Index Funds (mutual funds), Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Principal Protected (Capital Guaranteed) index notes. GinsGlobal has pioneered a common-sense investment approach that has challenged the fund management industry by offering customers a transparent and low-cost way to invest in any asset class whether it be stocks, bonds, real estate or alternative (hedge) investments.

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

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.

Read also about Digitalisation and 4IR in MENA: Augmented Intelligence from Data and Self-Learning

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]