GLOBILITY® - 6 April 2017 

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EMEA

Eurozone Unemployment Rate Lowest Since 2009
A recent Markit index showed that more than one million people have left the Eurozone unemployment tally in the last year, dropping the jobless rate to its lowest number in almost eight years, and demonstrating the acceleration of economic recovery across the 19-member currency bloc.  Intractably high unemployment has plagued the Eurozone since its sovereign debt crisis that began in 2010 and reached its height in 2013. An improving political mood and a spirit of cautious recovery from years of financial crisis plus quicker growth and more available credit brought a solid improvement in the labor market over the last two years. Find out more about employment rates in the Eurozone.

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What Triggering Article 50 Means for Investors
Brexit is a monumental change that will require renegotiation in immigration, border controls, visa restrictions and trade, and the process is loaded with uncertainty. The lack of clarity on the negotiated exit is causing concern among investors and global financial markets, now that Prime Minister Theresa May has triggered Article 50 to formally depart from the economic and political partnership in 2019. "It involves [untangling] the biggest plate of spaghetti in the world and putting it back together," says Jonathan Gibbs, an investment specialist at Standard Life Investments in Edinburgh, Scotland. Read about the impact of Article 50 for global markets.

APAC

Fewer Chinese Join the Job Market, But That May Be a Good Thing
There’s something happening to China’s labor force participation rate: it’s falling; lowering the number of workers even further than previously. That brings more pressure on wages and puts a strain on growth.  The participation rate, which is calculated by using the number of people who can work, are looking for work or are in jobs, divided by the total working-age population aged 16 to 65, fell from just over 77 percent in 2010 to 72.4 percent in 2015, according to research by Jia Peng at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. This drop is worsening a compression of the nation’s labor market, which has seen the working age population fall since 2012. A substantial increase in labor market mobility also has an effect, possibly resulting in temporary joblessness when people are in transition: a statistic that might not be factored into censuses. But though this news sounds grim, some demographers say that the short-term impact on China’s economy due to the combination of a dwindling labor force and falling participation rate will bring an outcome with some positive, longer-term gains. Read more about this demographic discussion.

Tougher H-1B Norms Open Doors for India’s Real Talent
Indian IT firms are frequent users of the H-1B visa that allows employees to move to the U.S. for periodic project work. Programmers certified as eligible for H-1B visas in 2014 and 2015 only comprised about 12 percent of the total number of certified applicants. Cyrus D Mehta, managing attorney and founder of New York-based law firm Cyrus D Mehta & Associates, said employers filing H-1B petitions on behalf of computer programmers must be doubly careful about designating an employee as an entry-level worker. As new H1B restrictions are enforced (see article below), there may be an opportunity for India to send its more talented professionals (system analysts, software developers and network administrators) on these visas to the U.S. Learn more about India’s top talent opportunities.  

AMERICAS 

‘Panic’ as Last-minute H1-B Visa Measures Hit
H-1B visas, granted so that companies can temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations like science and information technology, are most commonly used by tech companies seeking computer specialists. A shakeup of the program emerged just as the slim annual window to apply for the coveted visas opened. On March 31, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a memo that it would no longer consider entry-level computer programming positions as specialty occupations that potentially automatically qualify for the visa. On April 3, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced new measures to "deter and detect" fraud and abuse in the H-1B visa program, while the Department of Justice issued a warning to employers not to discriminate against Americans. Read more about current H1-B visa activity.

In Latin America, Companies Still Can’t Find the Skilled Workers They Need
The skills shortage in Latin America – especially Peru, Brazil and Mexico -  is higher than in other OECD countries, says Manpower. About 50 percent of formal Latin American firms cannot find candidates with the skills they need, compared to 36 percent of organizations represented by OECD countries. The sectors with the biggest skills gaps in Latin America tend to be those that support development and industrial upgrading, such as motor vehicle and advanced machinery. In addition to the alarming skills shortage statistics, The World Economic Forum also notes that two out of every five young persons are neither studying nor working, and 55 percent of workers in the region work in the informal economy. Workers lack needed skills, and companies are hard-pressed to locate talent to grow their businesses. But there’s good news: most governments are aware that building skills is “global currency” and are viewing this need as a priority. Discover more about Latin American skill shortage issues.    

Government Affairs Community Update: Tax Reform, Regulatory/Compliance Issues, Real Estate and More
Worldwide ERC®’s latest update includes activity in the U.S. administration's agenda such as Tax Reform, the Moving Expense Deduction, Regulatory/Compliance Issues, Real Estate, Trade Agreements and Immigration, along with mobility industry impact statements. Navigate to the Government Affairs Community Update.  

Justin Trudeau: Robots Are Going to Steal Some Jobs, But Canada Has a Plan
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that instead of trying to ignore advancements, governments should educate and train citizens to help them find sustainable careers. "We know that the job market is changing, and instead of resisting in vain, we're focused on funding research and innovation, like in AI and quantum computing, that'll help lead the change here in Canada," he noted. "And while we do that, we're preparing Canadians to find good jobs through investments in education and training.” Canada's budget this year includes more grants and interest-free loans for students, in addition to investing in 13,000 "work-integrated placements" for students. It is also proposing an "Innovation and Skills Plan," which is focused on growing its middle-class economy.  Read on about Canada's jobs plan.   

Global Interest   

Is Agile Learning Development the Answer to Growing Skill Shortages?
Ninety percent of all CEOs believe that their organizations are facing disruptive change that is primarily driven by digital tech, and 70 percent say they don't have the skills to adapt well. Skilled professionals, like software engineers and other talent, are finding they must upgrade their skills every 12 to 18 months. That’s why agile learning development has become the norm for many companies, as they adopt the same principles that software developers have successfully used for years. Understand the advantages that agile learning development can bring.