GLOBILITY® - June 10, 2016 

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OECD Lead Indicator Flags First Signs of Growth Stabilization
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports signs that downturns in the United States and China may have bottomed out and points to stable growth momentum in the OECD area overall. Its composite leading indicator (CLI) for the United States inched up in April over March results, for the first increase in the reading since July 2014. The index for China rose in April as well, its second consecutive monthly increase.

The OECD also reports that its indicators show stability in the euro zone generally, including Germany and France, while the reading for Britain points to easing growth. In spite of sharp downturns driven by plunging commodity prices, its outlook for Brazil and Russia was positive. “Amongst major emerging economies, CLIs for Brazil and Russia confirm the signs of positive change in growth momentum flagged in last month's assessment,” the OECD reports. Read the article for specific index results.


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HR Success Requires Digital Transformation, But CHROs Lack Support
HR Dive’s Tom Starner reports that new research from The Hackett Group says of the top planned HR transformation initiatives for the near term, six out of 10 are focused on technology and analytics. With that in mind, Harry Osle, The Hackett Group’s Global HR Advisory Practice leader and principal, says that while his firm’s research yielded some very interesting findings, perhaps the biggest surprise is that HR continues to struggle on key talent management issues, especially those around enabling business strategy execution and aligning workforce strategy with business strategy—long the holy grail among CHROs. The Hackett Group’s research, The CHRO Agenda: Continue to Close Gaps in Critical Capabilities Through Transformation, uses feedback gathered from executives at nearly 180 large companies in the U.S. and abroad, most with annual revenue of $1 billion or more. Osle says the survey found HR leaders agree that the future effectiveness of their organizations depends on improving their use of technology, including analytics. Scott Leuchter, Global People & HR Transformation practice leader and principal at The Hackett Group, says it’s “disconcerting” to realize significant skills gaps remain within HR. He explains that gaps in forecasting for the future workforce lessen HR’s ability to support many of the areas that are business critical. Read the full article to see the biggest benefits of digital transformation and where the largest gaps remain.



Airbnb Gets Business Friendly In Growth Push
At a recent OpenAir conference in San Francisco, Airbnb announced new tools for business users, including the ability for an executive assistant or company travel manager to book rooms on behalf of another employee. By itself, this feature may seem a small one, but its introduction signals that Airbnb is becoming more serious about courting the business traveler population. The ability for travel managers to book for other employees goes hand in hand with other relatively new features, like rooms that can be booked without pre-approval from a host, and rooms that have essential business amenities like free WiFi, a work desk and 24-hour check-in. See more information on the numbers and examples of firms using the company for business travel.


Amazon to Boost India Investment by $3bn
Online retail giant Amazon has said it will increase its investment in India by $3 billion, bringing the total amount invested in the country to more than $5 billion. The company invested $2 billion in India in 2014 and employs 45,000 people there. Speaking at a U.S.-India Business Council leadership summit in Washington, attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amazon’s chief executive Jeff Bezos said the company continued to see “huge potential” in India, its fastest-growing region. However, it faces competition from home grown e-commerce retailers Flipkart and Snapdeal. Access the full article for more information.


Online Impressions Vital to Singapore Recruiters
For job seekers in Singapore, the impression they make online is likely to be as important as the one they make in person. A LinkedIn@Work Study reported that 62 percent of recruitment decision makers—the largest number of any country participating in the global survey—place equal importance on the two. Interestingly, only 31 percent of local professionals felt confident sharing their achievements online, which was lower than the global average of 35 percent. Overall, professionals in India, China and Indonesia were reported to be the most confident in sharing their accomplishments on their digital profiles, with 55, 54 and 52 percent of survey respondents, respectively. The ability to clearly communicate achievements in general is one of the most vital factors that recruiters look for in candidates, as revealed by 64 percent of respondents. Read on for more information.


U.K. to Vote on Whether to Stay in EU
On 23 June, the United Kingdom (U.K.) will hold a referendum and voters will head to the polls to cast ballots on whether the U.K. will leave or remain in the European Union (EU). Initial polls showed a small majority of voters in favor of the U.K. remaining in the EU, but more recent polls have tilted the balance slightly in favor of leaving. The outcome on what’s being called “Brexit” is by no means certain. If the U.K. does vote in favor of leaving the EU, the biggest impact is likely to be the end of free movement of labor between the U.K. and the EU. This would clearly have a significant impact on mobility management in the region. While there is no clear blueprint for what would follow the exit of the U.K. from the EU, the next steps in the process are known, and the legal consequences of Brexit would be considerable. Read more information in the Mobility LawBlogTM post from Gordon Kerr, Vice Chair of the Worldwide ERC® Government Affairs Global Forum and Director of the Employee Mobility Unit at Morton Fraser in Scotland.


EU Sees Progress on Greek Reform, '95 percent' of Work Done to Unlock Funds
The European Commission expressed confidence that Greece is on track to complete the remaining steps in its agreed-upon reforms ahead of the next meeting in Luxembourg on 16 June. Once complete, badly needed bailout funds will be released. To qualify for the support, Greek lawmakers reluctantly approved tax rises and pension reforms, freed up the sale of bad loans weighing on banks' balance sheets, and promised to expedite privatization plans. Before Athens can receive installments of 10.3 billion euros by September, however, a few details remain to be completed, including phasing out a pensioner top-up benefit. Greek lawmakers have faced resistance amid growing dissent from six years of austerity measures, but Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici is “confident Athens will use the time before the Eurogroup to finalize the limited issues that are still open.” Read on for additional information.


The Fortunate President
After months in which Keiko Fujimori led opinion polls, the narrow victory of rival candidate Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in the Peruvian presidential election was a surprising reversal. With such a narrow mandate, Mr. Kuczynski’s first task when he takes office will be to show that he can govern a country facing an economic slowdown and characterized by frequent social conflicts.

At 77, Mr. Kuczynski is among the oldest presidential-election winners in Latin American history. He has alternated periods as an official in Peru—manager of the Central Bank in the 1960s, mining minister in the 1980s and economy and prime minister in the early 2000s—with long stints abroad: he studied at Oxford and Princeton, and worked at the World Bank and as a businessman and banker in the United States.

The two candidates broadly agreed on maintaining the free-market policies that have helped turn Peru into the fastest-growing of Latin America’s larger economies in this century.  Mr. Kuczynski’s plan to stimulate the economy focuses on tax cuts and public investment, especially in drinking water, sanitation and health care. His economic adviser, Alfredo Thorne, proposes to cut value-added tax from 18 percent to 15 percent and grant big companies a tax break on reinvestment. He says this will pay for itself by curbing evasion and encouraging Peru’s vast array of informal businesses to go legal. He wants to promote formal jobs by cutting severance pay, replacing it with unemployment insurance for new hires. Access the full article for more information about Mr. Kuczynski’s plans for the future of Peru.

High Above the Gridlock, Gondola Riders Join Urban Commuters
For many employees around the globe who commute to offices in major urban centers, gridlock, noisy and over-crowded buses or subway trains, expensive parking garages and delays are just a regular part of the daily struggle. But Austrian chairlift, aerial tram and gondola-producing company, Doppelmayr Seilbahnen—and some of their chief competitors—may very well be on a path to change all of that. As the creators of Mi Teleférico, a gondola system that now significantly reduces many Bolivian commuters’ travel time into La Paz, Doppelmayr has created a division for urban transportation, which represents about 15 percent of their current revenue, triple the share four years earlier. “In our core business in ski areas in Europe and North America, we’re not doing much more than rebuilding existing systems,” says Thomas Pichler, Doppelmayr’s chief executive officer. “Cities are growing fast, and our installations can really improve daily life.” “The gondola is safe, service is good, and the people are well-trained” notes Nelson Ledezma, an IT professional who cut his travel time from El Alto to La Paz in half, thanks to Mi Teleférico. 

Doppelmayr Seilbahnen is competing with Italian company Leitner and its French sister, Poma, as they turn their gaze from ski resorts and mountains to look instead to commuters and congested cities for future growth. Doppelmayr provided gondola lines to La Paz that have logged almost 50 million rides in the past two years, and Poma has built cable car lines in Colombia, Taiwan and Russia. At least two dozen cities around the world are considering building gondolas or aerial trams for public transportation, according to Doppelmayr, including reports that New York, Paris, Austin, and Lagos, Nigeria have all at least floated the idea. “Urban markets present a big opportunity for us,” says Pichler. See more information about initial investment levels required to support this entrepreneurial approach, and how it may impact urban commuters around the globe.


Yellen Sees Rates Rising Gradually But Avoids Precise Timing
U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. economy was making progress, but stopped short of commenting on the timing of the next interest rate hike. In remarks made on 6 June, she made no mention of an increase likely being appropriate in the “coming months,” as she had shared in a separate speech at the end of May. Her lack of specificity around the issue was viewed by many as a signal that there is no hurry for the next increase. She also noted that recent figures from the Labor Department were “disappointing,” as U.S. employers added the fewest number of new jobs in almost six years. Yellen said the “concerning” May payrolls report was a reason to keep a close eye on the labor force, but cautioned against making any meaningful conclusions. “One should never attach too much significance to any single monthly report,” she said. “If the May labor report was an aberration or reflects a temporary slowdown resulting from the weakness in economic activity at the start of the year, then job growth should pick up and support further gains in income.” The Fed chair said she is watching “four areas of uncertainty” in the economic outlook, which include not only employment data, but weak investment trends, global risks like China’s growth rate, and the U.K. referendum on EU membership and the pace of both U.S. productivity rates and inflation target progress. See additional information, including investor reaction.


The States With The Best And Worst Economies
The U.S. is comprised of many smaller economies that make up the broader whole, each with unique inputs, advantages and challenges. This diversity is evident in the way changing fortunes in one industry can boost or bust an individual state, in the way regions vote in presidential elections and even in the types of homes available in one location or another.

Assessing the economic health of each state could be challenging, but Forbes writer Samantha Sharf explores a new ranking by personal finance site, WalletHub. It compared each of the 50 states and the District of Colombia across 23 metrics that range from GDP growth and business startup activity to venture-capital funding per-capita and percentage of jobs held by scientists and engineers. Each measure was weighted and divided into one of three categories: economic activity, economic health and innovation potential. Topping the list are Utah, Washington and California. Read the article for additional data and state rankings.