From the OECD’s economic outlook, keeping your remote workers happy, Amazon’s promise to employ additional 100,000 people, Australia’s reskilling programme to Americans turning into freelancers. These are the stories dominating this week’s news from the world of work.

#1. OECD: COVID-19 will cost global economy $7 trillion in lost GDP growth

According to the OECD’s chief economist Laurence Boone, the world will be much poorer by the end of 2021 than it would have been without coronavirus. That said and as per the OECD Interim Economic Outlook published this week, the economic prospects are not as bleak as previously thought. While much will depend on the impact of the potential second wave, the global output is expected to shrink 4.5% this year before returning to growth next year. For the Eurozone, the organisation forecasts a 7.9% decline for this year and a 5.1% growth next year while the US economy is expected to contract by 3.8% this year and rebound 4% in 2021.

#2. Amazon is hiring additional 100,000 people to meet COVID-19 demand

The online retailer is set to hire a further 100,000 workers this year in order to keep up with the pandemic-induced demand, reports Forbes’ Isabel Togoh. The positions – both full and part-time – will be available in the US and Canada and across 100 new operations sites, including fulfillment and sortation centres. The news follows earlier announcements of job openings in March when the company informed it would hire 100,000. In April, it promised to add an additional 75,000 and at the beginning of September, Amazon opened up 33,000 jobs in its corporate and tech divisions. Furthermore, this expansion will be accompanied by a push towards automation, although the company claims the robots will not replace humans but rather augment their work.

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#3. Six creative perks you can offer remote workers

The era of flexible work is here! But what’s the best way to attract and retain your remote workers? Jamie Johnson from the US Chamber has put together a list of six creative perks companies can offer to their remote employees in order to keep them. Among other measures, businesses could provide ‘house cleaning stipends’ to cover the cost of house cleaning, or they can subsidise professional development by paying for employees’ books or training programmes. Another way to keep your remote workforce happy is to improve their living conditions. For instance, the San Francisco based company Zapier offers the so-called ‘de-location package’ – a stipend worth $10,000 to every employee willing to de-locate from the Bay Area to help reduce people’s living expenses.

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#4. Australia’s New South Wales commits $160 million to JobTrainer programme

Earlier in July, the Australian government announced it would invest $2 billion into retraining and reskilling hundreds of thousands of its citizens as part of its COVID-19 recovery plans. Following the announcement, this week the New South Wales (NSW) government has committed an additional $160 million to match the federal government’s JobTrainer programme spending. According to NSW’s premier, the local government is “committed to ensuring [its] workforce is the most highly skilled in the country.” More than 100,000 people in the state are expected to benefit from the Skilling for Recovery initiative.

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#5. COVID pandemic turns America into a nation of freelancers

More than one-third of the American workforce work as freelancers, contributing $1.2 trillion to the US economy, reports CNBC. Compared to 2019, this represents an increase of 22%, driven partly by COVID-19 and partly by the influx of younger, highly-skilled professionals seeking flexible alternatives to traditional employment. According to the quoted study, it is estimated that some 59 million Americans freelanced in the past 12 months, which is 36% of the country’s entire workforce.

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