This week, companies rethinking their bereavement policies, skills-based hiring on the rise, growing number of women join Europe’s boardrooms, and the chatbots and AI tools leading the hiring processes. Read this week’s trends from the world of work.

Over the course of the pandemic, millions of people around the world have been struggling with grief. Loved ones, friends, and family have died as a result of COVID – and that’s on top of other causes of death, like accidents or illnesses. How do we handle it at work?

Organizations around the globe are rethinking their bereavement policies in light of COVID, expanding their grief policies. The question is: What should constitute a grief policy?

What else matters this week?

German automotive supplier Bosch is spending 2 billion Euros on reskilling and upskilling programs as the electric car revolution powers on.

Nestle, the company behind countless pantry items around the world is opening their Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Switzerland. It aims to decrease environmental footprints of farmers across the globe.

Asian economic growth will outstrip the Americas and Europe post-pandemic.
Here’s what companies might be looking for in their next “headquarters” city.

We’ve got a full breakdown of all the top headlines you can’t miss this week.

#1. Companies rethink bereavement policies.

Around the world, millions of people are struggling to cope with waves of grief over the past two years. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 5.85 million people have died from COVID. That’s on top of other tragedies, which continue to march on: accidents, illnesses, chronic illness, and more.

Conversations about grief are increasingly becoming more common and socially acceptable. Those conversations are also seeping into work.

Jess Mah, an executive at software firm inDinero Inc. in the U.S., experienced her own loss during the pandemic. At the time, when her boyfriend died of suicide, she logged onto Slack and told everyone she would take two days off. In hindsight, she told the Wall Street Journal, it was “ridiculous.”

She ended up canceling weeks of meetings. In the end, she took three months off.
“Until it hit me directly, I didn’t think, ‘OK, wow this needs to be a bigger conversation,’” she said. “Bereavement is a part-time job in and of itself.”

Organizations around the globe are rethinking their bereavement policies in light of COVID, expanding their grief policies. For some, that means allowing people to take time off following a miscarriage or failed infertility treatment. For others, it means expanding the definition of family. If a cousin, or even a pet, was close to them, shouldn’t they be able to take time to grieve? Read more.

Photo: Alex Green from Pexels

#2. Skills-based hiring is on the rise.

How many times have you seen a job description with a degree requirement, even though some jobs didn’t need them? Employers have used degrees as a proxy for assessing skills and competencies.

Organizations started to back away from degree requirements after the Great Recession, but things have shifted in the past two decades.

But when the demand for talent outpaces supply, like it has in recent years, employers will start de-emphasizing degrees, researchers found.

Researchers studied more than 50 million recent job announcements in the past several years and found that many companies have started to move away from degree requirements and instead dive into skills-based hiring. This is especially true for middle-skill jobs. This shift opens the door to a large population of potential employees who have been excluded from consideration for many jobs because their lack of degrees. Read more here.

Photo: Jeriden Villegas from Unsplash

#3. European firms add women to boards

Gender equality continues to grow, even if its slowly, for Europe’s publicly traded companies. In January, 11 firms listed on Europe’s Stoxx 600 index added more women to their boards.

Women occupy about four of 11 board seats on average. The percentage of female directors sits at 37.4%. Investor activism is on the rise, and companies that have been reluctant to install a more diverse board might be forced to do so regardless.

Goldman Sachs, for example, voted against their 47 all-male boards in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 2021.

“If you can get diverse perspectives and you have an inclusive culture, you will generate better outcomes,” Goldman Sachs chief investment officer Katie Koch said.

Some European countries, including Germany, France, and Italy has imposed boardroom gender quotas. Read more.

Photo: Christina @ from Unsplash

#4. Your next job interview could be with a robot.

Chat bots and AI-led video interviews are coming onto the scene to help employers assess job candidates – before a human recruiter even meets them. For years now, recruiters have been relying on AI to automate candidate searches and screen resumes.

But AI-led video interviews take the process a step further. Automated interviews will vastly expand the job candidate pool, Axios argues, and recruiters hope they can ensure consistent hiring practices by rooting out the ways bias seeps into interviews.

Candidates, on the other hand, say that these AI-led video interviews and chat bots make the process stressful, dehumanizing, and impersonal.

"You're at a tremendous disadvantage as a candidate when it's a one-way street," one candidate said. "I'm used to reading people, and there was nothing there for me to read." Read more here.

Photo: Jenny Ueberberg from Unsplash

#5. Denmark plans to recruit workers from abroad to fill labour market gaps.

Denmark is looking to recruit workers from neighboring countries as it fights an increasing lack of qualified labor. It’s risking the country’s post-pandemic economic rebound.

The country plans to open pop-up hiring centers in Germany and other nearby countries. Denmark’s average hourly wages are around 39.40 Euros an hour, among Europe’s highest. Denmark is following Sweden’s lead, which has had similar success with recruitment efforts in Greece and Spain.

“This model is flexible and gives us the opportunity to target our effort to recruit European labor within struggling industries,” Employment Minister Peter Hummelgaard Thomsen said in an interview.

Denmark is facing record unemployment: 2.5%. Meanwhile, growing numbers of businesses are reporting labour shortages. Read more.

Photo: Courtesy of Bloomberg


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