Monthly Archives: October 2016

The demographic challenge in cities

Cities have powered the world economy for centuries. Large cities generate about 75 percent of global GDP today and will generate 86 percent of worldwide GDP growth between 2015 and 2030. Population growth has been the crucial driver of cities’ GDP growth, accounting for 58 percent of it among large cities between 2000 and 2012. Rising per capita income contributed the other 42 percent.

However, the world’s cities are facing more challenging demographics, and the days of easy growth are over. In the past, city economies expanded largely because their populations were increasing due to high birthrates and mass migration from rural areas. Both of those sources of population growth are now diminishing. Global population growth is slowing because of declining fertility rates and aging. At the same time, rural-to-urban migration is running its course and plateauing in many regions. How cities adjust to the new reality is important not only for their prospects but also for those of nations that will continue to rely on thriving cities for rising prosperity.

The double hit of slowing population growth and plateauing urbanization caused population to decline in 6 percent of the world’s largest cities—with the largest share in developed economies—between 2000 and 2015. From 2015 to 2025, we expect population to decline in 17 percent of large cities in developed regions and in 8 percent of all large cities. In the developed world, the urban population in Canada and the United States grew at a compound annual rate of 2.2 percent between 1950 and 1970 but dropped to only 1.0 percent from 2010 to 2015. That rate is expected to persist until 2025 and then to decline even further, to 0.8 percent from 2025 to 2035. Although the demographic shift is more advanced in developed regions, it also affects emerging regions.

This is a challenge to the economic prospects of cities that marks a distinct break from recent history. The past 50 years were truly unusual in demographic terms, as large cohorts of working-age populations fueled the growth of cities and nations. In the new demographic era, we are likely to see a much more fragmented urban landscape, with pockets of robust expansion but also areas of stagnant and declining populations. Cities’ growth prospects will reflect very different demographic footprints and dynamics shaped by their local birth and death rates, net domestic migration, and net international migration.

Delivering financial services by mobile phone

Two billion individuals and 200 million micro, small, and midsize businesses in emerging economies today lack access to savings and credit. Even those with access must often pay high fees for a limited range of products. Economic growth suffers. But a solution is right in people’s hands: a mobile phone. Digital finance—payments and financial services delivered via mobile phones and the Internet—could transform the lives and economic prospects of individuals, businesses, and governments across the developing world, boosting GDP and making the aspiration of financial inclusion a reality.

A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), Digital finance for all: Powering inclusive growth in emerging economies, is the first attempt to quantify the full impact of digital finance. In addition to extensive economic modeling, the report draws on the findings of field visits to seven countries—Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan—and more than 150 expert interviews. It also lays out the key conditions that will need to be met to capture the benefits.

The research finds that widespread adoption and use of digital finance could increase the GDPs of all emerging economies by 6 percent, or a total of $3.7 trillion, by 2025. This is the equivalent of adding to the world an economy the size of Germany, or one that’s larger than all the economies of Africa. This additional GDP could create up to 95 million new jobs across all sectors of the economy.

Wedding discrimination appeal

A Church of England hospital chaplain has lost his claim that he was discriminated against when his licence to work was withdrawn after he married his same-sex partner, in a case that gay rights campaigners hoped would force the church to change its stance.

Jeremy Pemberton was appealing against an earlier ruling that backed the church’s legal right to enforce its position that gay clergy are forbidden from marrying their partners.

The employment appeal tribunal judge Jennifer Eady said in her ruling that the state could not impose same-sex marriage on the church.

According to the ruling, Pemberton “was aware his marriage would be seen in conflict with the teachings of the church (even if he did not accept the characterisation of those teachings as doctrine) and he would thus be viewed as not in ‘good standing’, as would be understood within the Church of England”.

It added that parliament had permitted a specific exemption to the church on discrimination claims of this nature.

In a statement after Wednesday’s decision, Pemberton said his case – brought against the bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Richard Inwood – had raised “novel and complex issues of law”, and he may take it to the court of appeal.

He added: “The result is, obviously, not the one my husband and I had hoped for. I appreciate that this case was a source of hope for many people and I am grateful that the judge has recognised its significance and indicated that its importance warrants permission to appeal to the court of appeal.

“I am now going to take some time to consider the lengthy judgment with my husband, and we will decide on the best way forward, having taken advice from my lawyers.”

A spokesperson for the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham said: “Churches across the diocese continue to offer a generous welcome to people from all backgrounds and we remain fully engaged in the church’s exploration of questions relating to human sexuality.

“The Church of England supports gay men and women who serve as clergy in its parishes, dioceses and institutions. It has no truck with homophobia and supports clergy who are in civil partnerships, as set out in the house of bishops’ guidelines in 2006.”

Laws after Brexit

Senior Tory MPs have begun pushing for a list of regulations affecting companies to tear up after Brexit, even though Theresa May has promised to carry over all EU law into British law.

Two former cabinet ministers, John Whittingdale and Michael Gove, suggested to the CBI business group on Wednesday that companies should start drawing up a list of regulations they want to see abolished or reformed.

The two leave campaigners raised the prospect of EU laws being scrapped after the passage of May’s great repeal bill carrying over existing legislation, as they cross-examined witnesses at a session of the Commons committee on exiting the EU.

Gove highlighted a government-commissioned report by Marc Bolland, the former chief executive of Marks & Spencer, which ran through a list of EU employment protections it would like to see withdrawn or changed including pregnant worker proposals, the agency workers directive, the acquired rights directive and the working time directive.

Questioning Carolyn Fairbairn, the director general of the CBI, he asked her: “Would you be able to write back to the committee with a view that your members have on those directives and the current assessment for the applicability or scope for reform of those directives?”

John Whittingdale, the former culture secretary, also asked Fairburn: “To what extent has the CBI examined the opportunities which may exist to reduce the burden on business and are you working on an analysis to present to government for potential repeal or reduction?”

He said he understood the concerns of the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) that it will want to preserve protections for workers deriving from the EU but many pieces of red tape were burdensome that had nothing to do with employment.

John Longworth, the former chair of the British Chamber of Commerce, who campaigned to leave, told the committee that he thought the “opportunities for deregulation are legion”.

Tips for Optimizing Your Resume

Studies show that hiring managers spend an average of ten seconds looking at a resume before deciding whether to keep going or move on to the next candidate. That’s right, only ten seconds! That says a lot about the job market today and the number of applicants for great positions, but it also says a lot about how you should write your resume. You’ve got ten seconds to land yourself a second glance; what do you do?

Be Concise

One thing you certainly want to avoid is a resume that is overly wordy or that puts the most relevant information at the end. You want the qualities that the hiring manager is looking for to be in the very beginning of your resume so that they are noticed and seen. Long gone are the days where relevant information could be buried on the third page and still get read. You have to be concise and to the point, and you have got to make sure that your resume starts selling you to the hiring manager from the very first word.

Tailor Your Resume

This is perhaps the most important step you can take. If you are applying for multiple positions, there is nothing wrong with having multiple resumes floating around. In fact, it is recommended. You want your resume to be tailored not only to the job you are applying for, but to the company you are applying with. Match your tone to the tone of their website and other media. If they are innovative, outside-the-box thinkers, then that is the approach you should take. Align your brand with theirs while remaining true to who you are.

UK drivers are workers

Uber has launched an appeal against a landmark employment tribunal ruling that its minicab drivers should be classed as workers with access to the minimum wage, sick pay and paid holidays.

The taxi-app company filed papers with the appeal tribunal on Tuesday in an attempt to overturn the October judgment that, if it stands, could affect tens of thousands of workers in the gig economy.

The move came as several dozen Uber drivers picketed City Hall on Wednesday holding placards demanding Transport for London, which licences Uber as a private hire operator in the capital, “end sweated labour now”. It also mounted a protest at the City of London offices of Salesforce, a US computing company that is a major Uber client.

Two Uber drivers, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, took Uber to court on behalf of a group 19 others who argued that they were employed by the San Francisco-based company, rather than working for themselves. Uber’s business model has been based on treating drivers who log on to its app as self-employed contractors and taking a cut of their fares, which Uber dictates.

The employment tribunal judges were scathing about Uber’s case that drivers who use its phone app to pick up fares were self-employed.

“The notion that Uber in London is a mosaic of 30,000 small businesses linked by a common ‘platform’ is to our minds faintly ridiculous,” they said. “Drivers do not and cannot negotiate with passengers … They are offered and accept trips strictly on Uber’s terms.”

Farrar said Uber’s appeal was expected but was “really disappointing”. “It means we have to fight again, but why?” he said. “It is just because they don’t want to pay the minimum wage. We are confident. Our case is rock solid and the original judgment was emphatic.”

Jo Bertram, Uber’s UK general manager, said: “Tens of thousands of people in London drive with Uber precisely because they want to be self-employed and their own boss. The overwhelming majority of drivers who use the Uber app want to keep the freedom and flexibility of being able to drive when and where they want.”

Meanwhile, 25 more Uber drivers are planning to claim workers’ rights from Uber and have joined the legal action the law firm Leigh Day is bringing with the GMB union.

“Since the judgment was issued, we and GMB have spoken to hundreds of Uber drivers who wish to claim compensation for Uber’s failure to provide these entitlements in the past, as well as to ensure that they are paid at least the national minimum wage and holiday pay in future,” said Nigel MacKay, the lawyer representing the claimants.