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Oct 7, 2022
This article is part of a series called The Most Interesting HR Stories of the Week.

Workers report rising ‘political affiliation’ bias

Workers are being subjected to rising negative treatment because of the political beliefs they hold, according to new research by the Society for Human Resource Management. Data from its 2022 Politics at Work Study reveals nearly a quarter of US workers (24%) say they have experienced so-called political affiliation bias, including preferential treatment or undue negative treatment on the basis of their political positions or opinions. This is up from 12% in 2019. More specifically, the results show 13% of workers say they have experienced limited opportunities for promotions due to their political views. Male workers (30%), are more likely to say they’ve personally experienced political affiliation bias than female workers (18%). In corroboration of these findings, 20% of HR professionals admit there is greater political volatility at work than there was three years ago. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen a real decline in civility when people express their opinions and beliefs, and it’s a barrier to success for employers and their employees,” said SHRM president and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.

Twitter employees report ‘frazzled nerves’ as Musk deal is ‘back on’

News that the purchase of Twitter by billionaire Elon Musk is back on, is leading to ‘frazzled nerves’ at the company, according to one worker – JP Doherty, an engineering manager at Twitter. Announced, appropriately enough in a tweet, he added that “all of the uncertainty, all of the worrying, all of the back and forth,” was leading to anxious times for staff. According to US News, Twitter is already only pursuing around half of the projects it would normally do because of “uncertainty about how many employees will flee, and to ensure it can deliver on its commitments.” Earlier this week, it was revealed that Elon Musk had U-turned on his original decision to back out of buying Twitter, and had decided that his $44 billion bid to buy the company was on again. Twitter was due to launch legal proceedings against him in a matter of weeks, to insist that the agreed deal went ahead.

Apple’s CEO reveals the traits he looks for in employees

Apple boss, Tim Cook, has revealed the qualities he looks for in employees. Speaking at University of Naples Federico II’s commencement ceremony, he told graduates that he values four key traits: the ability to collaborate, creativity, curiosity and expertise. He implied that collaboration was the most important of the four (because it combines all of the other skills), while he said teamwork lends itself to creativity and curiosity. He added: “[these qualities] have been a very good formula for us. We look for…the fundamental feeling that if I share my idea with you, that idea will grow and get bigger and get better. We look for people that think different – that can look at a problem and not be caught up in the dogma of how that problem has always been [solved].” He added: “It’s a cliché, but there are no dumb questions. It’s amazing when somebody starts to ask questions as a kid would do.” The comments come as Apple recently fell more than 20 spots on Glassdoor’s yearly ranking of best places to work in the US – falling from No. 31 to No. 56.

Ex-NSA employee arrested for trying to sell secrets

A former US National Security Agency (NSA) employee has been arrested after trying to sell classified information to an undercover FBI agent posing as a foreign spy working for a foreign government. According to Info Security magazine, Jareh Sebastian Dalke, 30, of Colorado Springs, was trying to make contact with, among others, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service. Said a spokesperson at the US Department of Justice: “Between August and September 2022, Dalke used an encrypted email account to transmit excerpts of three classified documents he had obtained during his employment to an individual Dalke believed to be working for a foreign government.” According to the US Attorney’s Office, District of Colorado, Dalke requested $85,000 from the undercover agent in return for additional information in his possession. Dalke was reportedly employed at the NSA for less than a month. Before that, it has been reported that he was a member of the US Army from 2015-2018 and held a secret security clearance from 2016.

Salary rises in 2023 will lag well behind inflation, finds report

Salaries are expected to rise next year – at an average of 3.8% for merit increases in 2023, compared to the 3.4% delivered in 2022. But the bad news is that this will still lag well behind inflation. This is the conclusion of Mercer’s newly-released 2023 US Compensation Planning Survey – which finds projected salary increases are less than half the current annual inflation rate of 8.5%. Lauren Mason, senior principal in Mercer’s career practice, said employers are caught in the middle of recessionary concerns, a tight labour market, and shifting employee expectations due to inflation: “Given the financial uncertainty that currently exists, combined with the tight labor market, employers should consider setting flexible budgets and prioritise investments in critical and fast-moving segments, such as their hourly workforce,” she said. Industry-wise, financial services is leading the market, offering 4.0% merit and 4.7% total increases.

Remote work is the most Googled benefit US workers search for

Analysis of Google searches by job search engine, Lensa, has revealed that the most searched-for employee benefit by US workers, was ‘remote work’ – with 487,600 searches for it over the last 12 months. In found that in every US state, remote work was the most popular employee benefit searched for over the last year. Meanwhile, four day weeks (192,000 searches) and employee assistance programs (164,000) came second and third in terms of the next perks most researched. The least desired benefits by US workers were medical cash plans, subsidised gym membership and free office coffee.

September’s employment rise beats expectations

ADP’s just-published National Employment Report has revealed that private sector employment grew by an estimated 208,000 last month – beating analysts’ previous estimate of 185,000. Professional and business services grew by 57,000 jobs, while education and health services saw an increase of 38,000. The leisure and hospitality industry reported growth of 31,000 jobs. However, the results reveal a mixed picture still. Although the rise in jobs is higher than anticipated, the growth remains below the most recent three-month average. Also, there were job losses in some key sectors, including mining and natural resource industries (down 16,000 jobs), and also in manufacturing (down by 13,000 jobs). In better news though, the data – which is compiled from ADP client payrolls – found that pay was up 7.8%. Firms with 50 to 249 employees saw the largest growth in September, hiring 61,000 workers. Those with more than 500,000 employees saw gains of 60,000 jobs. Companies employing one to 19 employees hired 45,000 workers.





This article is part of a series called The Most Interesting HR Stories of the Week.