Your Weekly Commercial Awareness Update – w/c 27th August 2018

Your Weekly Commercial Awareness Update – w/c 27th August 2018

Here are this week’s headlines, brought to you by our Student Commercial Awareness Team:

Accountancy firm allows new staff to choose what hours they work

Reported by Dan James

PwC, the large accountancy firm, has started a new scheme allowing new employees to work the hours they would like to.

The Flexible Talent Network allows people applying for roles within the firm to list their skills and preferred working hours. PwC says the scheme should allow the firm to attract a high-calibre of employee who no longer wish to be trapped in a traditional 9am to 5pm working pattern.

Such flexible working patterns can cover anything from shorter hours every day to only working a few months of the year.

PwC said that they decided to use this approach after they carried out their own study and discovered that close to 50% of 2000 respondents favoured flexible working hours allowing a good work-life balance when deciding to apply for a job.

More than 2000 people signed up within the first two weeks of the Flexible Talent Network launching.

PwC is also home to a 6-month senior internship programme, Back to Business, designed to help professionals restart their career after some extended time away from work.

The firm has said that this flexible working initiative will give the company a competitive edge going forward by being able to attract highly skilled individuals who seek flexible work patterns. It is currently allowing a number of people to study, work and look after their families.

Due to PwC being regarded as one of the big four accountancy giants, there is little doubt that this initiative shall become the norm in the future across a variety of industries.

For more information, see here.

US President Donald Trump issues stern warning to internet giants

Reported by Sarah Kinley

US President Donald Trump has warned Google, Twitter and Facebook they are “treading on troubled territory” amid a row over perceived bias.

The notoriously vocal world leader warned that these sites must be “very careful”, after he earlier called Google out and claimed they had rigged the results for the search phrase “Trump news”. An anonymous aide said the administration was “looking into” the issue of regulation.

In response, Google said its search engine set no political agenda, and was not, or never had been, bias towards one viewpoint or political ideology over another.

Although Mr Trump gave no indication of what actions he might take, he stated Google had “really taken a lot of advantage of a lot of people, it’s a very serious thing” when addressing reporters at the White House.

Adding the names of Facebook and Twitter, he said: “They better be careful, because you can’t do that to people… we have literally thousands of complaints coming in.”

Whether or not these claims are founded in empirical truths, or are simply another case of Mr Trump over exaggerating to cause a media stir, remains to be seen; top analysts have responded by noting that there is very little to back up Mr Trump’s words, and any course of action he may take remains unclear.

For more information on this story, visit the BBC.

House of Fraser tries to avoid further closures

Reported by Rui Ci Lee

Sports Direct, the new owner of retailer House of Fraser that had collapsed into administration, is trying to reduce stores from closing down by convincing landlords to reduce rent. Earlier in August 2018, the sportswear retailer, controlled by Mike Ashley, bought House of Fraser for £90m.

Ashley had pledged to reduce the number of stores scheduled to shut under the previous restructuring plan from 31 to a dozen out of its 59 stores. Seven House of Fraser stores have been saved, including the flagship store on London’s Oxford Street.

Some landlords have been asked to sign deals for rent equivalent to 5% of a store’s turnover or to offer rates-only deals, also known as “meanwhile leases”. “Meanwhile leases” are temporary leases for vacant business property offered to tenants for a non-commercial purpose while the landlord looks for a tenant that will take commercial lease of the premises.

However, not all landlords are agreeable to the rent reductions. Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said that as many property owners are investing in and managing property on behalf of pensioners’ savings they would have to act in their interests, and “simply leaving stores empty for the sake of it…would be in no one’s interests”.

For more information, see BBC and The Guardian.

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