Tag: jobs

Job cuts loom at Ricoh

Ricoh plans to cut about 4,000 jobs as early as fiscal year 2019 to streamline its struggling, core office-equipment business, the Nikkei reported on Thursday.

The company will let go off 3 000 employees through a sale of a logistics unit in Japan and trim management positions in Europe — reducing its global workforce by 4 percent, the Japanese daily said.

Ricoh and legacy companies that supply office printing equipment such as Xerox Corp have been looking to sell assets and focus on other areas of growth as paper printing increasingly gives way to digital alternatives.

Earlier this year, Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings said it would buy Xerox in a $6.1 billion deal to gain scale and cut costs. That proposal has, however, hit road blocks as two of Xerox’s top shareholders — Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason — opposed the deal.

Ricoh, meanwhile, has already cut over 5,000 jobs in North America since beginning of this year, the Nikkei said.

The 59-year old company has reported declining profits for the past four years. Its stock has shed nearly two-thirds of its market value since its peak in 2007.

Ricoh did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.

The Nikkei said last month that Ricoh was conducting impairment tests on its slumping North American business, and may have to take a related charge of about 100 billion yen ($943.04 million).

The company will sell a copier factory in the Chinese industrial hub Shenzhen and is planning to dispose of its equity stake in a Coca-Cola distributor for about 56 billion yen ($528.50 million), the Japanese business daily reported on Thursday.

Expenses related to the job cuts and other restructuring efforts are expected to weigh on the company’s fiscal 2018 performance, the Nikkei reported.

Ricoh will also set aside 200-billion yen for acquisitions of commercial and industrial printing companies as it looks to move away from office printing, according to the report.

Source: Japan Today

Will your job be taken over by robots?

A new report published by the World Economic Forum casts a grim light on the future of jobs across the world, with 1.4 million US jobs alone expected to disrupted by technology and other factors between now and 2026.

The report is an analysis of nearly 1,000 job types across the US economy, encompassing 96% of employment in the country. Its aim is to assess the scale of the re-skilling task required to protect workforces from an expected wave of automation brought on by the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

Drawing on this data for the US economy, the report found that 57% of jobs expected to be disrupted belong to women. In addition, the report found that if called on today to move to another job with skills that match their own, 16% of workers would have no opportunities to transition and another 25% would have only between one and three matches.

At the other end of the spectrum, 2% of workers have more than 50 options. This group makes up a very small, fortunate minority, as on average all workers would have 10 transition options today.

The positive finding of the report is the huge opportunity identified for re-skilling to lift wages and increase social mobility.

With re-skilling, for example, the average worker in the US economy would have 48 viable job transitions – nearly as much as the 2% with the most options today. Among those transitions, 24 jobs would lead to higher wages.

South Africa

Re-skilling may also ultimately be the deciding factor as to whether the South African economy survives the fourth industrial revolution.

According to a report released by global consultancy Accenture in January 2018, 35% of all jobs in South Africa are currently at risk of total automation, meaning machines can perform 75% of the activities that make up these jobs.

Accenture said that both blue and white-collar jobs are at risk.

“The jobs of clerks, cashiers, tellers, construction-, mining- and maintenance workers all fall into this category,” it said.

Hard-to-automate jobs (those with a lower risk of automation) include tasks like influencing people, teaching people, programming, real-time discussions, advising people, negotiating and cooperating with co-workers, Accenture said.

Similar to the WEF’s findings, Accenture found that if South Africa can double the pace at which its workforce acquires skills relevant for human-machine collaboration, it can reduce the number of jobs at risk from 20% (3.5 million jobs) in 2025 to just 14%(2.5 million).

“Digital is a growth multiplier. Digital technologies are ushering in a new economic era by overcoming the physical limitations of capital and labour, exposing new sources of value and growth, increasing efficiency and driving competitiveness, said Dr Roze Phillips, MD for Accenture Consulting in Africa.

“However, for countries like South Africa that are less prepared for human-machine collaboration, digital technologies may bring more job losses than gains.”

“South Africa cannot hesitate – it must start now. To succeed, leaders must act swiftly to re-imagine work, pivot the workforce and scale up ‘new skilling’,” said Phillips.

Source: Business Tech 

Fewer than a quarter of matrics find jobs relatively quickly, according to economist Mike Schüssler of economists.co.za.

Those members of the matric class of 2017 who will not be studying further, but will be looking for a job, will not be easily absorbed by the job market, he told Fin24 on Tuesday.

“It will be tough for them to get work. Over 50% of our matriculants under the age of 34 have not found permanent employment and it’s not getting better,” he said.

“This is part of the process young job seekers go though. It takes long to get a first job – even for those with a degree it takes a while. You do not get a degree and suddenly you are running the firm.”

The overall unemployment rate in SA nears 28% in the narrow sense (excluding people out of work, but still actively searching) and 37% in broader terms (including those who have given up looking for a job). For young people this figure is much higher. Schüssler estimates it to be well over 50%.

“To get your first job is probably one of the hardest things in life and often takes a while. If you have not had a job, you are regarded as not having ‘proven’ yourself yet,” explained Schüssler.

“Unemployment in SA is high already, but for the youth it is higher and for those looking for a first job it is very tough.”

According to Statistics SA, only 12.8% of people in SA between 15 and 24 have a job (in terms of the narrow definition). For those between 25 and 34 years of age, only 49.6% actually have a job; and for those between 35 to 44 years of age, 63% have a job.

“My message to matrics is that a job is a job. The big thing is to start off doing a first job. Yes, we will have minimum wages, but maybe we have to be careful regarding how it is implemented,” suggested Schüssler.

“Maybe people getting a job for the first time could be excused from having to get the minimum wage for the first two years of employment.”

Another suggestion by Schüssler is for young matriculants who do not find a job quickly to try and do volunteer work.

“Maybe ask if you can just get money for transport. At least you will still be in the process of learning. The next employer wants to know that you can stick to a job and perform the tasks you are given. That is very important,” said Schüssler.

Never lose hope

“Don’t give up hope. Everybody is suffering and employers often prefer young people who are a little bit older – about 25 years – as they might be regarded as being more mature and used to the discipline of sticking to a job.”

He pointed out that this is a global trend as older people tend to be regarded as having proven themselves – whether they have done so or not.

“Young people must try to offer a service – even start waitering, just start somewhere. The best advice is not to give up. And if you get a job, work hard. Employers want people who are productive and efficient,” said Schüssler.

“Young people must say to themselves: get a job, then negotiate and work your way up. It is not an automatic thing. Yes, SA’s unemployment is high, but all over the world young people struggle to find jobs.”

By Carin Smith for Fin24

Automation could kill 800m jobs worldwide

As many as 800-million workers worldwide may lose their jobs to robots and automation by 2030, equivalent to more than a fifth of today’s global labour force.

That’s according to a new report covering 46 nations and more than 800 occupations by the research arm of McKinsey & Co.

The consulting company said on Wednesday that both developed and emerging countries will be impacted. Machine operators, fast-food workers and back-office employees are among those who will be most affected if automation spreads quickly through the workplace.

Even if the rise of robots is less rapid, some 400-million workers could still find themselves displaced by automation and would need to find new jobs over the next 13 years, the McKinsey Global Institute study found.

The good news for those displaced is that there will be jobs for them to transition into, although in many cases they’re going to have to learn new skills to do the work. Those jobs will include health-care providers for aging populations, technology specialists and even gardeners, according to the report.

“We’re all going to have to change and learn how to do new things over time,” Michael Chui, a San Francisco-based partner at the institute, said in an interview.

Reported by Rich Miller for Bloomberg LP on Tech Central

HP is set to cut between 3 000 and 4 000 jobs worldwide over the next three years, as it seeks to make savings as PC sales continue to plummet.

The world’s second-largest PC supplier has struggled in a dwindling market, and hopes the cutbacks will save the company between $200-million to $300-million annually by 2020.

However, HP will also incur an estimated $350-million to $500-million in restructuring costs.

According to a filing made to the Security and Exchange Commission on Thursday, HP plans to swing the axe between 2017 and 2019, spread across the many countries and regions the company operates in.

HP split into two divisions in September 2015, resulting in a loss of 30 000 jobs – almost 10% of the workforce. Today HP Inc oversees printers and computers while Hewlett Packard Enterprise focuses on enterprise services, though it has spun off much of its software business.

“I’m proud of the progress we have made in our first year as the new HP. Our focus is clear, our execution is solid, and we are positioned well for the next step in our journey,” says Don Weisler, president and CEO of HP, in a statement.

“We are confident in our strategy and believe it will continue to produce reliable returns and cash flow, while also enabling HP to invest in differentiated innovation and long-term growth.”

Weisler acknowledges that the market is currently “challenging”, but says the company is still “committed to innovating”, pointing to HP’s current opportunities in manufacturing and 3D printing.

The announcement comes during a global decline in PC sales, dropping 5,7% in the third quarter compared to last year according to a report by Gartner. This represents the longest period of decline in the history of the PC industry.

By Dale Walker for www.itpro.co.uk

COSATU has announced a one day national strike for all employees on Friday, 7 October 2016.

NEDLAC has confirmed that COSATU has complied with s77 of the Labour Relations Act, No 66 of 1995 (LRA) in serving the necessary notices on NEDLAC. The activities on 7 October 2016 will therefore constitute protected protest action and will not be a strike, despite COSATU calling it such.

Similarly, the activities on 7 October 2015 were called a national strike but were in fact protected protest action.

Section 77 of the LRA provides for “protest action to promote or defend socio-economic interests of workers” and covers a much larger scope of demands than those of mutual interest between employee and employer.

The demands that COSATU wishes to “fight for” are:
• “Demand the total banning of the labour brokers;
• Demand the scrapping of the e-tolling system including the expensive toll gates;
• Fight in defence of our Jobs and against retrenchments;
• Demand the implementation of the Legislated National Minimum Wage;
• Fight to defend and protect our Collective Bargaining Agreements;
• Fight for compliance with Occupational Health and Safety Standards in all workplaces;
• Fight for the implementation of the NHI;
• Fight for the scrapping of the Taxation Amendment Law; and
• Demand the implementation of Free Education.”

Any employee is entitled to participate in the protected protest action and may not be disciplined for being absent from work. Participating employees enjoy the same protection as in the case of a protected strike. However, the principle of no-work-no-pay will apply.

Any employee engaged in an essential service may not participate in the protest action. Employees in a maintenance service may participate if permitted by the agreement regulating the maintenance service.

It is not yet clear whether any of the non-COSATU unions will take part in the protest action organised by COSATU.
It is also not clear how widespread the protest action will be. Some of the COSATU regions have already indicated that they will support the project.

By Faan Coetzee and Samantha Coetzer, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Employment levels have dropped in six of the nine provinces in the year to June‚ Statistics South Africa said on Thursday.

KwaZulu-Natal‚ Gauteng and North West recorded the largest decreases at 77‚000‚ 28‚000 and 25‚000 respectively.

Employment gains were recorded in Limpopo‚ Western Cape and Northern Cape (31‚000‚ 9‚000 and 6‚000 respectively) over the same period.

At city level‚ compared to a year ago‚ employment decreases were recorded in three metropolitan municipalities. These were: Ekurhuleni metropolitan which recorded the largest decrease at 29‚000‚ followed by Nelson Mandela Bay (23‚000) and Buffalo City (3‚000).

Annual employment gains were recorded in five metropolitans‚ with the largest increase in the City of Cape Town at 43‚000.

Overall‚ Stats SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey showed that employment declined in the second quarter of 2016 by 129‚000 to 15‚5-million.

The quarterly decline in total employment was driven by job losses in Services‚ Agriculture‚ Transport and Mining.
Quarterly employment gains were observed in Manufacturing‚ Private households and Construction.

However‚ while Manufacturing created 67‚000 jobs quarter-to-quarter‚ Stats SA noted that the number of employed in this industry was lower compared to the same period last year (45‚000 or 2‚5%).

Formal sector employment declined for two successive quarters to 10‚9 million in Q2: 2016 but was still 0‚8% higher compared to the same period last year.

The informal sector contracted by 58‚000 or 2‚3% in Q2: 2016 – making it 5‚8% lower compared to the same period last year.

As to which jobs are shedding positions‚ Stats SA said that on a quarterly basis‚ employment decreased in six of the ten occupations in Q2: 2016.

The largest decreases were recorded in Sales & services (93‚000) and Plant & machine operator (70‚000) occupations. Over the same period‚ employment increased in four of the ten occupations; with the largest increases in Technician and Domestic worker occupations (56‚000 and 24‚000 respectively).

Year on year changes reflect employment decreases in six occupations‚ the largest decrease being recorded in Plant & machine operator (153‚000) occupations. In Q2: 2016‚ annual employment gains were recorded in four occupations – Professional (107‚000)‚ Manager (68‚000)‚ Technician (16‚000) and Domestic worker (7‚000).

Source: www.newswire.timesmedia.co.za

SA sheds 15 000 jobs in Q1

In the first quarter of 2016, the formal non-agricultural sector of the South African economy shed 15 000 jobs in all sectors, except construction and community services, according to the Quarterly Employment Survey.

Employment therefore declined by 0,2% to 9,2-million people in the formal non-agricultural sector of the economy.

The Quarterly Employment Survey collects data from the mining, manufacturing, electricity and gas, construction, retail, business and community and personal services sector, and measures the level of employment and earnings per sector.

It should not be confused with the rate of employment reflected in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey.

Statistician-general Pali Lehohla released the latest figures on Monday, which showed that the largest percentage of job losses took place in the retail, hotel and restaurant sector.

In the retail trade sector, 27 000 jobs were lost, while 7 000 people were retrenched in the hotels and restaurants industry.

Employment in the mining sector contracted for the sixth consecutive quarter by 4 000 employees in the first quarter of 2016.

Finance and business services lost 9 000 jobs after employment rose by 42 000 in the last quarter of 2015.

There was also a 4% decline in earnings for the quarter ended March 2016 – from R545-billion to R523-billion.

These decreases were recorded in all industries, except the business services industry. Statistics SA ascribed the changes in gross earnings to the absence of bonuses and overtime that were paid to employees in the last quarter of 2015.

By Liesl Peyper for www.fin24.com

South Africa is putting a lot of time and resources into entrepreneurship (as recently as May, government and big business announced a R1,5-billion entrepreneurial fund), but the country’s start-ups aren’t producing anywhere near the number of jobs they should be.

That’s one of the more worrying finds from a new survey conducted Seed Academy, which also shows that while South African entrepreneurs are generally optimistic, they have a long way to go when it comes to showing real growth and reflecting the demographics of the country as a whole.

According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the 2016 start-up survey polled more than 1 500 entrepreneurs and built on the benchmarks established in 2015 when Seed Academy conducted the first start-up survey to get a picture of the challenges start-ups face and the support they need to increase success rates.

The majority of entrepreneurs reported starting businesses in the Information Technology (22%), Creative (12%), Wholesale and Retail (9%) or Social and Community Services (9%) sectors. Mining and Automotive were amongst the least popular sectors for aspiring entrepreneurs.

The job issue
Given that a large reason for the government-incentivised start-up fund and a number of other initiatives are focused on job creation, the survey’s stats on that front are particularly worrying.

According to the survey, only four percent of entrepreneurs surveyed employ more than 10 staff and as many as 38% of start-up entrepreneurs do not employ anyone at all.

“Job creation should be a key outcome of entrepreneurial activity, yet a large portion of our entrepreneurs have no employees,” says Seed Academy CEO Donna Richardson.

Number of employees
That’s worrying, not just for job creation in South Africa, but for the future of entrepreneurship. As Ventureburn’s own 2015 start-up survey revealed, people who work for start-ups tend to be entrepreneurial themselves and are therefore likely to be part of the next wave of entrepreneurs.

A question of revenues
Then again, it’s difficult to bring on staff when you’re not bringing in money and things don’t look great on that front either. According to the survey, nearly half of start-ups (47.5%) bring in less than R100 000 per annum.

What is particularly worrying to Rachelson is how long entrepreneurs are taking to gain traction. According to the survey there are a large percentage of businesses which have been around for more than five years, but which are still pre-revenue. “I think that’s very concerning,” she told Ventureburn in an interview.

There aren’t too many big success stories either. According to the survey, only 4.5% of start-ups make more than R5-million in annual revenue.

According to Rachelson, one possible reason for those low revenue numbers is that large portions of South African entrepreneurs try to build their businesses while still in permanent employment.

The quest for funding

While that’s never a great option — it’s difficult to build a business when your mind’s on other things — there’s a case to be made that these entrepreneurs are staying in their current jobs out of necessity.

Backing this up is the fact that, together with access to markets, funding remains a major source of concern for most South African entrepreneurs. As many as 85% of the start-ups surveyed are self-funded, with the next biggest source of funding being friends and family. Banks, development finance institutions (DFIs), and angel investors each accounted for just two percent of start-up funding.

According to Rachelson, that isn’t necessarily down to a lack of available funding, so much as a lack of education among entrepreneurs when it comes to applying for funding. This, she says, is especially so when it comes to DFIs.

Applying for funding from these institutions, Rachelson told us, “is not an easy process[…]people eventually just give up”.

Resilience in the face of harsh challenges

Despite those challenges, the survey shows that there are reasons to be optimistic.

The survey shows a slight increase in the age of the businesses from the 2015 edition. According to Rachelson, this shows that South African entrepreneurs are willing to stick it out during tough times.

Interestingly, most of the longest-running start-ups who participated in the survey were founded by people with “real world” work experience. This may suggest that the country should be doing more to encourage working people to start their own businesses.

“While the percentage increase in the age of the businesses is small, the fact it is increasing is a step in the right direction,” says Rachelson. “Our entrepreneurs are resilient. They are primarily working from home and funding themselves with small amounts of capital while facing the well-known challenges of finding customers and raising finance”.

Another cause for celebration is the optimism of the entrepreneurs themselves.

Entrepreneur optimism
That said, there is still plenty that needs to change in the South African entrepreneurial space.

“My honest view is that we’re not doing enough,” Rachelosn told us.

Female entrepreneurs, for instance remain in the minority, with just 31% of start-ups having female founders. It’s also clear that that the ethnic footprint of entrepreneurs does not mirror SA’s demographics with black start-up entrepreneurs underrepresented.

In order to make those changes, says Rachelson, there needs to be a sea-change in the country’s approach to entrepreneurship. Apart from the usual advice such as making failure more acceptable, Rachelson suggests that we need to find a way of “instilling the values of entrepreneurship at a very young age”.

That can be done at school, but there other opportunities too. “We need to take a holistic view of entrepreneurship,” Rachelson told Ventureburn.

“With 50% of SA’s youth (aged 15-24) currently unemployed, there is a dire shortage of opportunities for them to gain work experience,” says Rachelson. “Innovative ways to provide our young people with work experience need to be found. To develop skills and business acumen, we should be considering interventions such as entrepreneur shadowing or on-the-job training at an SME”.

Further up the line, Rachelson believes that more South African entrepreneurs could stand to learn the value of a team, especially given that the majority of entrepreneurs (59%) are the sole founders of their business.

Moreover, she believes that South African entrepreneurs need to change their mindsets when it comes to scaling their businesses.

“I don’t think our entrepreneurs are thinking big enough,” she told us.

By Stuart Thomas for www.ventureburn.com

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