Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Muslims suffer 'jobs gap'
Employers must do more to increase the numbers of Muslim graduates moving into work, employment minister Margaret Hodge urged today.
Revealing figures showing only 76% of Muslim university-leavers of working age are in jobs compared to 87% of all graduates, Hodge said firms are missing out on a talented and diverse workforce. The minister, who also chairs the Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force, said a concerted effort by a partnership of the government, educators, trainers and employers is needed to close the gap in opportunity.
"Ensuring everybody has equal access to work is not just morally right - it's good for business and the economy because it means we are making the most of our talents," Hodge said. "But these figures show that some employers are missing out and too many graduates from ethnic minority communities are being left behind."Read more: Muslims
global markets means America needs more langauge and cultural skills
Habla ingles? Parlez-vous anglais? Ni shuo ying-wen ma? The phrases ask in Spanish, French and Chinese, "Do you speak English?" And around the globe, the answer increasingly is yes.
But though the spread of anglophiles may be convenient for Americans, the pressure to learn foreign languages is only heightening--so much so that Harvard University recently modified the arts and sciences curriculum to include an 'expectation' that students pursue an international experience.
"To be globally competitive and sell into other markets, we will need to know those markets better than our competitors," says Vivien Stewart, vice president of education for the Asia Society, a non-profit group that promotes communication between the U.S. and Asia.
Many multinational corporations already derive a significant portion of their earnings abroad. Coca-Cola Co., for instance, earned roughly 70 percent of its 2004 revenue outside North America.
The need for cultural understanding also exists at home. In 2003, Latinos and Hispanics made up 13.8 percent of the U.S. population, up from about 12.5 percent in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.Read more: Global Markets
growing need for interpreters in US delivery rooms
Almost one in four American births is now to a foreign-born mother, according to last week's report by the Center for Immigration Studies. While 59 percent of those are to Hispanic women, the rest are from a mix of countries and tongues. The increase is most dramatic not in the big immigration hubs, but in suburbs and rural areas, especially across the South.
The result, medical experts and advocates say, is a growing pressure on American health-care centers to not only deliver babies, but deliver them in more languages than one.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 says hospitals that get federal money must provide interpreter services. It just doesn't say how. Most hospitals reach out with phone-based interpretation services. But critics say the phone has limitations, especially during childbirth.Read more: Interpreters
internet expansion underway in afghanistan
In a country where communications are often either poor or nonexistent, the Afghan government has launched a major effort to make internet access more widely available by introducing a digital wireless network.
Currently operating only in the capital, the network will soon be available in 12 provinces and should be operational throughout the country by the end of the year, according to Communications Minister Amirzai Sangeen.
So far, the government has spent 70 million US dollars on creating, and expects to spend another 50 million to complete the project this year. Sangeen said that 9,000 digital phones are ready to be connected to the network.Read more: Afghanistan
word of the day: flummox
flummox \FLUM-uhks\, transitive verb:
To confuse; to perplex.
And when a poll's results happen to upset the conventional wisdom, or confound the experts, or flummox the pundits, then that's a poll to remember. --Michael Kagay, "Unexpected Results Make for Memorable Polls," New York Times, March 23, 2000
The chronological order of the Stuart, Hanover, Lancaster and Tudor British royal houses had me flummoxed. --Sara Ivry, "Game Show Wannabe: I Coulda Been a Millionaire," New York Times, February 27, 2000
Monday, July 18, 2005
CNN article with Kwintessential trainer
When traveling for business, one of the biggest challenges is knowing what gift to give work colleagues or partners overseas to strengthen a relationship.
Japan is one culture where giving and receiving presents is crucial and now is the summer season of 'Ochugen', or gift giving. Some of these corporate gifts do not come cheap. At the Mitsukoshi Department Store, presents such as a $300 bottle of sake, or Japanese rice wine, is just one of the many given to clients. The store believes it is an important cultural practice.
Kwintessential, an intercultural training firm, advises companies to do their research before traveling, so they know what is expected of them. "All the gift giving and hospitality is very much ritual based. There is a lot of tradition," says Kate Berardo one of the trainers at Kwintessential. "There are also a lot of unwritten rules -- when you sit down to a meal there will be a hierarchy that represents people's power, based on where people sit."Read more: Gift Giving
cross cultural commerce
Many of us are involved with commerce at a global level these days, but our understanding of business still needs to be local, especially for the business traveler who has to deal face-to-face with colleagues, partners and competitors overseas.
What works in business at home does not always work abroad. CNN spoke with Gwyneth Olofsson, author of "When in Rome or Rio or Riyadh" -- a book covering cultural aspects for business behavior -- and got some of her tips for doing business overseas.Read more: CNN
diversity training is not easy
Most American workers have gone through some kind of diversity training. An employer brings in a special consultant or has an in-house human resources person deliver a message on the importance of accepting everyone in the workplace, no matter the person's race, religion, gender, physical ability or sexual orientation. And, according to at least one diversity expert, such training only serves to make the problem worse.
"It's what I call flea-dipping," says Rosalyn Taylor O'Neale, a diversity expert. "Companies must engage in a journey, as opposed to a "program,' because that means they will continue because they see results and it will become part of their culture."
O'Neale, former executive vice president of diversity for MTV Network, believes in a more thorough approach to diversity.Read more: Training
lack of cultural diversity = poor productivity and profitability
Bristol employers risk damaging future productivity and profitability by not recruiting a diverse mix of staff, according to a recruitment specialist. Lucy Bristow, managing director of recruitment specialists Lucy Bristow Appointments, based at Orchard Street, Bristol, believes there are real benefits to be gained from a workforce that more accurately reflects the population.
She said: "A diverse workforce also helps to inject new ideas and challenge traditional ways of doing things which may be hindering change and organisational progress. "This bringing together of dissimilar minds is of great value in an economy where innovation is imperative to long-term success."Read more: Diversity
isolation biggest factor in expats coming home
Isolation is the most common reason for expats to give up living abroad. In fact, according to the Office of National Statistics, about half the people who set off to live abroad eventually return. And the sense of isolation afflicts women most of all.
According to another survey, women are almost three times as likely as men to say that missing family and friends is a downside of living abroad. Far more than men, they miss their social life "back home" and find new friendships abroad superficial. Men are far more likely to be concerned about work, taxes and bureaucracy than they are about friendship.Read more: Expats
Sir Trevor Weighs In On The Language Debate
One of the UK’s most famous faces is putting his weight behind an effort to improve the country’s language skills. Sir Trevor McDonald is standing behind a new publication that says the UK needs to do better in languages in order to improve its competitiveness in international markets. Sir Trevor warned against the “dangerous assumption�? that English is enough for success in the global economy.
Talking World Class launched by CILT, the national center for languages, is a new publication put together in response to requests from funding bodies, government departments and economic development agencies looking for evidence of the need for language skills in the UK economy.Read more: Languages
languages permitted in US congress
Lawmakers can express themselves in Spanish or any other language in the US Congress, but they must provide a translation to ensure that their words are preserved for posterity in the congressional archives.
"Senate laws don't prohibit senators from speaking any language in plenary," said Noe Garcia, Spanish-language spokesperson for Bill Frist, the Republican leader of the Senate. "But the (Senate) secretary generally needs a translation to archive."
Fabiola Rodriguez, Spanish media director for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, says a senator must request "unanimous consent" before launching into a language other than English on the Senate floor, as Republican Mel Martinez did in February.Read more: Language
word of the day: ersatz
ersatz \AIR-sahts; UR-sats\, adjective:
Being a substitute or imitation, usually an inferior one.
Meanwhile, a poor copy was erected in the courtyard; many an unsuspecting traveler paid homage to that ersatz masterpiece. --Edith Pearlman, "Girl and Marble Boy," The Atlantic, December 29, 1999
All we can create in that way is an ersatz culture, the synthetic product of those factories we call variously universities, colleges or museums. --Sir Herbert Read, The Philosophy of Modern Art