employment

You might be awkward in the spotlight and less than attractive but that need not stop you from becoming a television star, according to a burgeoning industry that has sprung up in Seoul to train and groom would-be TV announcers.

Korea’s three major broadcasting companies hire only three to five announcers a year, typically to host news or entertainment shows. The jobs are in high demand – a recent opening at the SBS network attracted 2,000 applicants – reflecting the prestige of the country’s successful entertainment industry, as well as an increasingly tough jobs market for young graduates. 

Amid the encircling gloom, a boost for the Polish economy on Tuesday: Volkswagen is to spend around 3.4bn zlotys ($1.1bn) to build a factory at Września in Poland’s Wielkopolska province. It will make VW’s Crafter delivery vans, currently built under contract by Daimler at two German factories, from the end of 2016. “Volkswagen has trusted the Poles once again,” said Janusz Piechociński, deputy prime minister. 

The wrong sort of jobs

Sub-Saharan Africa has enjoyed rapid growth over the past 20 years but its citizens seem not to share the zeal of some frontier market watchers. The region’s levels of poverty have not sunk nearly as quickly as East Asia’s (see chart below). Africans routinely complain that wealth has not trickled down.

Why is this? 

One step forward, one step . . . well, if not exactly backwards, sort of sideways?

Mexican inflation data for the first fortnight of February looked a lot brighter than a month ago, when the impact of new taxes, including on fizzy drinks and junk food, pushed consumer prices to an eight-month high. 

Riding off into the sunset, taking EMs with them…

The US Federal Reserve may have underestimated the speed of falling unemployment in the US. This could be bad news for emerging market assets.

Fund managers like to refer to the Fed as ‘the world’s central banker’. Certainly, the drama over quantitative easing has sent two sets of shockwaves through emerging markets – one triggered last May by the mere mention of tapering; and the latest this January following the Fed’s December move to slow it’s rate of asset purchases. But all the Fed really cares about is the US economy, which is why every piece of new US data is pored over as carefully by emerging market bond and equity managers as their colleagues following US and European equities.

So they would be worried to read the latest research from Keith Wade, Schroders’ chief economist. 

Multinational companies should be spending 30 per cent of their global research and development budget in India – or so says Zinnov, a management consultancy. It’s a bold claim that throws up several questions about India’s talent pool and potential.

In a new report, Zinnov studies the 500 global companies that spend the most on R&D – a group that together invests some $577bn on R&D worldwide. 

India is a country where GDP per capita is less than $1,500 a year, and where people have big aspirations and are often overqualified for their jobs.

So it comes as a surprise to read new research showing that Indians take more satisfaction in their work than their peers in the US, the UK, France and Germany. 

Workers of Russia – go private!

Who wants to work for Putin? Fewer and fewer people, according to Russian statistics.

From 2000 to 2011, the number of people employed by state and municipal authorities has fallen, while the number of private sector workers has risen by a third. This does not necessarily show a decline of big government – but it does remove some of its authority, perhaps. 

Is Poland’s sluggish economy on the road to recovery? There were further signs that it might be on Tuesday, as retail sales in June showed a bigger than expected expansion of 1.8 per cent compared with the same month last year, and unemployment continued to edge down. 

McDonald’s burgers, Bata shoes, Titan watches – household names with stores on most of the India’s main streets. But rather than run the operations themselves, these popular brands are using franchises to access the Indian market – and other businesses are catching on.

Operating via franchise, a business structure where companies licence out the right to sell products or provide services in their name, allows businesses to expand rapidly. A report suggests that total sales made through franchisees in India, valued at $13.4bn in 2012, will quadruple by 2017. 

Polish retail sales grew in May according to figures released on Tuesday, in a sign that growth in the Polish economy is slowly accelerating. Sales were up 0.5 per cent year on year, above market expectations of a 0.1 per cent fall.

Households remain cautious about spending but the figure provides some grounds for optimism. Sales of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics grew by an annual 10.5 per cent, while sales of vehicles and durable goods increased by an annual 5.1 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively. 

With a record 7m students graduating from China’s more than 2,000 colleges this month, many Chinese media have marked June as the “most difficult season to get jobs“. And as indicators suggest the Chinese economy is losing steam fast, there have also been suggestions that 2013 will be worse than ever for new graduates seeking employment.

However, a closer look shows that much of the bad news is hype. 

At just 3 per cent, South Korea’s jobless rate should be the envy of many advanced countries suffering from high unemployment in the global economic slowdown. But many young South Koreans find the job market tough to crack, while the country’s rapidly ageing population presents a headache to policy makers keen to maintain high rates of economic growth. 

In another sign that the benefits of faster economic growth in the Philippines have yet to trickle down, the country’s jobless rate in April rose to 7.5 per cent, the highest in almost four years, the government statistics office said Tuesday.

That is roughly in the same quarter that GDP surged 7.8 per cent, the highest in more than two years. Asia’s fastest growing economy also has one of the region’s biggest unemployment problems. 

While Generation Y is notoriously disloyal when it comes to employment, new Indonesian university graduates stand out. Sixty per cent switch jobs in their first three years of employment and more than a third change company at least twice, according to new research from Boston Consulting Group.

Old timers may view this new generation as fickle but BCG, a management consultancy, says its finding is symptomatic of a severe talent shortage in Indonesia that threatens to undermine the much-hyped growth prospects of southeast Asia’s biggest nation.