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  • MicroFinance & Fintech

    Traditionally, microfinance has revolved around providing small loans to the underprivileged – women, minorities, and individuals suffering from poverty or lack of access to traditional financial services. Over time, the definition has broadened to include not just microcredit – but a variety of financial services such as savings accounts, insurance, and payment solutions, to a much wider audience. The aim of microfinance today is to provide affordable financial products and solutions to “everyone”. With a large portion of the world still unbanked, new technologies and services in the financial space offer a great avenue for improving the world of microfinance, particularly in the sphere of microcredit and small loans. When you hear the word microfinance, the typical thought that comes to mind is a group of women co-guaranteeing small loans for each other, using these loans of USD 200 to 500 to set up a small business. Fintech, in contrast is the use of advanced technology and innovation in the world of finance. What could the two possibly have in common you wonder? Fintech and microfinance may be closer allies than you might think. With both aiming to improve financial accessibility. By embracing fintech, microfinance institutions have the ability to achieve their mission faster, and more efficiently than they could ever imagine. There are many ways that the use of fintech in microfinance can be a huge opportunity for improving financial accessibility. Firstly, fintech can be leveraged to make loan disbursement and loan repayment easy and efficient – using mobile money, or mobile wallets that may already be in existence. Secondly, fintech’s data capability can be used to analyse profiles, make loan decisions, and improve communication. In both cases, the use of fintech can greatly improve the speed, and cost of doing business for these institutions. There are already a number of businesses making great progress in the overlapping sphere of microfinance and fintech. Tala, founded in 2011 is a US based mobile technology company that aims to serve the unbanked. With offices in Kenya, Philippines, Tanzania, Mexico, and India, the company allows individuals to gain personalised loans based on alternate credit checks. Tala’s mobile app uses cellphone data including call logs, text messages, and other behavioural data to build a customer’s credit profile, leading to instant loans ranging from USD 10 to USD 500. Loans are approved within minutes and disbursed through mobile payment platforms. Tala also helps customers build their credit profile by sharing this information with local credit bureaus, allowing them to secure larger loans in the future. Using a similar premise of alternate credit checks, China’s MYbank uses non traditional sources of data such as social network data, and payment transaction data to ascertain the ability of a business to repay its loans. Having loaned USD 290 billion to 16 million small companies over 4 years, this fintech backed by Alibaba is revolutionising lending in China. With an average loan size of  USD 1,500, and a default rate of just 1 per cent, this FinTech is allowing many small entrepreneurs, who would have otherwise been unable to gain access to a loan, grow their business beyond what they could have ever imagined. Talking about customising loans to the needs of the entrepreneur, Grab Financial, Southeast Asia’s leading fintech, has entered the lending space, offering drivers a suite of financial services. This includes loans, payment and insurance. By building an alternate credit scoring mechanism, Grab aims to tailor its product to the needs of a ride-sharing driver (unlike traditional car loans), and hopes to serve millions across Southeast Asia. These are just a few companies that are using fintech to reach the unbanked and the small business owner. As fintech grows, it is clear that microfinance will grow alongside.
  • The SoftBank Ecosystem

    Softbank Group Corp, one of Japan’s largest conglomerates, was established almost 40 years ago in 1981. Starting out as a software distributor, the company slowly ventured into publishing, followed by mobile communication, broadband, e-commerce, and software. The holding company currently has large investments in Yahoo Japan, Alibaba, Sprint, BrightStar, and Softbank Corp among others. The group also manages VisionFund, which is the world’s largest technology focused venture capital fund. After Toyota, SoftBank is Japan’s largest publicly traded company. The holding company’s vision is to “contribute to people’s happiness through the Information Revolution”, and to become “the corporate group needed most by people around the world.” This vision closely ties in with the company’s actions to advance the Information Revolution through leading technology and superior business models. According to the Group’s Chairman, Masayoshi Son, he has invented a strategy for the group to grow continuously for the next 300 years. This is the Cluster No. 1 Strategy, which entails building a holding company that owns majority shareholdings in leading companies in their fields, with ownership of  20-30%. The two primary features (investing in leading companies, and holding 20-30% shares) of this strategy are key to its success. This helps ensure that the companies part of the portfolio are truly contributing to the groups overall success, while non-performers are slowly divested away. Recent focus has been towards the venture capital fund, worth USD 10 billion, which has already dealt with one-tenth of worldwide VC volume in 2019.  Another part of SoftBank Group’s investment ecosystem, is that they do not heavily control the companies in the group. A key example is the investment in Alibaba, where no changes to the brand name were made despite a majority shareholding. Known to support and encourage startups, Softbank has invested in a number of firms in the tech space, including Uber, WeWork, PayPay,  and DoorDash.  Recent events however, may have forced Son to rethink his strategy. With WeWork’s failed IPO and the ousting of its co-founder Adam Neuman, Softbank has a new message for startups – “Your dreams better be profitable”. SoftBank Group may need to write down its investment in the venture, which is said to be worth only USD 15 billion (compared to USD 47 billion when SoftBank Group invested). In order to save some of its value, the company is believed to be bringing in Marcelo Claure, executive chairman of Sprint, to turn the business around.  Among other recent events, the Japanese hotel operator Unizo holdings recently withdrew its support for a USD 1.3 billion take-over bid by a SoftBank backed fund, after previously welcoming the same terms. It seems Softbank will need to raise its price, with the current market value being JPY 500 per share above the current offer.  Despite the recent turn of events with WeWork and Unizo, investor confidence in the firm is still high. SoftBank Group raised JPY 400 billion worth of bonds in less than 3 minutes last month – or 146 seconds to be precise. Investors raced to purchase these 7 year notes priced at 1.38%. Another JPY 500 billion was raised 5 months ago in April. While Son has an apparently sound business strategy in place, it is yet to be seen how long investor support remains.
  • Rolling in the Green

    According to a recent report by Grand View Research, the global, legal cannabis industry is expected to value USD 66.3 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 24 per cent. This includes both medical and recreational uses of the drug, as well as ancillary products. Another estimate by the Cowen group forecasts the market to be worth USD 75 billion by 2030. If you include the black market as well, estimates could easily double.  In today’s day and age, any industry with double digit growth forecasted well into the future is a cause of interest. And more importantly, concern. So is the marijuana industry really the investment opportunity of a lifetime? Or is it just a bubble waiting to burst? The cannabis industry consists of firms engaged in cultivation, dispensaries or recreational stores, infused product manufacturers, and ancillary services and products. Amongst these, the highest profitability lies with the ancillary services and products business, due to the low initial investment, and ability to charge premiums. In contrast, dispensaries, stores, and cultivators need to invest huge sums of money initially, making their ultimate profitability modest, at best.  If we look at cannabis related stocks in particular, companies with the highest profit margins, such as Innovative Industrial Partners (profit margin of 51 per cent), and Constellation Brands (profit margin of 42 per cent),  these firms are either involved in ancillary businesses or have a diversified business portfolio. While many countries have legalised cannabis in varied forms, and many more are expected to follow suit, there are still many challenges being faced in the industry. Strict laws, red tape, and varying regulations from country to country and state to state make the industry a landmine to be maneuvered carefully through. In the US for example, banks are not yet allowed to deal with the industry, forcing businesses to manage large amounts of cash. While this is expected to change soon, it is an example of one of the many regulatory challenges faced by the industry even within the legal sphere. More than half the states in the US have currently legalised the use of cannabis in some form or the other, out of which 10 states have legalised adult consumption (recreational use). Out of the total global sales forecast for 2025, half are expected to come from the US alone. Other large markets include Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, and Mexico. Canada was the first industrialised nation to legalise marijuana use last year (2018), leading to rapid investment into, and growth of the industry. Looking towards Europe, Germany is one of the most advanced when it comes to legalisation of marijuana use. Not only is medical marijuana legalised, it is also covered by insurance, and is relatively easy to get a prescription.  However, with growth of cannabis being forbidden in the country, there is a heavy reliance on imports, primarily from Canada. While marijuana laws in the UK are currently strict, the UK’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has recently opened up to the benefits of cannabis and physicians are expected to soon be allowed to prescribe the drug. The industry is thus expected to grow at a rapid pace.  As public perceptions towards the drug begin to change, and more and more countries open up to the idea of legalising cannabis in some form, the industry is expected to gain momentum. As with any industry however investors need to be cautious with their money, and ensure they are getting the right bang for their buck.
  • Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Invade the Banking Landscape

    Just this March 2019, members of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) gave a warning statement on the potential risks banks face regarding the steady global growth of the cryptocurrency industry. The BCBS is an international organization that aims to develop regulation and supervision of banking standards worldwide. The group is made up of banking regulatory authorities and Central Banks from 45 member countries. Since the crypto industry isn’t managed by any government or public authority, it remains unsafe and unreliable as a long-term medium of exchange. Acts of money laundering, hacking, fraud, and terrorist financing have been observed countless times and continue to remain as issues to be resolved within the crypto community. Despite the growing concern on the crypto industry’s instability, lack of security, and unaccountability, large financial institutions are looking at the bright side of the technology. Adoption has been slow, but key industry players are starting to act on fitting the blockchain technology into their future strategies. Last February 2019, J.P. Morgan announced the release of its digital currency called JPM Coin. Unlike Bitcoin which is considered an asset that people can invest in, the JPM Coin is used more as a tool for immediately processing transactions between financial institutions located in different countries – a function more like what Ripple provides. The JPM Coin is currently limited to business-to-business transactions only which involve the large movement of money. The company plans to release the technology to the public after it’s done with the testing phase. Banco Santander, one of the largest banking institutions in Europe, recently announced its agreement with IBM to enhance the bank’s services using emerging technologies, including blockchain, big data, and artificial intelligence. The $700-million deal aims to reduce annual IT spend and significantly improve the institution’s flexibility in accommodating modern IT requirements. In the Asia-Pacific region, the banking behemoth HSBC is leading the pack after completing its first letter of credit transaction using blockchain technology. The cross-border transaction happened between two offices of MTC Electronics in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. With traditional methods, the transaction would have taken 10 days to process. But by exchanging documents through R3’s Voltron platform, the deal was processed in just 24 hours. Banks interested in integrating the blockchain technology and introducing crypto-related assets must first possess the technical expertise to sufficiently assess the risks involved in associating themselves with the crypto market. These capabilities, though, are often seen not in established financial institutions but in emerging challenger banks. Challenger banks are defined as small, modern, retail banks with a more customer-centric approach in providing financial services. They have better flexibility in absorbing technological advancements, including blockchain and cryptocurrency. Atom, Starling, and Monzo are examples of mobile-only, challenger banks who have developed their own disruptive technologies to tackle the everyday banking needs of customers which traditional institutions fail to provide. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology continue to change the financial landscape in ways that may not be as widespread and obvious as people expect them to be. Still, it’s satisfying to know that both traditional and challenger banks are working toward integrating these technologies. Their actions confirm that the financial sector seriously considers the advantages of blockchain technology and digital currency in improving existing processes and services.
  • Fair playing field

    Yesterday, Gavin Newsom, the Californian Govern, passed Senate Bill 206 aka the Fair Pay to Play Act into law. The Bill will finally allow American university (college) sports players to profit from their name, image and likeness. Due to come into effect in 2023, should it survive, it has infuriated the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the association responsible for supporting college athletes. Though registered as a nonprofit organisation the NCAA reported a revenue of over $1.1 billion in 2017 and that has annoyed the public.  Most of the press has fallen on the side of the college athletes calling the system currently in place “bankrupt”. Newsom is certain that other states will follow suite and begin to ease the grip which they have on students’ earning potential. However, polls conducted by Morning Consult into this very subject, appear to show a different story. Though participants in the survey agree that students should profit from partnership with brands: 47% to 35%; many believe that the scholarship given adequately count for the payment for the services which the athletes perform. When asked if they believed college athletes should be paid most said “No”: 45% (32% — Yes and 22% — unsure). Why? Well, it’s difficult to say. But, 48% ‘Strongly Agree’ or ‘Somewhat Agree’ that the NCAA’s purpose is to prepare students for professional sports careers. Unfortunately, this transition from student to professional athlete is a rather leaky bucket.  According to the USNews the average student-athlete scholarship is roughly $18,000; this appears a lot until you realise that the average annual university fees are nearly double that figure at $33,215 according to the TimesHigherEduction. These ‘students’ are also put under significant pressure balancing academia (estimated at 30hours) and sports (20-hours) eclipsing the average working week of Americans which stands at 35-hours. So pervasive is the sports aspect within the lives of these students that many identify firstly as ‘athletes’, then as ‘students’. Unfortunately, this is reality will be short-lived for many. Few will be drafted by an NBA team (1.2%) and using the NCAA’s statistics which excludes those turing pro, transfer or drop out there is a dismal graduation rate of 59%. And, this is before we discuss the gruelling injuries and long 15-hour day.  The entire system is of course built on giving people, those that might otherwise not afford to be able to attend tertiary education an ‘in’ and a step along the path to social mobility. Yet, we should not use this concept as a byword for exploitation. This move to give more power to student-athletes for greater financial and career freedom is a welcome one, but there still needs to be more changes in the system.  
  • Everything You Need to Know About Facebook and its Cryptocurrency, Libra

    Basics: Libra — Facebook’s Cryptocurrency

    Facebook recently announced its own cryptocurrency, Libra. Facebook aspires to make this digital currency a global currency for billions of people, and become mainstream in the developing countries where people have limited access to banking and financial services.  Basically, Libra will allow you to do everything that you could do with physical currency. You will be able to buy things, send money to people, and so on. 

    How Will Libra Work?

    According to the white paper of Libra: Libra is a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people. Libra is made up of three parts that will work together to create a more inclusive financial system:
    1. It is built on a secure, scalable, and reliable blockchain;
    2. It is backed by a reserve of assets designed to give it intrinsic value;
    3. It is governed by the independent Libra Association tasked with evolving the ecosystem.
    Thus, the currency will run on blockchain, much similar to the Bitcoin which is the first cryptocurrency we ever had. For starters, blockchain is an unchangeable, digital database which stores all the transactions ever made in a given cryptocurrency.  It is important to mention here that blockchain is a decentralized database. This means that every transaction that is processed is verified by a range of independent contractors called nodes rather than a single central bank. This makes it difficult to hack, which in turn, enhances its security as there is no single entity that can be hacked. 

    So, Is Libra a cryptocurrency?

    Well, there is no straight answer to this question. Partially yes, and partially no.  Why you might ask? This is because the Libra is not decentralized the way the Bitcoin is. While anyone can run a node in Bitcoin, this is not the case with Libra. In Libra’s case, a node may only be run from the servers of the Libra Association’s members which include Paypal, Facebook, Uber and the like. In a way, it can be said that none of these members will individually determine the state of Libra and it will be a collective effort, which is pretty much in line with the ethos of blockchain.  But people have mixed views about it. The buzz is that Libra will be controlled by mega-corporations and the chances are high that the Libra Association will succumb under pressure. 

    What do Central Banks Think about Libra?

    Libra is scheduled to be launched in 2020, but people are skeptical about its launch. Although Facebook has assured everyone that it won’t use the details and data related to the payment to target adverts at the of Libra, users still remain skeptical. People lost their trust in Facebook when it made headlines with the security breach and questionable actions involving Cambridge Analytica. Following the incident, Facebook’s usage fell by more than 10 per cent within a month.  Not only individuals, but also regulators are closely monitoring the launch of Libra, with both excitement and trepidation. Lawmakers in both the EU and US are cautious about the recent expansion of Facebook into the financial domain. Additionally, France has also expressed its speculation towards Libra by highlighting that money can only be minted by the government; whilst the Bank of England has also issued an advisory that Facebook’s Libra will need to meet high financial standards to be allowed in the UK.

    Consumer Technology Firms and Finance

    However, Facebook is not the only technology brand flirting within the digital finance space or specifically cryptocurrency. In fact, it marks a continued trend. Yahoo, for instance, owns a 40 per cent stake in Taotao, a Japanese crypto exchange. Though the position of Yahoo in this deal is not clear yet, its stake is worth 2-3B Yen (£14-22M).  Amazon has also reportedly registered a number of crypto-related domains like AmazonCryptocurrencies.com and AmazonEthereum.com. However, the main motive behind this move of Amazon might not be as interesting as the public believes. The VP of Amazon Pay, Patrick Gauthier, told CNBC that Amazon doesn’t plan to accept cryptocurrencies anytime soon due to lack of serious demand.  Going by this statement, the reason behind registering these domain names could be to protect the Amazon brand name. These purchases were made at the zenith of Bitcoin’s price (around Oct-Nov 2017), when fraudulent activity relating to cryptocurrencies was also said deemed to be very high. Instead, the firm is most likely to venture into the “new era of commerce” which Gauthier believes is voice activated payments.   On similar lines, Apple has launched ApplePay, Alibaba has its Alipay. WeChat has WeChat Pay. Not only this, Tencent QQCoin with its intricate and interesting history proves the staying power and significant demand for these firm’s financial products.   Keeping all these cases in mind, the fear of many financial services firms seems to be taking hold as well-established technological behemoths venture into their territory. But what does this mean for the users? Well, the truth is, we will have to wait to watch. However, it is clear that cryptocurrencies are here to stay with us, and it will be interesting to see how things unveil themselves shortly.  
  • Model Representation: Who is Shudu?

    The modelling industry has received a lot of criticism for its failure to adequately represent a more realistic cross section of society. It’s figureheads are deemed too white and too unhealthy: an unattainable ideal. When large well-known brands like… Prada, who has only twice opened its runway shows with a black model, the first time being Naomi Campbell 21-years ago (!) any further black representation in high fashion is a big deal. So, when in April 2017 a new model called Shudu appeared on Instagram, the world was interested.  Shudu possesses a “deep dark” skin tone and is a striking model making her a new phenomenon in the modelling world. She’s hip and joins the likes of Gigi, Kendall and Lucky Blue — models who have used social media to gain huge followings, social capital and ultimately financial wealth. Though not quite at the level of these one named stars, Shudu has amassed an Instagram following of nearly 200,000. She’s at “influencer” status. However, where Shudo differs is that she’s not actually real. Shudu is a total CGI creation.  Cameron-James Wilson, her “creator” only came out in February 2018 to announcing that this model was not a “real person, but an art piece” he was working on at the moment. It felt unnerving. That a white man could so easily profit from and control the perception of women, and specifically black women was triggering and for some too familiar. His admittance to noticing and benefitting from the current “movement with dark skin models”, taking away paid employment from ‘real’ models makes this story all the more concerning.  Of course Wilson has tried to dampen the critics; by saying he and Shudu were “inspired” by various parts of more famous black models like Iman and Duckie; which likens her, though unintentionally, to the Sarah Baartman aka ‘Hottentot Venus’. Another female black representation, that was literally torn into parts to be studied and displayed for her sexual allure in a Parisian museum until the 1970s. Shudu is not the first digital model or CGI influencer. She joins the likes of Lil Miquela, Blawko, Lil Wavi and the assortment of influencers under Wilson’s portfolio. What is most noticeable among this digital army is the high percentage of ethnic minorities within their ranks. Almost an over-representation to what is seen in general society and in these industries into which they are ‘breaking’. Their presence is more pronounced and by virtue of being one of the few minorities in those spaces they risk creating a new threat of digital-generated erasure. Moreover, since they are literal model citizens, they unknowingly alter the needle when it comes to ideal looks and behaviours of these minority groups. They also bring back the defunct ideology ofrespectability politics’. No human can compete with an obedient, perfectly fit character with no troubling history of bad tweets.   What many outlets have failed to mention is that Wilson is taking action in Shudu. She is inspired by a team of muses. Real black women that write her narrative, provide the realistic beautiful imperfections, teach her to walk and smize like a human model. Similarly, Blawko and Lil Miquela managed under Brud, are created by the collective creative Trevor McFedies. They present a new way in which technology is creating opportunities for minorities to creatively express and represent themselves. However, this is still a very worrying tale about who is creating how certain groups are seen, particularly minority groups.  Though there are lots of possibilities with technology, we need to recognise the uneven effects on people. Bringing it back to HR/ People… I think of who is hired and their effect on the how the world is perceived. Shudu can be a good thing and has jobs to several minority women; but we can’t deny that ultimately, her creator is from an already well-represented group.  
  • Women: The Biggest Change in UK Trade Unionism

    Trade Unions (TU) are potentially moving into a transformative phase in the UK, especially due to Jeremy Corbyn’s pro-union stance, that appears to be aimed at reviving the TU movement.  Not only as the overall number of employees enrolled in TUs increased to 6.35 million in 2018, a two-year consecutive annual increase, but also, the proportion of employees who were members increased from 23.3% in 2017 to 23.4% in 2018. However, the biggest gains were for the female TU membership, female employees being members of TUs increased to 26.2% reaching 3.52 million in 2018 from 3.39 million members in 2017.  The reasons cited for this trend are diverse. They include the fact that there has been a steady rise in female employment, and steady but low decline in female membership of TUs. This is in contrast to male membership which has declined significantly over the past decade.  Inclusion of larger number of women in TUs can be expected to lead to some very interesting outcomes, both in the ways, the TUs operate, and the issues that take the centre stage for TUs.  It can be seen as a pivotal starting point for women-focused issues like development of female-supportive work environments. It is interesting to note, that the basic profile of an average TU member still remains the same, other than the fact that a large number of them are now women. Most TU members are still 35 years or over, and from public sector organisations, indicating that the biggest gains in TUs will be expected in the public sector. However, the employment trends in the public sector indicate a steady reduction of jobs, with 1 million further jobs likely to be cut in the coming years. It will be interesting to follow how the growth in TUs’ strength  may influence this trend For the majority of their history, TUs have largely ignored female participation. The underlying reason being that women were seen as passive participants, reluctant to participate in industrial action and prioritising their families over unionism. This approach to women has led TUs to ignore the typical issues that women may be facing at their workplaces. More often than not, gender discrimination issues taken up by TUs have been confined to those related to sexual harassment, rather than aimed at levelling the playing field for women. TU activities in the past have not truly supported female employees. For example, teaching Assistants in Derby and Dunham schools, mostly women, were left to fight against pay cuts of up to 25% on their own, as their TUs did not provide the needed support. Also, though women may not have led much of TU activism, a lot of TU activity has been propelled by female workers’ rising against workplace discrimination. Several examples from the past indicate that women in TUs can make a powerful and sustainable impact on governmental policy-making. The recent changes are poised to make a major shift in the internal culture of trade unions and to probably make them more open and women-friendly. With more female members in the unions, it is a possibility that the unions would actively work toward reducing the gender pay gap which still stands at 18% less pay for women, though the issue is more marked in the private sector where union numbers are low.   Also, internal organisational restructuring of trade unions may be called for, with the inclusion of more women as members. Conceptually,  TUs may have women cells to deal with female issues or set aside quotas for women to be placed in decision-making positions, but, due to low representation earlier, such prescriptive approaches have not achieved much. Now, with growth in female leadership, it can be expected that female leadership will emerge in the TUs. Until recently, most TUs were led by males, with Francis O’Grady being an exception as the first female General Secretary of the TUC. This, too, is likely to change with the surge in female membership and more active participation of younger women in trade unions. With more women in decision-making and leadership capacity in the unions, some areas that can be explored by trade unions with the change in their internal structuring could include issues that have been glaringly neglected earlier, like gender-based ageism and violence against women. Another area that may be up for debate and support from unions could be convincing male members to take on family caring responsibilities equally with female members, so as to challenge workplace discrimination more effectively. TUs can be expected to grow and re-orient themselves to deal with more “women-focussed” issues. Not only overt or explicit barriers to female workplace participation and compensation may be addressed but more intricate and institutional and structural barriers may be seen as targets for union’s focus in the coming years.  
  • Role of Modern HR Technology in Finding Great Employees

    Hiring highly capable people and retaining them is a challenging task. According to the 2017 McKinsey research on Attracting and Retaining the Right Talent, 82 % of the business leaders think their companies are not hiring the right candidates, while only 7% believe that they can retain their highly-skilled employees. Do you also think it is hard to find great employees? Do countless resumes stress you out?  Here is how modern HR technology can help! 

    Talent Acquisition Software

    Whether your company is a single enterprise or has several branches in different cities or countries, talent acquisition software enables you to reach the best and most talented candidates. It cuts the hiring costs and reduces the administrative burden associated with recruitment. It does so by automatically analysing the resume, screening the candidates, and may also schedule an interview.  You can apply filters to shortlist qualified candidates that fit best to the vacancy. Adapting it will help you to eliminate the financial risks involved in the recruitment process and also helps to find new talent.  RecruiterFlow, Yello, Workable and ICIMS are some of the top talent acquisition software that can help you in streamlining and automating your recruitment process.

    Social Media

    Various social mediums like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. have now become necessary tools for HR departments. These mediums are helpful when posting new jobs and they may help firms reach out to fresh talent in the industry. According to the study by Aberdeen Group published by Forbes, 73% of the job hunters have found their job from social media platform. So, adopting these channels will serve your hiring purpose in no time. 

    Human Resource Management System

    Unlike other technology, HRM software is designed to manage the complex tasks of HR. More often, it is one software which connects all or most parts of the HR function. From recruitment and training to performance analysis, timesheet and payroll, the software handles all aspects and lets you focus on the other important and strategic elements.  HRMSs can be useful for ‘internal recruitment’ activities. They may help in identifying potential leaders or areas requiring improvement. These in-turn may assist companies so they may more appropriately support candidates and greatly aid the succession planning process. They are a marked improvement on the subjective 9-box grid method still widely used for succession planning. Firms such as Ceridan, an HR capabilities platform, are demonstrating that it is possible.   Apart from simplifying and aiding various complex processes, the software also reduces manual errors that arise during the completion of forms for storing information or documents electronically. Moreover, it also prevents data breaches. Data security and privacy are always critical factors for HR. Usage of multiple mobile devices and various applications at work leads to continuous interchangeability of personal and company devices. This results in data mixing hence increasing security challenges. Verizon’s 2019 data breach investigation report has reported 2,013 data breaches across 86 countries. To ensure data security, you can hide confidential information, save your precious time, and improve the productivity of the recruitment process by using this tool.  

    Big Data

    Big data is a massive collection of structured and unstructured data. When it is used in the recruiting process, it helps to access, analyze, and find the ideal employee for your organization. Not only it screens resumes based on specific keywords but also lets you know the candidate before the individual arrives for the interview Though you can obtain the information from various other sources as well, big data gives you an analytical approach to predict the success of candidate for a specific role.  Companies are increasingly using Big Data for transforming human resources. The usage of big data has helped Xerox in the hiring process. It helped them save their time and money and enables them to focus on customer satisfaction and efficiency.  So ease your tasks by reducing the time-consuming process and find excellent employees quickly for your organization by using modern technology tools.  
  • China’s own Bitcoin?

    A senior official at the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) recently confirmed that the state was “close to” releasing an official cryptocurrency, after five years of rigorous research. While no timelines have yet been confirmed, speculations include that the currency may be revealed in time for “Singles Day”, China’s busiest shopping day of the year. This news came soon after the release of Facebook’s whitepaper regarding Libra, a new cryptocurrency expected to surpass the bitcoin in popularity and use. In the past, the PBoC has strongly opposed bitcoin and financial institutions have been prohibited from holding the cryptocurrency since 2013. Regarding Libra, a senior official at China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, explained that “Facebook’s Libra could have a major impact on China’s foreign exchange management and cross-border capital flows, as well as affecting the RMB’s internationalization.” In contrast to a typical cryptocurrency however, China’s state backed digital currency will be supported by a two-tiered system, with PBoC at the first tier and commercial banks at the second. Commercial banks will be required to deposit 100 per cent reserve to the central bank, ensuring there is no over representation of the currency and the PBoC retains complete control over the supply of money. These commercial banks will then be responsible for distribution to individuals and businesses. The digital currency is expected to help improve financial inclusion, with users being able to download digital wallets to their smartphones, and exchange yuan for the digital currency. This will help increase access to a wider audience, with half of China’s population owning smartphones. While anonymity will be maintained at the user level, it is expected that the state bank will have complete visibility of transaction data, allowing the flow of money to be tracked by identity. This can help the state bank measure the velocity of currency and improve its monetary policy, along with increased surveillance of businesses and individuals; ultimately helping to prevent money laundering, fraud, and tax evasion. State backed digital currencies have recently gained serious traction in the international markets. Referring to the same, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of IMF, recently stated, “The case is based on new and evolving requirements for money, as well as essential public policy objectives. My message is that while the case for digital currency is not universal, we should investigate it further, seriously, carefully, and creatively.” Currently, a number of other countries have already initiated their own state backed digital currencies or have finalized the details and are close to release. These include the Marshall Islands’ “SOV”, Senegal’s “eCFA”, and Tunisia’s “eDinar” amongst others. Canada, Thailand, Uruguay and Israel are among some of the countries currently in the research phase, and are seriously considering some form of state backed digital tender. There are still others, including Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and the United Kingdom that have already rejected the possibility of a centralized digital currency due to the high level of risk involved. Rather than making bitcoin an accepted legal tender, most countries seem to prefer launching their own digital currency that can replace paper-based currency and remain in the state bank’s control State backed digital currencies, while may not be able to replace bitcoin, are a huge step forward in the evolution of money. While many questions regarding the actual mechanics behind these currencies and how successful they will be are yet to be answered, improved financial inclusion, internationalization of currency, and greater control over money supply are among the key benefits expected.   

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