Wednesday, 28 January 2015

A slower recovery

an article by Robert Peston for BBC Business News


There has been a slowdown in the British economy, driven by weaker construction, manufacturing and energy production - although it would be premature to see this as an end to the recovery.

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Recovery position

The View from HECSU by Charlie Ball

Today’s AGR survey findings reinforce that we are in a recovery – or at least a recovery for graduates. This builds on the High Fliers report from last week, and is very much along the same lines. That’s not surprising, as they’re both surveying the same employers – but the AGR has twice as many.

Let’s not fixate too much on the specific numbers – public sector recruitment will not be up 13% this year, the figure merely represents how important Teach First is to the sample. The AGR survey is excellent data for the AGR sample, but it’s not yet representative of the entire graduate jobs market. In that vein, it’s refreshing to see that the AGR have not included a salary figure in the press release as their salary figures, although fine in context of their high profile, high status graduate training schemes, are some way away from the experience of most graduates.

The crucial thing is that employment is on the up, and for graduates, the recession is essentially over and we’re well into recovery. Another sign that this is taking place is in the AGR noting that vacancies are going unfilled and students are turning down job offers. Some of the offers that business has become used to making in the last few years will look less attractive in a job market that is improving, and with applicants who are more confident that they have other options. And there are outright skills shortages - the AGR mention IT, where all the reports agree there are developing shortages of graduates.

So, the signs are that after a long period where employers held the all the cards when dealing with students and graduates, that the advantage may be moving back towards applicants. That doesn’t mean graduates won't have to work hard to get jobs, but it does mean that this year’s finalists can be a little more confident about the future.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Trivia (should have been 9 November)

Immense Chewing Candy: 1904
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Immense Chewing Candy: 1904
The Jersey shore circa 1904
“Young’s Hotel and Boardwalk, Atlantic City”
Where strollers confront a plenitude of amusements, confections and refreshments
8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company.
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The Sound So Loud That It Circled the Earth Four Times
via 3 Quarks Daily by Aatish Bhatia in Nautilus
On 27 August 1883, the Earth let out a noise louder than any it has made since.
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Gender, blah, blah, blah
Serious, intellectual writing is overwhelmingly male. Why? Ask the serious, intellectual gatekeepers of serious, intellectual magazines… more

Do you have a vulgar tongue?
via OUP Blog by Jonathan Green
Slang is in a constant state of reinvention. The evolution of language is a testament to our world’s vast and complex history; words and their meanings undergo transformations that reflect a changing environment such as urbanization. In The Vulgar Tongue: Green’s History of Slang, Jonathon Green extensively explores the history of English language slang from the early British beggar books and traces it through to modernity. He defends the importance of a versatile vocabulary and convinces us that there is dose of history in every syllable of slang and that it is a necessary part of contemporary English, no matter how explicit or offensive the content may be. Test your knowledge…how well do you know your history of slang?
Yes, it's yet another of them thar quizzes behind the link
However, unlike the ones you see all over social media, this one gives you your score and goes through the questions telling you the correct answers and why they are correct!!!
I liked that.

Little-Known Punctuation Marks That Need To Make A Comeback
via MakeUseOf by Dave LeClair who got it from Mental Floss
You know the question mark, exclamation point, and period, but have you heard of the love point? How about the acclamation point? If you haven’t, the infographic below will introduce you to each one, and they’ll even tell you how to enter them on your computer.
You just might learn a new way to express yourself, even if no one else will understand what you are trying to say.
See the Infographic for yourself

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Life of Penelope Fitzgerald
Penelope Fitzgerald, born into a remarkable family, was remarkable herself, not least for her persistence. She published her first book just shy of 60… more

“The Door to Hell” in Derweze, Turkmenistan
via Big Think by Robert Montenegro
Back in 1971, a group of soviet scientists had the bright idea to light a massive natural gas fire in the middle of the Turkmeni desert. Forty-three years later, the blaze still burns.
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Heaven and Earth
via 3 Quarks Daily by Brooks Riley
Go on, admit it. You've always wanted to come back as a capybara.
Why not? There are worst entities for a come-back kid when its mortal coil is taken up again. As a capybara you would live in a small community of peaceful vegans, free to join the party or to wander off on your own without being ostracized.
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Birth of pulp fiction
Mass-market paperbacks transformed the culture of reading, largely for the better. If no pulps, then no Philip Roth and Erica Jong… more

Half the remains of slain Vikings in England are female
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

In Warriors and women: the sex ratio of Norse migrants to eastern England up to 900 AD, published in 2011 in Early Medieval Europe 19/3, Medievalists from the University of Western Australia survey the remains of fallen Vikings found in eastern England that had been assumed to be male, partly because some were buried with sword and shield.
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Increasing the value of age: Guidance in employers’ age management strategies

A new Cedefop report draws attention to the mutual benefits to workers and organisations that arise when guidance is integrated in age management strategies. The report offers insights on how to develop guidance activities at the workplace.

As Europe’s population is ageing, many European States have raised pension age and designed incentives for people to stay longer in employment. This results in a steady increase of participation among older workers and a change in attitude towards retirement.

Older individuals face career development challenges such as growing health limitations, skills obsolescence, and changing personal priorities. At the same time, they have enormous value for organisations and the economy, due to their accumulated experience, skills and knowledge.

While age management strategies are increasing in organisations and firms across Europe, they are not necessarily supported by consistent policies and systems; and most still fail to exploit fully the potential of guidance.

Guidance activities help older workers to reflect about their professional experiences and assess their skills, needs and expectations. They support informed decisions on further training, retraining and development of key skills.

Guidance can also help reflect about part-time work, redeployment in new functions or development of entirely new activities. It can assist older workers in planning their mature career stages and exit strategies in a structured, informed way, increasing their motivation and productive contribution.

Firms can use guidance to harness the potential of their human resources, not only via the assessment of skills and knowledge, but also by enabling better allocation of resources and transmission of knowledge between generations of workers. It is a useful complement to validation procedures and the planning of training.

When implemented in a lifelong perspective, guidance allows for even more effective age management strategies, with smooth integration in internal processes and covering all of an enterprise’s staff.

Cedefop’s report aims to inspire actions and help Member States develop institutional frameworks and incentives to help enterprises devise age management and guidance strategies.

NOTE: both links are automatic downloads

Full report (PDF 132pp)

Background material: case studies (PDF 175pp)

Monday, 26 January 2015

Adolescent to parent violence: Framing and mapping a hidden problem

an article by Rachel Condry and Caroline Miles (University of Oxford) published in Criminology and Criminal Justice Volume 14 Number 3 (July 2014)


Adolescent to parent violence is virtually absent from policing, youth justice and domestic violence policy, despite being widely recognised by practitioners in those fields. It is under-researched and rarely appears in criminological discussions of family or youth violence.

This article presents the first UK analysis of cases of adolescent to parent violence reported to the police. We analyse victim, offender and incident characteristics from 1,892 cases reported to the Metropolitan Police in 2009–2010, most of which involved violence against the person or criminal damage in the home. Our findings reveal that adolescent to parent violence is a gendered phenomenon: 87 per cent of suspects were male and 77 per cent of victims were female.

We argue that the absence of adolescent to parent violence from criminological discourse must be addressed if criminology is to have a thorough understanding of family violence in all its forms.

Data shows that these 12 careers have a brilliant future

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has used extensive labour market intelligence to find out which will be fantastic careers to get into. Pay, careers opportunities, entry routes and personal development are all factors they’ve taken into account. Here’s an overview of 12 of the most exciting “careers of the future”.

See the infographic here

Careers of the Future (PDF 36pp)

Careers of the Future: background report (PDF 115pp)

Hazel’s comment:
Yes, the careers would seem to offer a stable future but to describe care work as exciting ....

Friday, 23 January 2015

Knowledge-based Hierarchies: Using Organizations to Understand the Economy

Occasional Paper Number 43 (October 2014) from the Centre for Economic Performance by Luis Garicano and Esteban Rossi-Hansberg


We argue that incorporating the decision of how to organise the acquisition, use, and communication of knowledge into economic models is essential to understand a wide variety of economic phenomena.

We survey the literature that has used knowledge-based hierarchies to study issues like the evolution of wage inequality, the growth and productivity of firms, economic development, the gains from international trade, as well as offshoring and the formation of international production teams, among many others.

We also review the nascent empirical literature that has, so far, confirmed the importance of organisational decisions and many of its more salient implications.

Full text (PDF 47 pp)