Post-Olympic blues for elite job seekers

There is growing evidence that some of the sports stars we were cheering on during the Olympic Games in London last year are in another race – for a job.

According to various media reports, many athletes have stopped competing and are now finding out that austerity Britain isn’t necessarily the best place to be looking for work.

Some say ’dozens’ of the 553 athletes who represented Team GB in London are job-hunting. At least 64 have quit their sports for a variety of reasons, while a further 24 are undecided about their futures, according to research published by the BBC. Continue reading

Openness, always the best policy

The public will forgive most things in the wake of a sincere apology – take any consumer scandal or public relations problem of recent years and it can be seen that in nearly all cases the transgression of the brand or person concerned was eventually forgotten.

There are exceptions, of course. If the offence was particularly grave or heinous, a recovery is not possible. The end of Gary Glitter’s pop career, the renaming of Gerald Ratner’s eponymous jewellery stores and the demise of the News of the World all testify to that. Continue reading

Swiss not immune to food crises

The horsemeat scandal has shone a bright light into a hitherto murky area of food supply – how meat actually gets from the abattoir to our plate. The complicated and convoluted logistics process behind the processed foods industry mean no one can be too sure where the meat in their pies, burgers and ready meals originated. Nor now that it is actually what it purports to be. Beef? Lamb? Horse? Who knows!

Up to now, Swiss retailers were confident they were immune. But is this confidence misplaced? There are warning signs. The Coop, Switzerland’s second-biggest supermarket group, has found traces of horse in some of its lasagna, produced by the French company Comigel – which also provided beef lasagna to Findus UK. Continue reading

Compulsion sometimes the best medicine

Politicians in Britain believe taking radical steps to deal with the pension shortfall would be electoral suicide. The idea people should take personal responsibility for their retirement income even seems unreasonable to some. But is it? It’s been done elsewhere. 

Another day and another survey claiming people don’t want to retire at 60 or 65 because they ‘don’t feel ready to stop working yet’ or have a ‘fresh attitude towards retirement’.

This kind of research is inherently suspect. Continue reading

Housing data and the illusion of recovery

That great barometer of UK consumer confidence, house prices, seems to be moving up. A glance at some of the British tabloids today shows that the combination of a very slight rise in house prices and a fourth consecutive monthly rise  in the number of people managing to buy their own home is front page news.

Why so?

Housing data has long been seen as a bellwether for economic confidence. Continue reading