Archive for the ‘research’ Category

The population of the UK hit a new high of 61.4 million in the middle of 2008. This jump in population is despite a drop in migration to the country since 2007 since the government have started the biggest clampdown on immigration since World War 2.

So while Immigration Minister Phile Woolas informs us that our borders are tighter than ever – and anyone who’s looked at the immigration requirements will testify to this – our population is stil growing thanks to the highest birth rate since 1973.

Somewhat hypocritically though, while our government feeds the red-top tabloids by making it increasingly harder for foreigners to think of UK removals, the amount of British people making use of other countries’ immigration rules continues to grow.

As if there’s just too many of us to stay put, the number of us emmigrating overseas to Australia grew again in 2008. In fact, 395,000 Brits decided that all the bad weather, bad leadership and recession was enough and that Australia seemed a far better destination. Most of them through the Australian General Skilled Migration Programme – after all, they’re crying out for workers over there.

Not just Australia either, three Britons quit the country every minute. While you may say “it’s nothing to do with the government” you’d be wrong – since 1997, two million UK nationals have decided on emmigrating overseas. It is the largest level of emigtation since the first World War. And what happened in 1997? Yep, Labour’s coming of power.

If the Conservatives make government as seems so inevitable, I can’t see our borders opening up. If we continue getting out at the same rate, will there be any of us Brits left?

Regular readers (and I’m proud and honoured to have them) will know that the whole international removals subject is one that I often delve into, occasionally consider and (worryingly) discuss with colleagues.

moving to south africa

Having posted here about the strict requirements involved in moving to South Africa, my attention was drawn – via i-chat – to an article about the the perils involved. The article pointed out something that (as someone who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the game) that the 2010 World Cup is going to be heldp there which shows that South Africa is moving forward.

Thing is, that at the same time, there’s been a massive rise in gun crime and countless tv shows showing just how far the troubles in places like Johannesburg has gone. All I can remember is the scene in Leathal Weapon 3 (diplomatic immunity!) where Joe Pesci and Danny Glover head to the South African embassy expressing a desire in moving to South Africa only to get convinced its a bad idea. 

And yet.. there’s also the IPL. That the second season of the Indian Premier League is now to be held in South Africa suggests that it’s a safe place. Especially as the only controversy around it so far is that it’s been moved out of India rather than the fact that it’s headed to a place many media outlets still treat like a civil war zone. 

And yet… in my former workplace a colleague reported that every time he’d visited his partner’s family over there with her he’d been mugged or attacked. Surely it can’t be as bad as reports state or it wouldn’t remain such a popular choice for sporting events and expats, would it??

I’m still extremely baffled by what the real state of things there is. There’s so many conflicting reports, I’d love to know if it’s a safe place to move to, and, what it really is like over there, anyone?

OK, the explosion of social media is not something that can be ignored either by its users and, now (finally) by the media and (possibly unfortunately) businesses.

to post or not to post?

to post or not to post?

That businesses are making more and more use of the opportunities offered by social media optimisation is little surprise. That businesses, and therefore potential employers, are now getting up to speed on the once fun-only social sites and tools  is affecting the way they’re used on a personal level is now becoming increasingly evident.

I’ve now been in two companies where, during quieter moments, candidates have been looked up on facebook to see what “they’re really like.” A well documented practice that has led to people either blocking all but their friends from viewing and (I’ve known several people do this already) close their accounts entirely because they feel social sites (and their online lives) are up for interrogation from companies.

This morning I read an account of how a brief twitter exchange could cost you your job, I apologise for forgetting the source but I’m sure it can be easily found. It goes like this, someone got offered a job and posted up the following tweet:

“Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

Unfortunately, social-savvy Cisco were following the candidate and replied with a brisk: 

“Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

Of course, this is only one example of what I’m sure are many “oops, I really shouldn’t have posted that there,” but the  presence of companies and their reps on twitter is only going to increase. Given that estimates now place some 6 million users (myself included) clocking up something like 55 million views a month, twitter has been propelled to the third biggest social media site and has forced the biggest (Facebook) to sit up and take notice – there’s surely been countless articles on the new app. 

But, as more companies join the tweet flow and social medial fun, is it now limiting the freedom with which users once operated and, accordingly, removing the original elements – and fun – that attracted so many users to them in the first place?

I spend a lot of time following the ups and downs of the auto industry as it bounces around in time with every stupid financial decision the government makes here and look at today’s news shows the picture isn’t prettier in the US either.

While the Big 3 had some well-documented issues late last year (and surely still are) it looks like the Japanese manufacturers are in dire States too. To be honest, with their range of smaller vehicles proving more gas efficient I would have expected their to be no trouble selling new Mazdas but the Japanese manufacturer are cutting 110 jobs from the North American workforce.

Mazda said: “We’re doing what we need to do to remain competitve in the current environment.”

But is that the case for Nissan too? The future isn’t looking to good for new Nissans either as the company announced plans to cut it’s advanced-planning team in California. Surely reducing the amount given over to planning new vehicles is only going to hinder their competitiveness?

Don’t you need to always planning your next move if you’re going to succeed in such a volitile market. Will cutting your resources in that area really help?

I’m starting to get the worrying feeling that my initial optimism in the recovery of the market was wrong and that we may yet to have seen the worst. Is their worse to come for the auto industry?

You know, my recent encounter with the over enthusiastic paintball seller got me thinking. Even knowing how much fun they’ve been in the past at other companies, would I actually want to partake in any corporate days out with my colleauges? 

This isn’t a miserable git thing. I think that it’s a modern-workplace thing. Maybe in the past when people sat in cubicles or personal offices, communication and knowing who you really worked with was trickier. Yet in the age of the open-plan office, have we had too much of our colleauges? 

I read a report recently that stated: “The high level of noise causes employees to lose concentration, leading to low productivity, there are privacy issues because everyone can see what you are doing on the computer or hear what you are saying on the phone, and there is a feeling of insecurity.” 

Anyone agreee? How often do you find yourself unable to throw yourself into your task because the person at the desk next to you is talking a bit too loud on the phone, or the people behind are muttering and you can’t help but shake that feeling it’s about what’s on your screen? 

And this is only looking at the morale issue, ever noticed how quickly a cold spreads in an open plan office?

I’m actually leaning toward the idea that morale would be boosted by seperating staff again. I think I know far too much about some of the people I work with and the idea of shooting them with a paintball gun seems somewhat defeatist as it’s only paint… 

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting that we should all be locked away in little 4ft square cubicles but I get the feeling that open plan offices have gone a little too far. My morale would probably do better with a break from some colleagues rather than sharing some corporate fun with them.

I would like to know if I’m on my own in this one or if anyone else finds the open plan office more of a hindrance to productivity?

Moving to New Zealand seems a popular choice right now. Not too long ago I wrote about a page I’d found on an international removals company website  that gave a lot of information on what’s required.

Well, I also continued my research and found a lot of surprising things. The first was that there has been a recent surge in people leaving good ol’ Blighty and moving to New Zealand. Who can really blame them? With a PM seemingly hell-bent on spending our future income for us along with our current tax, the lure of getting off this rock is appealing to me too.

The price of international removals is something that’s been the main source of my research and that’s the second thing I found and thought I’d share. Given that my last post on the matter attracted a lot of interest (I thank you) it seems to be something others are researching too. The same company – Doree Bonner – with all the information is also offering a 10% discount throughout February to those that quote the reference NZ209  when arranging their move to New Zealand with them. Though it’s only if you enquire in Feb rather than move as well.

While of course it’s always good to save on anything and share the knowledge of discounts – especially when we’re talking a couple of hundred quid – it does make me wonder just how many people are getting out of England if they can offer such a discount?

Is it a case of deserting a sinking ship en mass?? If you’re moving contemplating a move to New Zealand or abroad, what makes the deciding factor?