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Tips for changing careers

Tips for changing careers

Tips about changing careers
Changing career is a big decision and should not be taken in haste. Different people have different reasons for changing their career. Some want better paying jobs, some want good designations, others want career satisfaction and fulfilment, and so on.
If you are also planning to change your career, then you should consider the following points –
Appropriate Reason For Change
A mere argument with your superior should not be a reason for a career change. Take sufficient time to think why you want to switch your career. Money, boredom, and problems with superiors or colleagues are not the right reasons for leaving your current job.
Inter-department Transfers
It is not necessary that you should leave your present job for changing career. Lot of organizations allows their employees to work in different departments depending on their interests and skills. You should check such opportunities in your own organization before taking the call. Skills
Identify the skills that are changing career is a big decision and should not be taken in haste. Different people have different reasons for changing their career. Some want better paying jobs, some want good designations, others want career satisfaction and fulfilment, and so on. Interests
You should choose a career that best suits your interests. People who love their jobs are successful.
Research
Do as much research as possible on your career options. Discussing it with people in a similar field will help.
Some of the important things to check while taking up the new role are:
– What will be the salary? – Will you be able to maintain your current standard of living? – What will the job description? – What will be your career path? – What all incentives will you get? – How much travelling will be required in your new job? – Do you have to relocate for the new job? Does the new job require frequent relocations? – How demanding will be the new job? Will you be able to maintain work life balance or not? Volunteer or Internship To know about any field, you can temporarily volunteer to work in that field or take up internship. This will give you hands-on experience and hence will help to make the right decision.
Network
Once you are sure that you want to change the career, you should seek help from family and friends working in the same field. They can help you to find the right job. You can apply for jobs through various job portals and consultants.
When switching career, it is wise to consider your skills interests and qualifications. Changing career not only affects you but also your family. Hence, it is advised that you should consult and seek advice from your family members before taking this decision. Do not decide changing career overnight. Take sufficient time to do the research and weigh all the pros and cons of your present and future job.
 
James Copper is a writer for http://www.directitskills.co.uk

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Credit Suisse are hiring!

Credit Suisse are hiring!

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) – Credit Suisse finished the second quarter with more staff than a year earlier and plans more hires, particularly in services for the wealthy, at a time when the credit crunch is forcing many banks to downsize.
The Swiss bank’s headcount was up 7 percent to 49,000 from the second quarter 2007. The bank has axed more than 1,320 jobs in the past year, mainly in investment banking, but expanded in other businesses.
“We have viewed the crisis as an opportunity to invest, to hire high-quality people into all of our businesses,” Chief Executive Brady Dougan told reporters on a conference call.
Credit Suisse posted a smaller-than-expected fall in second-quarter net income to 1.2 billion Swiss francs ($1.16 billion) on Thursday as it managed more cash for private clients and its investment banking unit returned to profit.
A Reuters poll of analysts had forecast net profit of 526 million francs.
“We’ve added the most people in private banking … but we’ve also net added people in investment banking and asset management,” Dougan said. Credit Suisse has added 450 relationship managers over the past 12 months across all regions, including hires from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.
“About 40 percent of our net new assets come from relationship managers that are in their first three years with Credit Suisse,” Chief Financial Officer Renato Fassbind said.
The bank aims to keep investment banking headcount “relatively stable” and will continue to reallocate staff from slowing to growth areas, Dougan said in a later call with analysts and investors.
JPMorgan analysts said Credit Suisse’s investment banking unit had to get rid of more staff, however, to manage costs better in deteriorating conditions, adding they expected more layoffs.
“European banks (are) not following the U.S. ‘restructuring mode’ in our view a mistake as we view a rightsizing of staff as inevitable,” they wrote in a note after the results release.
 

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Fighting the downturn

Fighting the downturn

A major new report sets out the case for mental health services as the economy faces its longest recession since records began and mental health problems look set to rise.
The report, called ‘Mental Health and the Economic Downturn,’ is a joint publication from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the London School of Economics and the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network
Through increased debt problems, family breakdown and job losses, mental health issues are likely to increase as the recession hits – and this is occurring at the same time as critical decisions about existing and future NHS spending on mental health services are being made.
The report sets out what the main mental health challenges for the NHS are, such as helping to keep people in work, intervening early and public health strategies. It goes on to give possible solutions to these challenges through:
– Re-designing the ‘pathways’ used to care for service users, with an emphasis on clinicians and managers leading this work together – Simultaneously improving quality and value for money, and fostering innovation in the way services are provided – Encouraging initiatives that will save money elsewhere in the system (such as investing in mental health diversion schemes for people with mental health problems who come into contact with the criminal justice system)
Steve Shrubb, director of the Mental Health Network, which represents the majority of NHS mental health trusts, said:
“The NHS is facing a once in a generation challenge as it heads into a spending squeeze because of the recession. In the past, we have tended to react to reduced spending by cutting services across the board. We know such ‘slash and burn’ tactics will not work.
“Mental health services, which are not paid through the same tariff system the rest of the NHS uses, are especially susceptible to these tactics which carry serious long term consequences.
“We have to see this spending squeeze as an opportunity to look again at how we offer support and, with clinicians and managers working together, develop services that are not only better for patients but also better value for taxpayers.”
Professor Dinesh Bhugra, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:
“It’s all too easy in times of economic hardship for commissioners and providers of services to see short-term cuts as the solution. However, such action would be grossly short-sighted and would undoubtedly deliver long-term pain”.
“During these times of economic downturn, it’s vital that careful investment is made in mental health services and prevention programmes. Clinicians and managers need to work together to address these challenges”
Professor of social policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science Martin Knapp said:
“Unemployment, debt and poverty cause enormous stress. This would be absolutely the worst time to cut prevention budgets or treatment services. The NHS needs to work together with many other public bodies – and with employers and communities – to address this and help prevent as well as treat these needs.”
The Mental Health Network represents the majority of mental health trusts. It was launched in spring 2007 to provide a distinct voice for providers of NHS mental health services.
Source The NHS Confederation

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Britain’s economy tumbles

Britain’s economy tumbles

LONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Britain’s economy has almost ground to a halt, the consumer spirit is evaporating and jobs are getting harder to find, surveys showed on Wednesday, as the Bank of England begins a tricky two-day interest rate meeting.
Policymakers have to decide what is the best path for borrowing costs with inflation running at the highest rate since the central bank was granted the power to set rates in 1997 but with the economy looking increasingly vulnerable to recession.
The International Monetary Fund advised on Wednesday there was little scope for rate cuts because of the inflation threat but it also cut its UK growth forecasts for 2008 and 2009 from 1.75 percent to 1.4 percent and 1.1 percent respectively.
Analysts are unanimously forecasting rates on hold at 5 percent when the BoE announces its decision on Thursday because the latest news on the economy has been unequivocally bleak.
The economy grew at its weakest pace in more than three years in the three months to July — just 0.1 percent, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said.
“The outlook for growth continues to deteriorate, with recession looking increasingly unavoidable,” said James Knightley, an economist at ING.
“The consumer sector is bearing the brunt of the credit crisis with falling asset prices, negative real wage growth and rising unemployment taking its toll on sentiment and spending.”
Investors have been facing the full force of the credit crunch this year, with the FTSE-100 index of leading shares down about 1,000 points since mid-May and the pound down six cents against the dollar in the last few weeks.
SOUR CONSUMER MOOD
The consumer mood soured last month at its sharpest rate on record to a series low, according to the Nationwide building society which has been tracking consumer confidence since 2004.
Car registrations slumped 13 percent on the year last month, the biggest fall since late-2006, according to industry data.
And the number of Britons finding permanent jobs fell at its fastest rate since the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation/KPMG said.
The risks are rising that Britain is entering its first recession since the slump of the early 1990s.
An increasingly gloomy public mood, exacerbated by rising unemployment and soaring living costs, will add to the woes of Prime Minister Gordon Brown whose Labour party looks likely to lose power at the next election due 2010.
Brown built his reputation presiding over a decade of prosperity at the helm of the finance ministry before taking over from Tony Blair last year.
A tough first year in office has seen his ratings plummet, the Conservative opposition race ahead in the polls and infighting erupt in the Labour ranks.
A quick economic turnaround would do much to improve Brown’s fortunes, but the IMF said it saw little room for economy boosting tax cuts this year and some of its directors recommended increased fiscal discipline next year.
Brown is unlikely to get much help from the Bank of England just yet either. After all, the BoE’s remit — bestowed by Brown — is to target inflation at 2 percent.
Inflation is already running at 3.8 percent and is expected to spike to around 5 percent. Reducing rates on Thursday could mean that inflation stays too high for too long.
While oil prices have tumbled from record highs near $150 a barrel in recent weeks, gas and electricity providers in Britain are ramping up their charges and food prices are still rising.
The British Retail Consortium said on Wednesday food prices in July were up some 9.5 percent on the year.
On the other hand, raising rates to tackle inflation could drive Britain into a nasty downturn.
“We suspect that most Monetary Policy Committee members are still firmly in ‘wait and see’ mode and in no hurry to move interest rates,” said Howard Archer, at Global Insight.
However, many expect rates will have to fall eventually, once the spike in inflation is over, to keep the economy afloat.
 

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Workplace literacy schemes

Workplace literacy schemes

Workplace literacy schemes are too short to improve skills
The five billion pound Skills for Life programme is based on the assumption that an improvement in literacy and numeracy will increase people’s earning potential, as well as their productivity and employability. However, according to Professor Alison Wolf of King’s College London who led the study, workplace basic skills courses are having little impact, in their current form.
‘It is clear from our research that policymakers are mistaken in expecting immediate and major effects on productivity,’ says Professor Wolf.
She believes that one of the main reasons for the failure of the initiative is that courses were simply not long enough. While school children receive over 200 hours of direct instruction every term, over many years, participants on the Skills for Life courses received, on average, a total of 30 hours teaching.
The study also showed that the workplace does not support formal learning. Firms and public sector organisations find it hard to fit classes in with work patterns and are unable to provide the long-term stability necessary for effective learning.
Indeed, the study finds that the Skills for Life strategy has left no permanent legacy of workplace training. None of the employers who received free on-site courses continued them after government funding ended. ‘If the productivity gains were as obvious as the government has claimed, this would be very short-sighted of them,’ says Professor Wolf. ‘In fact, there were no big obvious gains.’
A year after students had taken the Skills for Life course; statistically there were no significant improvements in literacy for English-speaking employees. Some of those, who went on to develop their skills as part of their normal job, did improve, while participants whose work continued to involve minimal use of literacy did not. Indeed, Professor Wolf notes that people’s jobs can be far more important for boosting literacy skills than a short formal course.
However, the study also found that employers were not particularly concerned about their employees’ literacy skills, and increased productivity was not something that either employers or learners expected. Instead, one of the broader benefits of the course was that it boosted workers’ confidence. A significant number of participants went on to do further courses. More than half said that they read more, and three quarters felt differently about education as a result of the course.
‘Both adult learners and their employers have a far more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the workplace than does the Skills for Life strategy,’ concludes Alison Wolf. ‘Ministers keep announcing that huge numbers of people have ‘improved their basic skills’ because of Skills for Life. They need to realise that attending a short course, or collecting a certificate, does not mean that people have necessarily learned anything.’
The research team is explaining to policy-makers precisely how current funding and entitlement rules stop adults with poor basic skills from obtaining the extended tuition they need and suggesting ways in which the problem might be addressed.

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Mexico businesses tighten security against drugs

Mexico businesses tighten security against drugs

MEXICO CITY, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Businesses in Mexico are tightening security against drug gangs that sneak narcotics into export shipments to the United States and have turned manufacturing centres on the U.S. border into battlegrounds.
A vicious war between rival gangs and security forces has killed a record 1,900 people in Mexico so far this year.
The violence has hardly damaged the broad economy but several recent embarrassing incidents where illegal drugs were found hidden within the cargo shipments of major exporters have put executives on edge.
“We have had to reinforce security measures,” said Carlos Castro, who leads the national council of Mexico’s “maquiladora” plants, which assemble electronic and other goods for export.
“Obviously, they are looking for other ways to cross these drugs into the United States,” he said.
In May, troops searching the premises of a subsidiary of Japanese electronics firm Sharp Corp near Tijuana found some 1.5 tonnes of marijuana hidden in a Canada-bound truck behind boxes carrying TV screens.
Castro says there have been at least two other recent cases where major companies had their security breached by drug gangs hoping to slip contraband within legitimate shipments. Companies have responded by installing more video cameras and hiring more security guards, he said.
“This is a growing concern,” said Julian Bianchi, head of security services for risk consultancy Kroll in Latin America. “Whatever vulnerability that exists in an organization that moves products to and from the United States, organized crime will try to take advantage of it.”
The war against drug gangs has become President Felipe Calderon’s central policy since taking power in Dec. 2006. He quickly deployed 25,000 troops and federal police against the cartels but a fresh surge in violence this year shows he has a long fight ahead.
Still, higher security costs and the surge in drug gang killings has not deterred firms like Canada’s Bombardier Inc and U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co. from laying out big investments for new plants in Mexico.
RIVAL KILLINGS
Drug killings are mostly between rival traffickers and business lobbies say they have yet to see a foreign company pull out of Mexico due to fears about drug violence.
“There is violence, but I think it’s at another level that doesn’t interfere in the operation of plants or at the corporate level,” said a spokesman for a major international company in Mexico, declining to be quoted by name.
“It’s not an issue that’s impacting either our merchandise, our staff or the sites where we are located.”
Foreign companies are, however, spending more on security and insurance, said Deborah Riner, chief economist for the American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico.
“Ten years ago, security costs simply didn’t figure into discussions of the cost structure. Now they do,” she said, adding that security spending probably makes up one percent or less of a company’s operating costs.
Two of the cities hardest hit by drug violence are Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, where shootouts in broad daylight between rival drug traffickers are commonplace. The cities house hundreds of factories that send goods across the nearby U.S. border.
David Robillard, head of Kroll’s Mexico office, said international firms have been largely unconcerned by the spike in violence along the border and in other states like Sinaloa.
But Mexican companies are increasingly looking to set up shop in calmer areas like central Mexico, he said.
“They are concerned in terms of deploying executives where they have seen such a dramatic uptick in criminal violence,” Robillard said.
Crime such as hijackings and kidnappings have been a concern for years in Mexico, where some firms protect top staff with bodyguards and bullet-proof cars.
Many in business welcome Calderon’s assault on the drug gangs after years of government inaction.
“It isn’t an easy issue, but it gives us the confidence that federal authorities at this moment are taking the necessary measures to get it under control,” said Miguel Moran, head of the Canacintra industry group.
 

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The benefits of bilingualism

The benefits of bilingualism

Assessing the benefits of bilingualism   People of all ages are taking part in what may well be the most extensive project ever to assess the benefits of being bilingual.  Over 700 people aged between 2 and 80 are being recruited by Bangor University to explore what benefits our brains reap from being bilingual, in a three quarter million pound project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.   “The obvious benefits of being bilingual include being able to speak and converse in two languages and to participate in two cultures. Less obvious, however, is recent evidence showing that bilingualism has benefits also for abilities in non-language tasks.  The very act of being able to speak, listen, and think in two languages and of using two languages on a daily basis appears to sharpen people’s abilities to pay close attention to aspects of tasks relevant to good performance,” explains Prof. Virginia Gathercole. Some researchers have also found that bilingualism could also play a role in guarding against the decline in our brain’s abilities with ageing. “We already know that language processing is one of the most complex activities that our brains carry out; running two parallel language systems throughout life has had positive benefits in a number of ways,” she adds. “There is indeed evidence from Canada that being bilingual may provide some protection against age-related memory loss,” explained Dr. Enlli Thomas, collaborator on the project.    The Bangor research group are now seeking Welsh-English bilinguals and monolinguals aged over 60 to take part in the research.  Participants undertake a set of simple language tests and then carry out some on-screen puzzles and tasks.  Many of these are similar to those in hand-held “brain games”, which are said to exercise mental abilities. The researchers are seeking persons who grew up in homes where only Welsh was spoken, where both Welsh and English were spoken, or where only English was spoken.   Those interested in taking part in the research can contact Ms. Leah Jones, at leah.jones@bangor.ac.uk, or at 01248- 388892, or Ms. Emma Hughes, emma.hughes@bangor.ac.uk at 01248-383820 for further information. Participants will visit Bangor University or can be visited in their locality by a researcher. Participants receive £10 for taking part.

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Morgan Stanley sees finance crisis lasting

Morgan Stanley sees finance crisis lasting

FRANKFURT, Aug 17 (Reuters) – The financial crisis will probably not end until next year or even 2010, Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper quoted Morgan Stanley co-President Walid Chammah as saying in a preview of its Monday edition.
Chammah also expected more banks to fall victim to the crisis, the paper said.
“We will likely see more insolvencies among small U.S. regional banks that have focused on mortgage business,” the paper quoted him as saying.
Chammah also said return-on-equity rates of 25 percent were a thing of the past for the investment banking industry, the paper reported.
“I estimate returns in the industry will be more like 15 to 20 percent as a rule,” the paper quoted him as saying.

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Improve your communication skills

Improve your communication skills

Speech And Gesture Mutually Interact To Enhance Comprehension
Your mother may have taught you that it’s rude to point, but according to new research in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, gesturing may actually help improve communication.
Psychological scientist Spencer Kelly from Colgate University, along with Asli Zyürek and Eric Maris from Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands) were interested in the interaction between speech and gesturing and how important this relationship is for language. In this study, volunteers watched brief videos of common actions (e.g., someone chopping vegetables, washing dishes) followed by a one-second video of a spoken word and a gesture. In some of the trials (congruent trials), the speech and gestures were related (e.g., “chop,” chopping gesture), while during other trials (incongruent trials), what was said did not match the gesture (e.g., “chop,” twisting gesture). The volunteers had to indicate whether the speech and gesture were related to the initial video they watched.
The results revealed that the volunteers performed better during congruent trials than incongruent trials – they were faster and more accurate when the gesture matched the spoken word. Furthermore, these results were replicated when the volunteers were told to pay attention only to the spoken word and not the gesture. Taken together, these findings suggest that when gesture and speech convey the same information, they are easier to understand than when they convey different information. In addition, these results indicate that gesture and speech form an integrated system that helps us in language comprehension.
The researchers note that “these results have implications for everyday communicative situations, such as in educational contexts (both teachers and students), persuasive messages (political speeches, advertisements), and situations of urgency (first aid, cock pit conversations).” They suggest that the best way for speakers to get their message across is to “coordinate what they say with their words with what they do with their hands.” In other words, the authors conclude, “If you really want to make your point clear and readily understood, let your words and hands do the talking.”

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Angry investors face Fortis

Angry investors face Fortis

AMSTERDAM, Aug 18 (Reuters) – Shareholders grilled the top two executives of Belgian-Dutch financial group Fortis on Monday over the company’s handling of an unexpected solvency plan, but left the three hour-long meeting dissatisfied over the bank’s steps to restore shareholder confidence.
“It was better than expected, but we didn’t get all the answers we need,” said Neil Lemmers of Dutch shareholder group VEB, which along with other shareholder groups had pressed for Fortis to open up a dialogue with shareholders.
The meeting, convened as an “information session” rather than a formal shareholders’ meeting, is one of three that the banking and insurance group has agreed to hold.
Fortis, hit by the credit crisis and the costs of the 24 billion euro takeover of some operations from Dutch rival ABN AMRO last year, stunned investors in June with a 1.5 billion euro share issue and the scrapping of its interim dividend.
The VEB and other shareholder groups were instrumental last month in pushing for the departure of Fortis’ top management.
About 100 shareholders attended the meeting in a cavernous hall in Amsterdam. Two more are planned in Brussels, a Dutch session on Wednesday and a French session on Thursday.
“What is important is transparency and addressing concerns early,” said Fortis Chief Executive Herman Verwilst, who was joined by board chairman Maurice Lippens. Verwilst replaced former CEO Jean-Paul Votron.
Asked whether Fortis would have to raise new capital, Verwilst said: “With the information that we have on the business today and what we see over the next few years, we feel we have done what is necessary.”
Ahead of the meeting, the VEB called on Fortis to adopt new, realistic medium-term targets and drastically change its dual corporate structure of having headquarters and shareholder meetings in Belgium and the Netherlands.
The VEB also demanded that Fortis give monthly updates on the impact of the credit crisis, business developments and integration of ABN AMRO.
The shareholders groups are still pressing Fortis to hold a formal shareholders’ meeting, which could be organized as early as November, to ensure that the board is accountable for its decision before announcing the solvency plan and to discuss the financial group’s future and corporate governance model.