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Lapdog
Lapdog
Rozena Crossman

PARIS — We've seen the employee of the future … and she's pale, red-eyed and hunchbacked. A recent article and a spooky life-size doll named Emma showing what can happen to the human body after working in front of a screen for 25 years, published in the French outlet We Demain, was meant to shock. And it does, on a pure health-related level for anyone working a desk job these days. But it's also a particularly good reminder of employee needs for those whose job it is to recruit and retain the best talent in our digital era.

This edition of Work → In Progress dives into the realm of human resources, looking around the world for ways that technology and other factors are driving the way we find the right job — and right job seeker. We'll visit a German hospital using TikTok to garner new recruits, would-be new hires hacking their way to outwit HR bots, not to mention a cuddly selection of companies worldwide implementing "furturnity leave" policies ...​​​



CV HACKING Recruiters have long used SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to boost their online listings, but now job seekers are turning to résumé submission optimization. As companies increasingly use AI to screen CVs, perfectly qualified applicants can get screened out, soft skills go undetected, and any bias unintentionally programed into the bot will lead to discrimination. While companies are racing to improve their automated hiring process, potential employees are using tricks such as including certain words and rewriting job titles to get past the digital gatekeepers.​

THE RIGHT RECRUITING MEDICINE? The process for hunting young talent, even in the most serious of fields, can't escape the whims (and outright silliness) of social media. The German hospital Klinikum Dortmund has created a TikTok account that features its employees lip-syncing with stethoscopes and dancing with disinfectant sprays. According to Deutsche Welle, the hospital says that in the face of severe staffing shortages, social media has turned into the best method for recruiting.​

DOG DAYS While some companies still don't have comprehensive maternity leave programs, others are way ahead of the game in offering competitive benefits. We're not talking paternity leave, but pawternity leave. That's right: Certain employers are entitling their staff to paid leave when they adopt a pet. The phenomenon is global, from Harper Collins in India encouraging responsible pet adoption, to the American data platform provider Mparticle that doesn't "discriminate against pets just because they aren't human", to the Scottish brewery BrewDog that, as its name implies, simply loves dogs. Arf!​

ODD JOB

CHIEF SEROTONIN OFFICER Neuroscientists are delving into the realm of HR and helping companies boost employee experience. According to the French business daily Les Echos, in an article translated into English by Worldcrunch, some workplaces have begun monitoring their workers in order to apply the latest in neuroscience to improve life on the job.

• Advances in brain imaging are allowing neuroscience to better reveal the mechanisms of learning, memory, motivation, commitment, attention, decision-making and leadership —all of which interest the business world.

• Staff are equipped with headgear that detects stress and drops in motivation, alerting employees when it's time to take a break.

• Scientific researchers are working to create "neuro-friendly managers' who leverage knowledge about how the brain learns and functions to create a more pleasant, stimulating and productive environment for their team.

• The American company Emotiv has designed an artificial intelligence program that analyzes brain signals recorded from next-generation, intra-ear sensors similar to headphones.​

Read the full story, translated from French by Worldcrunch.​

STAT DU JOUR

And meanwhile, in Chile — which has become a key Latin American startup hub —, 72% of the adults say they are considering entrepreneurship as a viable career choice.​

SOCIAL SECURITY GUARDS As Japan faces declining demographics, the government is encouraging citizens to work until they're 70. Yet many men over 60 with insufficient pensions can only find work as security guards, making up 44% of the sector's employees. It's not exactly an age-appropriate job fit, both taking a toll on the worker's physical health and not necessarily providing the best service. For governments keen to raise the retirement age, it's time to get prepared for the real-life consequences on the job market.

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Society

How India’s Women Are Fighting Air Pollution — And The Patriarchy

India is one of the world's worst countries for air pollution, with women more likely to be affected by the problem than men. Now, experts and activists are fighting to reframe pollution as a gendered health crisis.

A woman walking through dense fog in New Delhi

*Saumya Kalia

MUMBAI In New Delhi, a city that has topped urban air-pollution charts in recent years, Shakuntala describes a discomfort that has become too familiar. Surrounded by bricks and austere buildings, she tells an interviewer: "The eyes burn and it becomes difficult to breathe". She is referring to the noxious fumes she routinely breathes as a construction worker.

Like Shakuntala, women’s experiences of polluted air fill every corner of their lives – inside homes, in parks and markets, on the way to work. Ambient air in most districts in India has never been worse than it is today. As many as 1.67 million people in the country die prematurely due to polluted air. It is India’s second largest health risk after malnutrition.

This risk of exposure to air pollution is compounded for women. Their experiences of toxic air are more frequent and often more hazardous. Yet “policies around air quality have not yet adequately taken into account gender or other factors that might influence people’s health,” Pallavi Pant, a senior scientist at the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit in the U.S., told The Wire Science.

“It’s unacceptable that the biggest burden [rests on] those who can least bear it,” Sherebanu Frosh, an activist, added. People like her are building a unique resistance within India.

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