Friday news roundup October 4, 2019
New research conducted by the OECD and WorldSkills, an organization championing the importance of vocational skills, looks into how the world of work is changing and what young people think about their economic prospects. The survey includes 15,000 respondents aged 18-24 from 19 “G20” countries. When asked if they were confident that they would be able to find the job that they really want, an average of 50% were more confident than not. Confidence was markedly lower in Japan, however, with just 2% of respondents feeling confident about their future prospects. Furthermore, women were less optimistic about technology being an opportunity for them, and older respondents were more sceptical about the value of school today.
In the UK, women campaigning for compensation for the government’s handling of the rise in women’s state pension age lost a significant legal battle in the High Court. The 2011 Pensions Act brought the new retirement age of 65, previously 60, forward to 2018. Women born in the 1950s claim they were not given sufficient time to prepare for the extra five years in which they would have to live without a state pension. The High Court ruled that: “There was no direct discrimination on grounds of sex, because this legislation does not treat women less favourably than men in law. Rather it equalises a historic asymmetry between men and women and thereby corrects historic direct discrimination against men.”
A Japanese government survey finds that over a third of Japanese women believe that their mental health issues were cause by workplace harassment. Seven-hundred and forty women participated in the survey and 19.7% said they were victims of sexual harassment and 16.6% said they suffered from bullying. On the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap index, Japan ranks 110 out of 149 countries. Of the 1,634 men in the survey, 23/1% said their mental health issues are because of a change in workload or job role. Japan has struggled for years with the impact of overwork on employee health.
Legal academics and the Diversity Council in Australia have warned that a proposed religious discrimination bill could prevent employers from stopping workplace bullying under religious freedom law. The bill proposes to ban workplace policies that regulate religious speech. However, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry claims that the bill fails to define religion properly. The submission argues that religious speech “would have greater protection from employer intervention than any other statement or expression,” thereby giving rise to unequal employee protections.