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This week has seen a culmination of the troubles that have been brewing for months within the economy of Europe. All current decisions made now, are being made to avert what would only be described as financial recession; it seems that the future of Europe is hanging on a knife edge.

There have been some quite considerable changes within EU member states; Italy and Greece have both appointed new leaders to try and stem the flow of ever growing worries within their economies, whilst Spain appears to be heading for a change of leadership.

Interest charged on government backed bonds is hitting unprecedented levels; these rates indicate the risk perceived on the ability of the country to pay it back, the higher the interest, the higher the risk. Earlier this week Greece was faced with having to pay back 22% on top of what it initially borrows over the course of 10 years, and there is a very high fear that Greece won’t be able to meet its commitments and that is worrying the financial markets. To put that 22% in perspective, Germany’s interest on a 10 year bond is just over 2%.

However, positive news can be found in the consolation that the economy of the 17-nation Euro Zone grew by 0.2%, between July and September, not much but at least it has grown, kept buoyant primarily by the German and French economies after several other countries including Greece’s economy shrunk.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has described the ongoing Euro Zone situation as the continents toughest hour since World War Two, a highly charged use of words that was sure to grab the headlines across Europe and highlight how serious the predicament we are faced with.

What are your views on the current situation around Europe? Have the EU leaders got it right?

It’s been decades since most states within the European Union developed legislation that protect men and women from discrimination in the workplace on matters such as pay and promotion. However, this week new statistics out have showed a worrying trend. All three of the top stock exchanges of Europe; London’s FTSE, Frankfurt’s DAX and Paris’s CAC, have Less than 20% of the seats on the board of directors occupied by women[1]. This week, Theresa May, the United Kingdom’s home secretary, stated that she thinks the UK alone is missing out on £21 billion a year in growth in the markets through a lack of female leaders and a further £42 billion a year would be produced if there were as many female entrepreneurs ran businesses as men [2].

So why is there still the fabled “glass ceiling” for so many women, when not only is there legislation to prevent discrimination, but also groups set up to help, such as the 30% club on the FTSE which hopes to see 30% of the number of the seats on boards taken by females. (I’m not sure why it’s not 50% to be honest, if you’re going to aim to make a difference, why not aim for equality?). There is also a general consensus that female board members are greatly beneficial, bringing a type of process and calculation to situations where a man’s pride may have taken over in a male dominated environment.

So is it a lack of ambition? Perhaps; But the world has turned into the most equal it has ever been! Where before the norm would have been for a daughter to cook and clean, to be the doting wife to the husband who would go out to work, nowadays a daughter is just as encouraged and supported as a son to go out and aspire to be all they can be.

Perhaps then women don’t want to fall into the stereotypes of a leading woman “conniving…ice queens…single…a token…a cheerleader”, but are these stereotypes still relevant today? Were they ever truly relevant at all…apart from in the films? The female leaders of some of the worlds biggest companies, such as Indra Nooyi, the chief executive of PepsiCo, has never lived up to any of the previously stated stereotypes.

So why do you believe there is still a disproportionate amount of men in positions of leadership? Especially in industry, the lucrative banking and petroleum companies etc. When do you think we will be equal? Will we ever?

[1]http://www.corpgov.deloitte.com/binary/com.epicentric.contentmanagement.servlet.ContentDeliveryServlet/USEng/Documents/Nominating-Corporate%20Governance%20Committee/Board%20Composition%20and%20Recruitment/Women%20in%20the%20Boardroom_Deloitte_012011.pdf

[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2057723/Theresa-May-Female-talent-boost-economy-60bn.html

So you’ve got past the CV stage, the company is interested in your credentials and experience! So with you over your first major hurdle don’t then stumble at the second one.

Number one on your to do list is to research the company. You will almost certainly be asked on your knowledge of the company; what they do, when they started, the latest industry developments. You don’t want to be stuttering and trying to remember facts from that notice board you saw in reception, researching the company is essential. As will be knowing how you are getting to the interview! You will want to get to the interview at least 10 minutes early, but what are the practicalities of this? Are you taking public transport? Have you got the timetable? Are you taking a car? Where is the nearest car park? Do you need to pay and display? This will mean you need change on hand. All of these individual variables are uncertainties that must be controlled!

Polish your shoes, iron your shirt or blouse and wear business attire, it’s important to make a good first impression and you will only get one of these. How you present yourself throughout the company’s premises is critical, so from the minute you enter the building act as though you are being interviewed. The interviewer may ask their colleague’s opinions after you have left; did you smile when you came in, were you approachable etc. So make sure the way you handle yourself whilst within the organisation’s building is as formal and as friendly as you would be whilst in your interview room. Make sure your body language is confident and positive, so please make sure you’re not slouching in your chair and don’t fold your arms.

Know what you’re talking about: this part is mainly down to you and the company you will be interviewed by. But there are a few generic factors that you can assume will happen such as the ability to ask questions at the end. If this opportunity arises, grab it with both hands! It will show your interest in the company and your astuteness as an individual. Think of some questions to ask before hand such as; what would be my day to day activities? What’s the management culture like at this organisation?

Questions like these will not only give you an opportunity to find out more about the company but in actual fact enables conversation from your side of the table, instead of you just answering questions you may have been asked.

It’s a competitive job market across Europe right now so make sure you’re fully prepared and give yourself the best chance of landing that dream job.

There is an old saying that states “don’t talk politics or religion”, this is as it seems to evoke a sense of passion in a person that is rarely seen elsewhere. Never the less, this saying is usually reserved for business and pleasure rather than society as a whole; however this week the British government decided it would not give the option to discuss the politics surrounding the EU debate to their citizens.

In the UK, no one under the age of 56 has ever had the option to say what they think about the EU in a vote, that means 53% of the UK population of voting age, 18+, has never had a say; that’s almost ¾ of the UK population if you count all under 56 year olds, including under 18’s.

Here at Euro London we have a multitude of different views from all of our staff who themselves come from around Europe; we’re a multilingual recruitment agency after all! So we find ourselves with a very encompassing approach to political views from across the spectrum and around the EU, but we wanted to gauge your views from right around Europe. Do you believe the European Union gives us as nations greater security, opportunity and prospects or has it evolved to far to infringe on national identities and actually a drain on our economies?

For those of you who may not know how the EU came about, here’s a little blast from the past. The EU started life as the EEC, European Economic Community, a free trade agreement between the 6 countries of: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany in 1957 and has gradually expanded over 50 years to now include 27 member states, many of whom are integrated through departments, law systems and the Euro, which sees 17 nations in Europe linked through a singular currency.

However, in a recent European poll across member states, it was found that only 28% of the UK population thought that EU membership in its current capacity was a “good thing” compared to 66% and 69% in Germany and France respectively.

So should a countries government block its citizen’s right for a discussion on a topic? What are your views on the EU?

Across Europe the jobs market is as competitive as it has ever been and it can be hard to get yourself noticed. So here at Euro London we’ve taken the time to combine our 21 years of knowledge to produce what we believe are the three most critical factors when writing a CV.

We’ve heard all the gimmicks, from the cringe-worthy to the inventive to make a CV stand out. These include sending a brick in with a CV to “make an impact”, or applicants including a photo of themselves so the interviewer “doesn’t forget their face”, (which is slightly disconcerting if you read it in the voice of a movie super villain). So our first tip piggy backs off this…

Number one and perhaps the most obvious and often spoke about, Simple Sells; Now we’re not talking about writing your CV on a post it note, but keep your CV clean and clear and under control! Use a professional, modern font with business size lettering between 10 and 12, use segments to outline your education, work background and of course how to contact you… and please stay away from word art, however pretty that it may be.

Number two; don’t let time pass you by: In a recent survey of employers, the first priority they checked was work history and recent employment. So if you have been out of work for a prolonged period of time, think about volunteering or temping through an agency to gain some valuable experience. This will keep your work history up to date and although it may not be something you would have seen yourself doing in the short term, in the long term it may give you that competitive edge over another candidate and get you that job you love.

Number three; sell yourself: It can be human nature to be reserved when talking about your achievements, preferring to state as part of a team we did such and such. But the company won’t be looking to hire you and your old team; they’ll be looking to hire you! So in your CV say what YOU did at your previous employer and state how YOU made the measurable difference. Quantify and qualify your achievements and don’t just simply state your duties, everyone has duties, but it’s the effects of these duties that will win the day.

In this competitive job market, it will be important for you not only to stand out, but also to fit in with your prospective employer’s expectations. On average a prospective employer takes 60 seconds to read a CV, so make it count!

A Brighter Horizon

With the latest party political conference season over and the Conservative’s speeches out of the way, one of the main keynote speeches to stand out was from Michael Gove, Minister for Education. His speech [1] outlined what he said has been a decline in education standards throughout the UK, and made the announcement that every child attending primary school was to learn a modern language, however, the debate still continues on whether learning a language at a young age is advantageous or damaging to a child’s cognitive and social skill set. Michael Gove’s announcement came the day before the University of Cambridge published their findings that learning a language enhances a child’s education rather than hinder it as previously believed by some people.

Historically, bilingualism was thought to detrimental to a child’s ability to communicate effectively and that teaching two languages at the same time would lead to “language confusion”, therefore the native tongue of the country where the child was raised would not develop as quickly as the child’s peers and this would therefore be harmful not only to their cognitive abilities, but also affect the way they act socially. However the recent study released on Tuesday from Cambridge University [2], claims that this is not the case and that far from having a negative impact, teaching a child a second language is actually a great advantage to a child’s development. The findings showed that children who speak more than one language are more advantaged over their monolingual playmates, with Dr Alexopoulou stating, “Studies show that a bilingual child is better able to cope with tasks that involve attention, memory and concentration.” Preliminary research [3] also shows that long term effects may shield the brain from the ageing process including age-related memory loss, which will always come in handy.

So has the take up of learning a modern language hit the trough of its decline and is it about to have resurgence?

Were you taught a second language from a young age? We’d like to know your thoughts.

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-15135560

[2] http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/bilingualism-is-good-for-learning/

[3] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_west/8452843.stm

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Lost In Translation

Last week saw Carlos Tevez’s career cast into doubt at Manchester City, as it seems that the communication between several parties at the club has broken down, through what is claimed as mistranslation between languages.

If you want a prime example of a multinational company, you need  look no further than a premier league club. Take Manchester City for example;  the club is owned by a Sheikh from the United Arab Emirates, managed by Roberto Mancini from Italy and the team is composed of players from all four corners of the globe; not to mention the number of backroom staff, stewards and stadium officials involved. This is a truly multi-national workforce and like any business for it to function it requires good communication, which can be even harder when there are a multitude of languages involved.

So when Carlos Tevez didn’t play for Manchester City against Bayern Munich, it was originally believed he had refused to play and in the news conference after the game Tevez reportedly said “I did not feel right, so I did not play”. This saw an array of sporting stars and pundits rush into the breach to attack Tevez with Mancini himself stating that “he will never play again at the club.”

However, Tevez’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, is now claiming that he was mistranslated when being asked why he refused to play, stating, “I listened to the questions in English and the interpretations in Spanish. Both questions were interpreted incorrectly and both answers of Carlos were then misinterpreted”.

Just goes to show that good interpreting can make or break a business relationship.

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