Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

Battle of the bands

Once a year, there is a battle in Europe. Every country carefully and democratically selects their warriors well in advance, subjecting them to rounds of gruelling competition and then months of strenuous training. The pride of every European nation falls on their contestants coming out on top, as there is no greater measure of success or popularity. Yes, we’re talking about the Eurovision song contest.

In line with a proud British tradition of Eurovision entrants, including Jemini, Gina G and Javine Hylton, the people of Britain have selected worthy and established boyband, Blue, to try to bring home the prize.

However, they may be beaten to the post, as the people of Ireland have chosen a seemingly infallible pair to compete in Eurovision 2011. These two are thick-skinned, energetic and have hair as bright as the sun and as tall as the sky – and they’re going to win (according to Louis Walsh)! We are, of course, referring to John and Edward Grimes, better known as ‘Jedward’.

For those of you who have the misfortune of being unfamiliar with Jedward, the identical teenage twins rose to fame during 2009’s X Factor competition in the UK. Week after week they stunned judges and viewers alike with their resilience. Like the villain in a horror movie who just won’t die, Jedward could not be voted off – even winning the protection and approval of Simon Cowell himself. They achieved all of this, despite the conspicuous absence of their vocal abilities.

We feel that these qualities of perseverance and determination guarantee that Ireland will avoid the dreaded nil points at Eurovision. Although Blue are strong contenders, Britain has a reputation for sinking with half-hearted has-beens and this could be the year that  Ireland comes out on top. We’ll even go so far as to say that 2011 could one day be referred to as ‘the year of Jedward’.

As much as Eurovision promotes healthy competition, it also unites us in a mesh of cultures bound together by a commitment to tuning problems and flamboyant outfits – and at the end of the day, no matter who comes out victorious, the whole of Europe will be tuning into Dusseldorf at the same time, brought together by a tradition so ancient it’s practically innate. Viva Eurovision – may the best obscure, C-list pop star win!


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Battle of the booze

Next time you have an occasion to celebrate, will you be popping some champagne? Well, maybe not. Wine experts say that for the first time, Italian sparkling wine is outselling its French rival, with the British equivalent not too far behind.

As of New Year’s Eve it was estimated that Italian bubby outsold champagne by 10 million bottles, after a bad harvest in France and with champagne being substantially more expensive than its international counterparts – usually at least double the price.

So do we have a battle on our hands? Who will have the biggest selling bubbly of 2011? When you’re celebrating that promotion or engagement, what will be your drink of choice? I’m not sure that champagne will be toppled from its throne that easily, but Italian and British wines certainly do provide a cheap and cheerful alternative. Who is your money on?

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How long is your working day? As the song goes, a lot of people work 9-5, although here in the UK it’s not unusual for people to be in the office until 6pm or 7pm. However our neighbours in France are renowned for their 35 hour week. Could this be set to change?

A potential future leader of France’s opposition Socialist Party (PS), Manuel Valls, is calling for this tradition to be abolished, saying it holds the economy back. “The world is changing fast, and it is the responsibility of the left to reconcile the French with this need for change. The 35-hour rule affects this country’s competitiveness and it needs to go” he’s quoted as saying.

With France still recovering from the downturn which hit its economy significantly, will this idea get Mr Valls a bigger following? And will the 35 hour week eventually disappear? It was in fact only brought in during the 1990s to try and boost employment anyway. Time will tell, but it could certainly be a good idea to make companies in France more competitive.

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Best paid city?


Need some more money in your bank account? It’s not surprising according to a recent UBS survey on the highest paid workers in Europe, which shows that London has slipped into 21st place, when only three years ago it occupied the number two spot. “The falling pound has made London employees for multinational companies around 25% cheaper in the first half of 2009 than they were three years ago” according to Forbes.

However if you’re after a higher paid job, pay a visit to our Swiss office – the two best paid cities in Europe are Zurich and Geneva, in first and second position respectively. Workers in Zurich earn an average of $22.60 per hour, compared to a poor $2.40 in Kiev, which equates to being able to buy an IPod Nano in nine hours compared to eighty two – quite a shocking statistic.

It’s good to know that four of the top ten locations are also home to Euro London offices – Zurich, Luxembourg, Munich and Frankfurt. The survey also looks at number of days holiday, tax and wages in over 70 countries worldwide, although all figures are quoted in US dollars. For a full copy of the ‘Price and Earnings’ report, click here – it makes an interesting read.

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As UK companies look to overseas markets to maximise on business during the downturn, there has been a boost in demand for more exotic language skills, especially within the finance and sales sectors. That’s according to a new hiring trends report from multilingual recruitment consultancy Euro London Appointments.

Dutch, German, Japanese and Russian remain popular languages within finance, but more generally there has been increased demand for Arabic, Gujerati, Polish, Czech, Cantonese and Korean as companies look to develop in new and alternative markets.

Although finance and banking recruitment, particularly within hedge funds and trading, has been badly affected by the economic problems, the report shows that demand in areas such as risk and compliance and relationship management has grown as these aspects of finance become increasingly important.

Demand for experienced candidates in digital media has also increased, as has requests for multilingual sales staff, as organisations look for ways to boost sales both at home and abroad. The online gaming sector continues to boom and is seeing continuing demand for linguists too. In the North West of the UK particularly, companies are facing a lack of IT and engineering professionals with language ability, mostly driven by a drop in the number of foreign nationals coming here.

“With the economic picture and the recruitment market varying so much across the globe, organisations in the UK are realising the importance of maximising on relationships with their customers overseas” comments Steve Shacklock from Euro London. “This is not only in Europe but increasingly across Asia too, making language ability an even more valuable skill than ever. It’s reassuring to see that despite the doom and gloom that we hear about the jobs market, that there is still demand out there for skilled and experienced candidates.”

The report highlighted similar market trends across Europe, with France seeing an increased demand for sales professionals and the online sector also expanding in Germany. Although their financial markets have been substantially affected, Luxembourg and Switzerland are still seeing demand for finance professionals, with Luxembourg seeing growth in accountancy and Switzerland experiencing a continued demand for risk and tax specialists.
Euro London’s Spring 2009 hiring trends report covers the job markets in the UK, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland and France.

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