Mike Broad reports on what’s happening in HR around the world

Cut-price Canada retains title as lowest-cost business location

Canada is the least expensive place to do business out of nine
industrialised countries.

Its manufacturing operations are found to be 10 per cent cheaper than those
across the border in the US. Canada also came first in the last study in 1999,
and its inexpensiveness has been aided by its declining currency. Edmonton is
ranked as the least expensive city in which to do business.

The UK is ranked as the second least expensive country for business, with
low labour costs helping it to narrow the gap on Canada. Britain boasts the
second lowest labour costs, with manufacturing costs 12.5 per cent lower than

The Competitive Alternatives survey was completed by KPMG LLP, and measures
costs in 85 cities. Labour costs and taxes are the heaviest factors in business
location. Companies use the survey to determine the best places to locate

Britain’s Telford was found to be the least costly city in Europe in which
to do business.

Germany poised to create subsidised low-paid vacancies

The German government plans to introduce short-term labour measures to
create low-paid jobs as unemployment continues to rise.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroder described the latest unemployment figures of
3.9m as ‘depressing’ and announced the launch of subsidised low-paid jobs.

Opinion polls suggest unemployment has become an important issue for voters,
and Schroder said it could be used as a key yardstick to the government’s
performance when he was elected in October 1998.

Start-ups value staff input more than developed companies

Well-established companies are less likely to listen to employees’ views
than new businesses.

US research reveals that 73 per cent of HR professionals in start-ups report
managers have good communication with staff, but this drops to 50 per cent in
established organisations.

The survey of more than 570 HR professionals by the Society for Human
Resource Management also finds that 85 per cent of new firms give staff the
opportunity to suggest business improvement. It is 20 per cent lower in large
established firms.

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