It is with some regret that after an entire year and more than a 1,000 posts I have to announce that I am finishing up the daily blog feed that is Peak Jobs. I say with some regret because I have learned so much that I didn’t know about employment and workforce planning by keeping updated about what was going on with job creation and destruction.

If your one of my more than 160 WordPress followers or follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn I would invite you to check out my new look blog Peak Jobs Analysis where I will provide “Charts, Infographics, Opinion & Analysis on all things Peak Employment. No spinning the Data. No Juking the Stats“. Rather than the previous iteration of Peak Jobs which was a mixture of news excerpts and opinions the new look site will provide unique content on all things employment, unemployment, underemployment, peak employment and workforce planning. There will also be fewer posts on the new site over time but I am hopeful they will pack more punch!

Oh, if you wish to re-read or access any of the previous posts I have archived them at Peak Jobs (2013-2014).

As an aside I will still be doing regular Random Analytics posts on lots of other subjects outside of all of the above but expect a fair bit of amateur epidemiology (currently Ebola is the maladie de jour).

Once again, thanks for reading my blog and I hope you can find the time to take a look at the site.



BMA is cutting another 700-jobs. Seriously, this is no surprise as BMA has an complete anti-worker view going back years… Via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 700 people sacked from BHP’s Queensland coal business (for those who don’t know BMA includes BHP Billiton, the same mob that WILL be and ARE cutting jobs across the Australian West in iron ore). As an aside these figures will factor in 27th month of coal job losses in Australia. Excerpt:

BHP Billiton is cutting 700 jobs across its Queensland coal business. BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has blamed the cuts on challenging market conditions and says its workforce across the Bowen Basin have been notified of the changes. Jobs are expected to disappear from Goonyella Riverside, Peak Downs, Saraji, Broadmeadow, Caval Ridge, Daunia and Blackwater mines. “BMA will continue to work with employees and contractors throughout the process and ensure everyone is treated fairly and with respect,” BMA’s Asset President Lucas Dow said. “We will also keep our community stakeholders informed throughout the process.”

If Lucas truly believes that all of his mines across the BMA are shit and he has to cut staff due to that fact then he is bonkers or he has serious management issues. As an old Workforce Planner I don’t believe that line and I’m sure neither does Lucas.

BMA cuts because it can and the Queensland government allows it because it wants to open more Greenfield coal mine sites with little or no labour protection.

From modern slavery in Kenya to the creeping slavery become more apparent in a modernised and technical world. One criticism only, like many writers in this space  forgets real cabbies and opts for Lyft comparisons but it is a well written and worthy Peak Jobs addition. Via Jacobin. Against Sharing. Excerpt (but click through and read the lot):

Kazi drives a Toyota Prius for Uber in Los Angeles. He hates it. He barely makes minimum wage, and his back hurts after long shifts. But every time a passenger asks what it’s like working for Uber, he lies: “It’s like owning my own business; I love it.” Kazi lies because his job depends on it. After passengers finish a ride, Uber asks them to rate their driver on a scale from one to five stars. Drivers with an average below 4.7 can be deactivated — tech-speak for fired. Gabriele Lopez, an LA Uber driver, also lies. “We just sit there and smile, and tell everyone that the job’s awesome, because that’s what they want to hear,” said Lopez, who’s been driving for UberX, the company’s low-end car service, since it launched last summer.

In fact, if you ask Uber drivers off the clock what they think of the company, it often gets ugly fast. “Uber’s like an exploiting pimp,” said Arman, an Uber driver in LA who asked me to withhold his last name out of fear of retribution. “Uber takes 20 percent of my earnings, and they treat me like shit — they cut prices whenever they want. They can deactivate me whenever they feel like it, and if I complain, they tell me to fuck off.”

In LA, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York, tension between drivers and management has bubbled over in recent months. And even though Uber’s business model discourages collective action (each worker is technically in competition with each other), some drivers are banding together. Uber drivers in LA, the largest ride-sharing market in the country, held dozens of protests over the summer to oppose rate cuts. Late last month, drivers working with Teamsters Local 986 launched the California App-based Drivers Association (CADA), a sort of Uber drivers union. Uber workers in Seattle have staged their own protests and have formed the Seattle Ride-Share Drivers Association. Just last week in New York City, drivers for the luxury UberBlack service threatened to strike and successfully reversed a company decision that would have forced them to pick up cheaper and less lucrative UberX rides. On Monday, drivers protested again.

The only way to stop exploitative work practices is to kill demand. Plenty of the poor globally are all too willing to be exploited.

To that end I choose not to use Uber (or variants) at this time. I’d rather walk.


Via the Standard Digital. Jobs or slavery? Kenyans speak of abuse in the Middle East. Excerpt:

Steven Ngunyi’s sister is currently admitted to Kijabe Mission Hospital where she is suffering severe dog bites after her Saudi Arabian employers pushed her into the dogs’ kennel. “They pushed her into the dogs’ kennel, and the dogs attacked her,” says Ngunyi. His sister is currently fighting for her life after being deported without treatment. Several family harambees have not been enough to cater for her medical expenses.

Househelp Shared Out

Hers is an alarming tale of modern day slavery that Kenyan women undergo in the hands of Arab employers. The high rate of unemployment and abject poverty back home has made them vulnerable victims of recruiting agencies.

Grace Nyambura, 25, and a resident of Langas in Eldoret, has spent the last three months in a jail in Sakakah, an Oasis Town in the North West of Saudi Arabia. Nyambura was lured into taking up the oppressive job by an organisation called Anyiro Agency, a recruitment agency based in Nairobi, and which has branches in Eldoret and Nairobi. With a monthly salary offer of Sh45,000 for housework, she embarked on a journey to the Middle East with hope for changed family fortunes. She tells of ‘holding centres’ where women in search of jobs in Saudi Arabia are kept before being picked by their employers. “It is at the holding centre that I said goodbye to the girls I travelled with from Kenya. I was there for a week before my employer picked me up,” she recalls.

Nyambura’s experiences at the hands of her employer were harsh. She was regularly circulated to her employer’s relatives in turns, where she was forced to do all kinds of work, including farm work. “I eventually refused the abuse and was beaten up by the man of the house in the presence of the entire family. They said I was rebellious. I was denied my salary and food. He asked me to pack my bags. I thought he was taking me to the airport but he took me to jail instead,” she says. At Sakakah Prison, she was shocked to find out that 300 other Kenyan women were in prison and their families were kept in the dark over their predicament.

“Five girls managed to get out of jail and back home, they informed my mother that I was locked up and she came to my rescue, otherwise I would still be languishing in the jail at Sakakah,” she says. Despite her time in jail, Nyambura ironically preferred to stay in jail, opting not to go back to her employers’ house.

There are some stories that keep popping up week-in, week-out and the story of Grace is common to many women globally who are under-skilled, under-educated, under-employed and open to abuse by the lowest form of recruitment consultant in there home countries facilitated by willing agents in their destination countries. This time I chose a story which featured a young Kenyan girl who worked in Saudi Arabia, tomorrow it might be a young illegal immigrant from Nicaragua who is abused by her employee’s in the United States or a Philippine lass abused in Hong Kong…

Some NGO’s call this type of practice ‘modern slavery’ but those for a taste of history understand this is a very old practice. From the 1600’s the English used to offer the King’s shilling to soldiers willing to join the Army or Navy. When they signed up they were then given up to half a years pay in bounty which was a fortune to unskilled farm labourers only to subsequently find themselves indebted as their pay was consumed by regimental or naval costs (uniform, equipment) and ongoing food and board expenses. You say modern slavery, I say impressment.

Until you fix the demand side you won’t see much change though. There are tens of millions of under-skilled, under-educated, under-employed women globally who will risk it all for the chance of a new life.

I came across a an interesting Twitter post by Laurie Garrett in regard to volunteering to fight Ebola and thought that it might make a good inclusion to Peak Jobs. Upon reflection I thought it might make a better depository of resources for volunteering to fight the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa. I’ll update as new resources come across my desk (but if you have suggestions please add to comments so I can add them to the list):

Medecins sans Frontieres: (Click through for the YouTube) Our teams require experts in a range of fields.

We hire: Medical doctors — generalists, HIV/TB specialists, paediatricians, anaesthetists, surgeons, emergency specialists, obstetricians/gynaecologists and infectious disease specialists; Anaesthetists; Surgeons; Nurses; Midwives; Mental health specialists — psychologists, psychiatrists, and nurses and social workers with psychology qualifications; Nutritionists; Pharmacists; Physiotherapists; Lab technicians and scientists; Epidemiologists; Field coordinators; Logisticians — experts in construction, electricity, mechanics, water and sanitation, supply chain; HR coordinators; Financial controllers; Administrators

Urgently needed: Pharmacists; HIV or TB doctors; Anaesthetists; Surgeons; Obstetricians/gynaecologists; Midwives

Partners In Health: In partnership with Last Mile Health in Liberia and Wellbody Alliance in Sierra Leone, is planning to supplement the ongoing community and health center work of these organizations in Grand Gedeh, Liberia, and Kono, Sierra Leone. Most staff will be local nationals. However, given the chronic health workforce crisis in these countries, a sizable number of expatriates will be needed to augment the response and to train the local teams. Experienced clinical and non-clinical health sector workers interested in volunteering to help people affected by the West Africa Ebola outbreak are welcome to register below. At this time, PIH can only accept applications from U.S. citizens in accordance with evacuation guidelines set forth by the U.S. government. We are hiring long-term positions (ideally 12 months) and we are also recruiting short-term clinical and non-clinical volunteers (8 week minimum). We are currently recruiting for the roles listed below. We will be updating this list frequently, according to needs identified on the ground. If you are interested in volunteering, but are unable to find a match for your qualifications, please check back soon.

Red Cross (Australia): Australian Red Cross does not send volunteers overseas in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. We are supporting the 1,800 volunteers already on the ground from the affected countries, and sending only specialist aid workers who are experienced in managing health crises, as needed.

The Australian Broadcasting Network (aka Aunty), a key source of balanced news in Australia is looking to cut another 300-jobs, on top of the 88 it cut from the Australian News Network in July. Via The Australian (a publication which is very anti-Aunty). ABC’s forced job cuts put Lateline’s future in doubt. Excerpt then a comment:

THE ABC is planning to shed about 300 jobs as part of budget cuts and is also considering the future of high-profile programs, including Lateline, under an organisational restructure.

Managing director Mark Scott is understood to have a blueprint of programming changes at the ABC, an overhaul that is separate from the Abbott government cuts.

While negotiations are continuing between the ABC and federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the size of the savings required, the ABC’s own commissioned efficiency report, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, will go to the board when it meets this week.

The PwC report is a rival to the Peter Lewis efficiency review Mr Turnbull commissioned to assist the public broadcasters in identifying areas of savings outside programming. An ABC source confirmed that while initially a figure of 500 job losses was discussed, this has been reduced to about 300, excluding the 88 redundancies made as part of the cut to the Australia Network. Including that figure would take the total job ­losses closer to 400.

The Tea-Party Tories have never been great fans of the ABC so as they cut across their own departments it comes as no surprise saying that the public broadcaster was also in for a trim.

Looking at the scale of the cuts the ABC Linked In page states that the company employs “4,500 staff in 60 locations around Australia and 13 overseas bureaux“. Thus the 400 jobs to be lost is an 8.9% reduction in employment.

On a personal note, if Lateline were to be cut or transferred to ABC24 I hope that they can include a employment transition strategy for Emma Alberici. Apart from being a rather decent journalist while working on a late night project I had the opportunity to have a Twitter conversation with her on all aspects Fetta as she reported on the subject from Italy. For those who do not know (and I myself was ignorant of the fact) but Fetta is a >$20Bn industry and employs 1,000’s in Italy.

Across Australia both State and Federal governments state that they want more and better paying jobs and better education for our kids. At the same time both levels of government continue to cut education budgets, reducing staff and are in the process of increasing the cost of university education. Via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. TAFE teachers union says job cuts are double figure announced by NSW Government. Excerpt:

TAFE teachers have said the New South Wales Government’s job cuts at campuses are far higher than it first announced. The teacher’s union said at least 1,200 jobs were going from the state’s colleges, 50 per cent more than originally stated. Campus staff, who this month began learning the extent of cuts coming under government reforms, said under attack is TAFE Outreach, which helps disadvantaged students.

The union said at some campuses up to half of the Outreach staff had been cut. The cuts are part of the State Government’s move to the Smart and Skilled reforms, which include greater roles for private training colleges. In 2012, Education Minister Adrian Piccoli announced 800 jobs would go under budget cuts.