Tesco bottom of corporate governance table

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figure_give_thumbs_down_400_wht_2344Tesco has been trying hard to recover lost ground, both in terms of its reputation – after accounting problems, senior managers leaving, and the way it dealt with its suppliers – and fighting off discounters like Aldi.

Clearly it still has some way to go. According to the Institute of Directors  it has the worst corporate governance of the top 100 listed companies.

The top 100 companies were judged on 34 factors including board effectiveness, audit and risk, director pay, return on shareholder funds, and relations with stakeholders. The index also included a public perception measure based on a survey of over 700 IoD members and accounting bodies.

Tesco performed badly on some key measures which had the most weighting such as audit and risk, and external accountability. In January it was found to have deliberately withheld money owed to suppliers and it also suffered the biggest loss in UK corporate history.

To make matters worse three former executives have just been charged with fraud and false accounting relating to Tesco’s exaggerated profits statement in 2014

Also down at the bottom are companies like Associated British Foods, Rolls Royce (currently having engine troubles), and Travis Perkins.

And at the top? British American Tobacco, Unilever, Diageo, and Next.


Firms say school leavers are unemployable

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business_figure_with_clients_400_wht_10680Tell me something new! This has been a recurring complaint, usually by the CBI or the IoD. This time it’s the British Chambers of Commerce.

What are they actually saying?

School leavers and even some university graduates are unemployable because:

  • they cannot speak confidently to adults
  • they can’t turn up for work on time
  • they speak abruptly to customers
  • they don’t look people in the eye
  • they fiddle with their phones all the time
  • they are unable to perform simple maths
  • they are unable to write clearly (presumably more comfortable with text speak)

John Longworth, the Director General of the BCoC has called for schools, and employers, to do more to help teenagers develop the “soft skills” demanded by employers and prepare them for interviews.

He also wants schools to enhance their careers services by forging better links with employers. (Do schools still have careers services?)

The chambers of commerce produced a survey showing that over 2/3 of employers thought that schools were not effective at preparing teenagers for work. Approximately the same proportion wanted improved literacy and numeracy and almost 90% wanted better communication skills. Over half wanted better computing skills and teamwork.

Mr Longworth said “It’s a scandal that we have nearly one million under-25s unemployed in the UK. Communication skills are a real problem both at interview and in the workplace where students cannot speak articulately and don’t know how to deal with people in a polite way. Then there is the whole business of punctuality where they won’t turn up for work on time and they don’t think that’s a problem

DSCN1502As career coaches my colleague and I have delivered workshops to prepare graduates for employment for several years – but in Lithuania where they realise how important this aspect of their education is.

My colleague has also worked with a number of UK universities, on a voluntary basis, preparing students for interviews via mock assessment days. He has experienced most of the above things plus inappropriate dress and lack of preparation.