Insight
  • An overwhelming section of the c-suite is going the way of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg – taking a casual approach to dressing, driving and dining, according to a recent survey by job website CareerBuilder.ca.

    According to the study of 400 hiring managers, including CEOs and the senior leadership team, 69 per cent of executives go half-Zuck (or business casual as the non-Silicon Valleyers call it), while 18 per cent go full-Zuck regularly slumming it in jeans or shorts in the office. Surprisingly, less than one in 10 execs regularly rock out in a suit.

    As for the chariot of choice, 83 per cent forego the white-gloved chauffeured limousines, driving their own cars to work. 32 per cent drive mid-sized sedans and 18 per cent trampled traffic in their SUVs. Minivans and luxury sedans tie for third place at 7 per cent while sports cars make up a mere 3 per cent.

    One in five c-suiters prefer environmentally-friendly ways to get around like cycling, public transportation or hybrids.

    When it

    Read More »from You don’t need a suit to be a suit
  • Ten years ago, following someone you just met might have earned you a night in a holding cell. Today, thanks to social media, it’s apt to lead to overspending.

    While it looks like voyeurism is going to be the modern world’s natural resting state for the foreseeable future, it’s having some unintended consequences – specifically on Millennials – according to a study from PR firm Citizen Relations.

    The report, which examines how our fear of missing out (FOMO) is impacting purchasing decisions, found that 64 per cent of Canadians admit to experiencing the annoying acronym (pause for a quick cringe).

    “Usually that means spending more money because the lesser-priced products don’t have the luxury of being able to promote (on social media) as much as the expensive ones that have larger budgets and higher margins,” Steve Tissenbaum, an e-commerce expert and instructor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Retail Management, tells Yahoo Canada Finance.



    It kind of explains why the study

    Read More »from FOMO! Millennials overspending thanks to social media
  • An aging population doesn’t have to lead to lower productivity and slower economic growth in Canada if governments change polices to encourage more innovation and competition across various sectors, says a new report.

    The Fraser Institute document, written by former Statistics Canada chief economic analyst Philip Cross, calls for the removal of regulatory hurdles that inhibit growth, citing new technologies such as ride-share service Uber as one example.

    Cross also suggests governments open up sectors such as telecommunications and finance, and says governments should encourage unemployed people to move to jurisdictions with less people are out of work.

    “Canada’s population is getting older, and there’s nothing we can do about that, but the right government policies will help spur economic growth despite our millions of aging baby boomers,” said Cross in releasing the report titled, Is Slow Growth the New Normal for Canada?

    He challenges previous reports that suggest Canada is headed

    Read More »from Canada's aging population could spur growth with policy change: report
  • Overdue Idea: The mobile convenience store

    THE ISSUE: Weekenddinner party and you’re playing chef. A good meal is a symphony, and you’ve got all the sections in tune. Meat marinating, sweet potatoes seasoned, veggies ready to go in the steamer (at the last minute of course; overcook the veg and you might as well serve it out of a can). The kids are banished to the basement to watch Despicable Me for the fifteenth time.

    Less than an hour to go and the table is set. You reach for the cream to make the sauce for the tenderloin and come up with an empty carton. You look in vain for a backup. Nothing. Will milk substitute? Of course not! And you’ve got pots bubbling and onions caramelizing. You can’t leave this.

    Sauce abandoned, you’ll be serving naked steak. The symphony is starting decidedly off key.

    THE VICTIMS: We’ve pretty much closed the loop on convenience, what with buying almost everything online, and having big box or bulk stores for the rest. But there’s that one gap: the last minute run that comes at the worst time.

    If

    Read More »from Overdue Idea: The mobile convenience store
  • Putting Microsoft Excel and Word skills on your resume may not be the waste of printer ink you think it is.

    A new study by labour market analysis firm Burning Glass Technologies, found knowing your way around a spreadsheet or document is a baseline for 78 per cent of middle-skill jobs – roles that require more training than a high school diploma but less than a university degree.

    Seems pretty basic, but leave it off and you may find yourself cut out of the running for a potential job.

    “Most companies – maybe not the mom and pop shops – but mid-size to large companies are using some sort of applicant tracking system which will filter applications for relevancy,” says Peter Harris, Chief Editor at Workopolis.

    It’s a way to cull through the riff-raff and make it easier for the recruiters or hiring officers at these large companies that have to sift through stacks of resumes to lock down candidates with the standard skills they’re after.



    “I think most people have these skills but one of

    Read More »from Don't skimp on the spreadsheets, jobseekers
  • If the first-class lounges at Pearson are looking more crowded these days, it’s not just the flow of recently-traded Leafs’ players making their way out of town. In its annual Wealth Report, real estate consultancy Knight Frank ranks Toronto among the most appealing cities for the world’s mega-rich.

    The report puts Toronto at No. 12, behind predictable leaders London and New York, but ahead of major capitals such as Berlin and Washington D.C.

    “’Follow the money’” was the sage advice from the Watergate mole, and it holds true at the top of our rankings,” says the report, which tracks numbers of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI) that choose to live in each city.

    The UHNWI (and yes, this is a real term) are folks with net worth of at least US$30 million, says Knight Frank. These are the people who wander through a 14-room mansion in Rosedale shaking their heads at the lack of space and shabby surroundings.

    Evidently 1,216 of these folks are parking their limos in Toronto right now,

    Read More »from Hey Toronto, really rich people really like you!
  • This won’t be a surprise to many Canadians toiling away at work right now, but the quality of Canadian jobs is at its lowest level in more than two decades, a new report from CIBC shows.

    The bank’s latest Canadian Employment Quality Index, has fallen across measures including part-time versus full-time work, paid versus self-employment and compensation trends.

    What’s more, CIBC says the Bank of Canada’s move to lower interest rates, in an attempt to spur economic growth and in turn job creation, won’t cure the problem.

    "The Bank of Canada continues to warn us that the headline unemployment rate is not as rosy as perceived and, in fact, according to the Bank’s new and improved measure of labour market activity, labour slack is still significant,” CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal said in releasing the report on Thursday.

    "In many ways, the Bank has a point. Our measure of employment quality is now at a record low — suggesting that the composition of employment is sub-optimal.”

    Read More »from Canada's job quality sinks to record low: CIBC
  • As if the balmy winter isn’t enough to brag about to fellow Canadians, Vancouver can now boast its status as having the best quality of life in North America.

    Vancouver ranks 5th in the latest Mercer Quality of Living survey, behind Vienna, Zurich, Auckland and Munich. Toronto had the next highest ranking, in 15th spot, followed by Ottawa in 16th place, Montreal in 24th and Calgary in 23rd.

    “Canada continues to offer a high quality of living for residents and expatriate employees,” says Eleana Rodriguez, a market business leader at Mercer Canada’s information solutions group.

    “Major Canadian cities tend to rank highly due to Canada’s favourable political and social environment, as well as medical and health considerations. Our quality of living plays an important role as we continue to see more multinational corporations open doors in Canada, providing significant opportunities.”

    Canada far outpaced cities south of the border. The highest-ranking U.S. city was San Francisco in 27th

    Read More »from Vancouver cracks top 5 on global quality of life index
  • THE ISSUE: Spring is coming (eventually it really will, according to science), and you’re thinking wardrobe revival. The Levi’s are looking done, and you’ve had the same rotation of shirts for as long as you can remember. You’re no fashion expert and you don’t have a sister-in-law with good taste, but you hit the mall and hope for the best.

    Banana Republic seems like the right vibe, but the pants feel too tight and look too loose. Is boot cut still in, if it ever was? Shirts are on sale, but are they just the leftovers from last year? The store is packed, and you’re temperature is rising. You’ve got about 5 minutes before you become a sweat ball in unpurchased clothes.

    You panic and buy newer versions of what you already have. But that’s okay, because you’re about substance rather than style. And that excuse can hold up until next year, right?

    THE VICTIMS: For some, new clothes time is about renewal and image improvement. For a bunch of us, though, (and yes, this is probably a guy

    Read More »from Overdue Idea: Wardrobe Auditor (and personal shopper)
  • Just as employers are starting to finally figure out what Millennials want in the workplace, along comes their younger cohort with a slightly different set ofstyles and attitudes, a new study shows.

    A report from Randstad Canada suggests Generation Z, (those ages 16 to 20), are even more entrepreneurial than Generation Y (ages 21 to 34), and more driven by career advancement than money. Gen Z is also more interested in face-to-face communication, says the study called From Y to Z: A guide to the next generation of employees.

    “While you may have been distracted by watching Gen Y-ers firmly establish themselves in the workplace as a force to be reckoned with, you might have missed the tide of a new generation moving up right behind them,” says Faith Tull, Randstad Canada’s senior vice president of human resources.

    The next generation of workers does have many similarities to Gen Y, such as being socially engaged and tech savvy, “but we can’t assume they have the same motivations, work

    Read More »from As workplaces struggle to figure out Gen Y, Gen Z arrives in the office
  • Had your debit card skimmed lately? Chances are the problem didn’t happen in Canada where technological updates and beefed-up online security have made it harder than ever for cyber thieves to operate in the Great White North. 

    That’s the big take-away from a new report from Interac Association, the company behind much of the world’s debit-card operations.

    The report, released this week, found debit-card fraud losses overall reached a record low in 2014 of $16.2 million in 2014.

    That’s down 45 per cent from a year earlier when total losses due to fraud cost financial institutions a total of $29.5 million, according to the report.

    The really good news for the millions of Canadians who use a debit card every day to buy gas, groceries and coffee is that just 20 per cent, or $3.2 million, of the 2014 losses occurred from within Canada.

    We’re far more likely to have our cards skimmed or to fall victim to an electronic pickpocket south of the border where the move to chip technology and

    Read More »from Canadian debit card fraud hits record low as criminals go 'where it's easier to do the job'
  • It’s been seven years since the federal Conservatives unveiled their shiny new savings scheme known as the Tax-Free Savings Account.

    So pleased was he with the TFSA’s potential, former finance minister Jim Flaherty christened it in his 2008 budget speech “the single most important personal savings vehicle since the introduction of the RRSP.”

    Canadians, in turn, have responded by embracing the TFSA to save for retirement, as well as  shorter-term goals such as a down payment on house, a family holiday or new car.

    Now, with a new budget (not to mention an election) on the horizon, it only makes sense for the feds to consider doubling the TFSA allowable contribution limits, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised during the 2011 election.

    Something this good can only improve when it’s super-sized, right?

    Who better to share his thoughts on such a heady topic than Rhys Kesselman, the Simon Fraser University economist whose co-authored study back in 2001 paved the way for the introduction

    Read More »from Doubling TFSA limit a win for the rich but trouble for most: study
  • Crowding on the TTCCrowding on the TTC

    THE ISSUE: Friday afternoon and you’re wishing you could just teleport back to the suburbs. You skip out of work early and beeline for the subway, hoping to beat the rush. But the crowd’s also thinking ahead, and the platforms are packed. No seat for you when the train arrives, so you pretzel yourself into the mix and grope for a handhold.

    You shift your weight between weary legs as a stroller mommy pushes on, compressing the crowd on each side and apologizing as she tries to clear the door.

    Next stop, there’s a guy with a bike, but he’s not going anywhere.

    You’re pro-transit and all that, but you’d happily go back in time ten minutes and take a cab instead.

    THE VICTIMS: First of all, I love subways. Or at least, I appreciate them. But I don’t pretend they’re one-size-fits-all.

    Some people need or really want to sit, and some people don’t mind standing, and some just want the best thing they can get when the door slides open and the mad rush begins. In the end, people endure it and

    Read More »from Overdue Idea: VIP subway cars (and steerage, too)
  • If you’ve ever wondered exactly what your government thinks of you, take a closer look at the next federal, provincial or even municipal budget.

    The numbers tell a revealing story of who and what we value, says Paul Kershaw, professorat the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health and author of a provocative new study examining the distribution of government spending by age.

    By Kershaw’s calculations, seniors are, by far, a top government priority, securing, on average, up to four times the amount of social spending per person compared to the amount allocated to younger Canadians.  

    The study – published by Generation Squeeze, a fledgling lobby group for younger Canadians – found that governments spend between $33,000 and $40,000 annually on each person over the age of 65 years.

    Canadians between 45 and 64 years are allotted about $14,000 to $15,000 each.

    Those 44 and under receive less than $12,000 each.

    The findings are based on total social spending

    Read More »from Seniors 'top priority' in government spending, while younger generations struggle: study
  • With a struggling dollar and continuing shenanigans in the oil sector, the Chinese Year of the Goat (Sheep or Ram) – which starts Thursday – will bring with it an equally rollicking Canadian economy. 

    “2015 brings lots of change, adjustments and corrections,” Sharon Hay, a Feng Shui Master and president of Sharon Hay International tells Yahoo Finance Canada. “(It) will be slightly more favourable compared to 2014.” 

    She also predicts a difficult year for investors. 

    “International disharmony and volatile political issues will create drastic fluctuations in the global economy which could translate into financial losses for some with regards to their investments,” says Hay. “With extreme caution and due diligence wealth can be achieved.” 

    Traditionally, Chinese businesses look to Feng Shui and astrology to help guide them in decision making. 

    But it’s not just Eastern businesses seeking meaning in the Chinese Zodiac. Hay has worked with businesses like TD, IKEA and the Ontario Real

    Read More »from Chinese New Year: Year of the Goat to bring wild ride for investors, says Feng Shui master
  • THE ISSUE: Game of Thrones season approaching,so it’s time to pump up the cable package. You clear 15 minutes in your schedule and make the call. You’re greeted by the automatic attendant, which is no surprise, but could it speak faster?

    You go through two menus of options, then another one. Finally, you get the hold music, which feels like a victory. Time’s ticking down when you get a live voice.

    You ask how much it will be to jump to the higher package, but she retorts with her own questions. Do you PVR? No. Would you like to? I guess, but… Do you think you’ll add other TVs to your home? Would you like the top package at a discount for three months?

    You hold firm for the basic upgrade and ask about price. Now she starts talking about bundling, and how much you can save if you switch your cell phone over. You don’t even know how much you’re paying now.

    She puts you on hold to check about fiber-optic capacity in your neighbourhood, and you bail.

    You’re out of time, and out of patience.

    Read More »from Overdue Idea: The service provider advocate
  • Leaving your job in style shouldn’t come with a YouTube video or trend on Twitter if you’re hoping to be meaningfully employed in the future, experts say.

    A new survey from OfficeTeam shows 86 per cent of human resources managers believe the way you quit a job will affect your future career opportunities.

    The survey of more than 600 HR managers across North America offers what may seem like obvious advice: Don’t burn bridges.

    “It’s good to go out with a bang if it’s positive. The negative one is never good,” says Dianne Hunnam-Jones Canadian district resident at human resources consultancy Robert Half, which includes the OfficeTeam division.

    However, with the rise of social media it seems the instances of over-the-top resignations are on the rise.

    Some famous job departure videos that have gone viral include one uploaded to YouTube by writer Marina Shifrin, who dances around her office to a Kayne West tune “Gone” announcing she’s quitting. That stunt came back to bite her when her

    Read More »from The worst way to quit your job

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