A skill is the ability to do smth well, especially because you have learned how to do it and practiced it.
Jobs, and the people who do them, can be described as highly skilled (e.g. car designer), skilled (e.g. car production manager), semi-skilled (e.g. taxi driver) and unskilled (e.g. car cleaner).
Companies look for people who are:
- self starters, proactive, self-motivated, or self-driven: good at working on their own;
- methodical, systematic and organized: can work in a planned, orderly way;
- computer-literate: good with computers:
- numerate: good with numbers;
- motivated: very keen to do well in their job;
- talented: naturally very good at what they do;
- team players: people who work well with other people.
The process of finding people for particular jobs is recruitment or hiring. Someone who has been recruited is a recruit or a hire. The company employs or hires them and they join the company. A company may recruit employees directly or use outside recruiters, recruitment agencies or employment agencies. Outside specialists called headhunters may be called on to headhunt people for very important jobs, persuading them to leave the organizations they already work for. This process is called headhunting.
People and workplaces
A company’s activities may be spread over different sites. A company’s most senior managers usually work in its head office or headquarters (HQ). Some managers have their own individual offices, but in many businesses, most employees work in open-plan offices: large areas where many people work together. Administration or, informally, admin, the everyday work supporting a company’s activities, is often done in offices like these by administrative staff or support staff. For example, those giving technical help to buyers of the company’s products are in technical support.
In larger organizations there is a human resources department (HDR) that deals with pay, recruitment, etc. This area is called human resources (HR) or human resource management (HRM). Another name for this department is the personnel department.
Labor unions, organizations defending the interests of workers (AmE) are called trade unions in BrE.
When workers are not happy with pay or conditions, they may take industrial action:
- a strike, stoppage or walk-out: workers stop working for a time.
- a go-slow: workers continue to work, but more slowly than usual.
- an overtime ban: workers refuse to work more than the normal number of hours.
Pay and benefits
Salary- money paid monthly directly into a bank account, normally to professional people and office workers.
Wages - money paid weekly and usually in cash, normally to manual workers.
Earnings - the total of the sums earned by an employee during a regular pay period.
Income - money we receive from work, investments, etc. It can be earned income (wages or salary) or unearned income (money from dividends, interest, royalties, etc.).
Revenue - income, generally the total income earned by the state or a large corporation: it’s not used for people and it is also the money a government receives through taxation.
Fringe benefits – extras such as a car or free accommodation received by right in addition to one’s salary.
Fee – a payment to a lawyer, doctor, etc. for professional services.
Bonus– something given, paid, or received above what is due or expected.
Compensation and remuneration are formal words used to talk about pay and benefits, especially those of senior managers. Compensation package and remuneration package are used especially in the US to talk about all the pay and benefits that employees receive. For a senior executive, this may include share options (BrE) or stock options (AmE): the right to buy the company’s shares at low prices. There may be performance-related bonuses if the manager reaches particular objectives for the company.
Compensation is also used to talk about money and other benefits that a senior manager (or any employee) receives if they are forced to leave the organization, perhaps after a boardroom row. This money is in the form of a compensation payment, or severance payment. If the manager also receives benefits, the payment and the benefits form a severance package. In Britain, executives with very high pay and good benefits may be referred to as fat cats, implying that they don’t deserve this level of remuneration.
Problems at work
There are some health and safety issues for people at work. For example, passive smoking, repetitive strain injury, dangerous machinery, hazardous substances and fire hazards. All these things contribute to a bad working environment. The government sends officials called health and safety inspectors to make sure that factories and offices are safe places to work. They check what companies are doing about things like heating and air-conditioning, first aid and fire precautions.
If someone such as a manager bullies an employee, they use their position of power to hurt or threaten them, for example verbally. Someone who does this is a bully.
Sexual harassment is when an employee behaves sexually towards another in a way that they find unwelcome and unacceptable.
If people are treated differently from others in an unfair way, they are discriminated against.
If a woman is unfairly treated just because she is a woman, she is a victim of sex discrimination, or sexism. In many organizations, women complain about the glass ceiling that allows them to get to a particular level but no further.
If someone is treated unfairly because of their race, they are a victim of racial discrimination or racism. Offensive remarks about someone’s race are racist and the person making them is a racist.
In the US, Affirmative action is when help is given in education and employment to groups who were previously discriminated against. In Britain, affirmative action is known as equal opportunities.
Losing your job
If you do something wrong, you are dismissed, fired, sacked or terminated. If you’ve done nothing wrong, you are laid off, made redundant or offered early retirement.
Employees who are made redundant may get advice about finding another job, retraining, etc. This is called outplacement advice.
Points for discussion:
1) The basic patterns of employment are constantly changing. Can you name any changes that employment has undergone in recent years? How will employment change in future?
2) Nowadays we often talk about “the second industrial revolution”, that is the move from manufacturing to service industries. What are the reasons that explain the decline of manufacturing industries? Can the workers who lose their jobs in this field easily find work in the service sector?
3) Telecommuting becomes more and more popular. It does have numerous advantages both for employers and employees. But it is far from being perfect. Think of the ways working at home can offer advantages and problems. What may people like or dislike about telecommuting? And, finally, how can people organize themselves for working at home?
4) Equality in employment: does it really exist?
5) Unemployment does not only mean the loss of income. It is a great psychological blow to a person’s self-esteem. What are the possible psychological consequences of unemployment?
1.Discuss this question: Do people change during their working lives? If so, how?
2. Now skim through the article. What does it say about the question above? Find the answer as quickly as you can.