Job Fair in Seattle, WA

Davontia Porter came to the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative Fair and Forum in Seattle hoping to connect with a few job recruiters. He didn’t expect to find himself sitting across the table from Starbucks chief executive officer Howard Schultz.

“I was anxious at first, but as it went on I felt more relaxed,” Porter said. “He took the time to ask questions and really listen to my answers. He was understanding, and talked to me just like he would anyone else.”

Porter, who received his GED certificate in 2012, was among the more than 1,000 at Seattle’s hiring event, which brought together top U.S. companies to help engage young people with meaningful jobs and career paths. In the Seattle area there are an estimated 50,000 youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are disconnected from employment and education.

Related Photo Gallery: Hundreds of Job Offers Extended at Seattle Opportunity Fair

“My journey was just like everyone else’s,” Porter said. “But I’m willing. I’ve got an attitude that nothing can break me. If I’m positive, then how can I be negative?”

Porter and Schultz talked for about 20 minutes. Schultz asked him about his life and the challenges he had faced. He also asked about his approach to customer service.

“I was surprised by how open he was to me,” he said. “I felt comfortable for the first time in an interview, like I’m not being judged. Like I belong.”

After his interview with Schultz, Porter spoke to a Starbucks recruiting manager and was hired for a barista position on the spot. He says he’s considering enrolling in the Starbucks College Achievement Plan with Arizona State University, with full tuition reimbursement to all eligible partners.

“ASU, see that’s a blessing,” said Porter. “If everything goes out right, this will be a real life-changing moment.”

Tax Dodging Is a Popular “Sport”

Tax Dodging happens in every country, as the revelations of “Panama Papers” have made clear, but recently voters have become less and less patient with individuals and companies who cheat and do not pay their fair share of taxes. What constitutes tax dodging?

Companies that Cheat on their Taxes

In Europe, Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, and Fiat have all been investigated by the European Commission to see if they are cheating on their taxes, or taking unreasonable “tax avoidance” measures (see below). The European Tax Commission is setting new rules to reduce the number of tax loopholes.

Tax avoidance is legal but means using tax laws in a way that was not intended when they were written. You’re OK by the letter of the law if you’re avoiding tax, but you’re not playing fair. ”

Celebrities and Politicians who Cheat on their Taxes

There has been many cases of famous people who got caught at cheating on their taxes and some actually went to jail because of their illegal activities. For instance, American celebrity lifestyle TV personality Martha Stewart went to jail for 5 months in 2004 and has since made an impressive come-back in popularity.

Martha Stewart Tax Dodger

  • What European Personalities are famous for tax dodging?
  • Are these individuals still popular with the public?
  • How about politicians who get caught at tax dodging? Does it compromise their future election prospects?

Read More

Firms Forced to Reveal Gender Pay Gap in the UK

Gender Pay Gap Around the world

Starting in April 2017, companies with more than 250 employees will have to calculate and make public the gap in pay between male and female employees. Recent figures reveal that women in the UK make 20% less than their male counterparts.

“Employers must also publish their gender pay gap on their websites. They will have to report every year and senior executives will be expected to sign off the figures personally.”

Pay Gender Gap most and leas equal countries

Gender Pay Gap in France Gender Pay Gap in the USA
Gender Pay Gap in Australia Gender Pay Gap in the UK
  • Do you think that shedding the light on this issue will help make it better?
  • Do we need to do better in France, or is it good enough?
  • What do you think explains gender pay gap generally speaking?
  • Would you like France to also make it mandatory for French companies to reveal the gender pay gap?

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Skills Shortages

Vocabulary you will need to talk about this topic

skill requirements (or required skills) compétences requises
skill shortages pénurie de main-d’œuvre qualifiée
qualified employees employés qualifiés

The Problem with Skill Shortages

Around the world, the skill requirements of the job market have been altered by rapid globalization and technological change. These days, skill shortages are becoming a growing problem for employers, though the scale of that problem varies dramatically between countries.

Around 40 percent of employers in Europe have experienced difficulties finding employees with the required skills, especially in the manufacturing sector, according to an OECD report. However, the problem is most pronounced in Asia and in Japan and India in particular. The same report used data from the Manpower Talent Shortage Survey which shows that 81 percent of Japanese firms (with ten or more employees) had a problem finding qualified employees.

Over half of companies with over ten employees in India, Brazil and Turkey also found it difficult to fill their specific job positions. Even though the onset of the financial crisis in 2007 resulted in a fall in skill shortage levels, the problem has returned and intensified since 2008, despite high unemployment levels.

Countries with the biggest skills shortages

Original article by Niall McCarthy, Forbes contributor.

The End of Jumbo Jets?

Boeing is producing fewer and fewer 747s and Airbus hasn’t had a new order for A380s in over two years. Is it the end of the large jumbo jets? Why do you think this is happening?


a380-superjumboThese days Boeing and Airbus are having a hard time finding new buyers for their large 4-engine aircraft. The cost of purchasing such a large aircraft, combined with the fact that they’re relatively energy inefficient, makes them impractical. Jet-engine technology has improved, it is now safer to fly long distances with just two engines.

Catching People’s Attention

To make a good impression in business, it is important to be able to answer these questions in 60 seconds or less. It’s called the “elevator speech”. Let’s practice!

1. What do you do?
2. What problem do you solve?
3. How is your product or service different?
4. Why should I care?

Elevator Pitch

Questions Business Must Answer

Talk about your business (real or imagined) by explaining the following:

1. Who are we?
2. What do we do?
3. What do we have to offer?
4. Why will someone pay for our product/service?
5. What resources do we have?
6. Why will we be successful?
7. Why would someone participate/invest?
8. How will we measure performance?

Questions any business must answer