Eye EYE (c) 2016 Pixabay / cocoparisienne https://pixabay.com/en/eye-blue-eye-iris-pupil-face-1173863/ Several interesting pieces of research were published this week. They included a look at developer burnout by Dynatrace. The company shared its views on how automation can help reduce the talent crisis. Research by Toca highlighted how delays in digital transformation had cost legal firms more than £1 million per project. Sage looked at the changing face of HR in 2024 as it looked at the state of HR now and in the future.


CIPHR has again looked at the gender pay gap in the UK based on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates. The pay gap still exists, even in female-dominated roles.

Claire Williams, chief people officer at Ciphr, says, “The latest gender pay gap reports are disappointing, to say the least, especially given the ever-increasing spotlight on inclusive policies and initiatives and pressure for employers to close the gap.

“Far more needs to be done, and quickly, to hold employers accountable. More robust gender pay gap reporting, an overhaul of the childcare support available to working parents, making flexible working the norm, and an introduction of measures to minimise the disproportionate impact of the cost-of-living crisis on women in particular. And, of course, better representation of women and ethnic minorities at all levels, in all roles, is vital to driving change in an organisation. It’s also the best way of attracting and retaining the best employees.”

One could argue that the time for reporting is over. It is time that organisations act, rebalance the gap and consider how they can remove bias from their systems.


Globant launched “The Perfect Shot”, a study that combines artificial intelligence, biomechanical analysis, and advanced analytics to define the perfect free kick in football. It will look at more than 100 hours of every part of a free kick from start to finish.

Agustín Huerta, SVP of Studios and VP of Technology at Globant, commented, “With this study, we combine a science such as biomechanics with artificial intelligence to analyze a player’s performance in a unique way. The Perfect Shot is a concrete example of how technology can help to prepare and improve elite athletes to become better and better.”

If AI can provide the answer to a perfect free kick, can a similar video analysis answer some business challenges in the same way? The optimal way to carry out maintenance, for example. While topical to the world cup, this study could throw up some interesting insights.


Research by Qualtrics found that globally, organizations risk 6.7% of their revenue, or $3.1 trillion when they lose customers due to poor experiences. Based on the 2023 global Consumer Study, the announcement highlights that consumers are looking to improve their finances with second jobs or moving to cheaper locations. However, organisations are improving, with people having negative experiences down from 18% last year to 16% this year.

Bruce Temkin, head of Qualtrics XM Institute, commented, “Delivering on brand promises to keep customers coming back is essential for the long-term success of a business, and this research shows the actual impact on the bottom line when customer experience misses the mark. In tighter economies, shoppers will be more careful about their spending, and a single negative experience could be enough to lose them as a customer forever.”


SAS analysed the spending plans of 3,000 consumers across the UK and Ireland. Retailers will have a tougher time this year. The key findings included:

  • 67% blame rising energy costs on why they have to cut spending this Christmas.
  • Consumers plan to spend more of their December pay packet on energy (19%) this than gifts (17%).
  • 57% plan to take advantage of ‘buy-now-pay-later’ purchase options to help spread the cost of Christmas this year.
  • 49% are more likely to seek Black Friday deals and 31% Cyber Monday deals this year than before.

Andrew Fowkes, Global Retail Practice, SAS, commented, “Right now, retailers are facing the most unpredictable winter for consumer spending. There is no base data for them to go off to understand what lies ahead as we have jumped from Covid to the cost-of-living crisis and any data that came before isn’t going to be much of an indicator as to the impacts on consumer spending this year.

“The good news is our research shows ‘when’ consumers are planning to do their Christmas shopping. Almost 60% of people are aiming to do their shopping in November, while 49% will be looking for more Black Friday deals. Only a small number of consumers plan to leave it until the last minute.

“Retailers are going to have to pay even closer attention to what the data is telling them about demand signals, to make the best decisions on pricing, what products to push and when. Demand sensing is going to be a retailers’ best weapon in maximising sales and revenue this winter.”

SD Worx

Research from SD Worx reveals that over half of the Gen Z workforce (54%) crave better digitalisation across HR processes and solutions in the workplace. The UK is leading the way in Europe on HR transformation. Belgium is also in the top three countries, with 59% of organisations placing more emphasis on the digitization of HR processes.

Colette Philp, UK HR country lead at SD Worx, commented, “With Gen Z emerging into the talent pool amid a war for talent, businesses find themselves in the tricky position of hitting all the right notes when it comes to salary, flexibility and appetite for technology, to name just a few core expectations. Job hunters are increasingly holding the cards in this market, meaning employers have to demonstrate unprecedented levels of agility to not only attract employees but to retain them. Employees are being very clear about what they want, and with over 50% of European businesses making active efforts to transform the way they do HR, our research shows employers are listening.

“However, HR processes and personal approaches do not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, they can really complement each other when deployed effectively, helping reduce admin tasks and freeing up time for essential ‘human’ engagement. The key to success lies in understanding where employees most want the personal touch and delivering on it. It’s mission critical to get this right from day one to make the most out of transformation efforts. If your team don’t share your vision and you haven’t got their buy-in, your investment efforts will be in vain. To be effective and truly worthwhile the dual approach is what ‘good’ looks like in this recruitment market.”


Workday has published findings from a new study – “Closing the Acceleration Gap: Toward Sustainable Digital Transformation.” The study looks at the barriers to digital transformation, with CFOs seeing the top two results as bigger pain points than other business leaders.

  • Workforce skills (38%) (CFOs 46%)
  • Cultural barriers such as trust, transparency, and engagement (35%), (CFOs 56%)

Critical to success is a single source of truth from Data, with 24% of finance leaders saying they need this and 21% believing technology helped to unify the organisation.

Jennifer LaClair, CFO at digital financial services firm Ally Financial commented, “Access to data is the crux of most technology issues in any company. Data needs to be the responsibility of everyone in an organization, and that’s the approach we have taken at Ally—every leader, and every employee is a tech leader.”

Pete Schlampp, Workday’s chief strategy officer, looks towards a solution saying, “There’s so much data that you need to ask 100,000 different questions of it to really get at the insights. That’s where we have to rely on machines to help us find the trends that we need to look at.

“Typically, it’s been: ‘Three years from now, we’re going to transform, we’re going to digitize’. Now, instead of calendar year 2025, [those projects] are moving into calendar years 2022, 2023, and 2024. CFOs are coming out of the pandemic and saying, ‘We can’t go forward like this any more, we know that we need to transform.”


Xero has published its small business index for Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. It also published some additional research from South Africa about the tourism industry.


In Australia, the small business index fell 13 points to 115, driven down by a fall in sales growth, jobs, wages and time to pay (up 0.1 days). Will Buckley, country manager, Xero Australia, said, “While the October data is softer than previous months, it is important to note that the Index remains above the long-term averages.

“There’s no doubt the rising cost of living – driven by inflationary pressures – is challenging Australians across the country with many consumers being forced to re-examine purchases and reduce discretionary spending. This means customers are left with less to spend at local small businesses. Despite this, it is promising to see that small businesses still have the confidence to bring on new employees.”

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the index rose by a single point, with wages and jobs growth rising but sales only rising 5.8% after a 24.6% rise in September. Xero country manager Bridget Snelling commented, “The continued growth of small business jobs in the face of record low unemployment is encouraging. It shows that our smaller firms across the country are still competing well against big businesses when working to acquire talent.

“While sales growth is down following two months of inflated results, due to COVID-19 lockdown in Auckland this time last year, it’s still a solid result as Kiwi business owners hold steady in the face of economic uncertainty.

“Small business owners will also be happy to see wage growth continue to slow as they walk the tightrope of slowing sales and the rising cost of living for their employees. It’s important to note wage growth still remains historically high, so we do have to keep a close eye on small business sales to ensure the growth is sustainable.”


Retail was the only sector to record a fall in sales in October, with a drop of 5.1%, compared to an average increase of 4.6%. When considering inflation, this is still effectively a drop in sales. Retail is suffering with a drop of 6.6% in employment, whilst wages still rose by 4.7%.

Alex von Schirmeister, UK managing director, Xero, said, “As the festive shopping period kicks off, independent retailers need our support more than ever before. They don’t have the large marketing budgets to promote Black Friday deals. Last week’s Autumn Statement offered little respite, so these hard-working businesses will be feeling the pressure to make up the current sales shortfall and manage recruitment challenges. We’re calling for immediate action from policymakers to ease the burden and provide some much-needed stability.”

South Africa

In South Africa, Xero looked at the impact of the last two years on the tourism industry. Looking forward, 74% of small business owners in the South African tourism sector feel optimistic as they head into the first restriction-free holiday season in two years. However, they have suffered over the last two years, with 77% experiencing at least a 21% drop in revenue.

Colin Timmis, South Africa country manager at Xero, said, “There is a lot riding on this tourism season. The sector is a big contributor to GDP and a third of those we surveyed are looking to hire in the next 12 months. But small businesses won’t be able to grow without more support in key areas like digitisation, financial management, loadshedding, and reducing late payments from big businesses.”

The challenges are myriad, with a lack of investment in skills and technology, big businesses failing to pay on time and poor tax compliance all cited.


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