Pakistan Among Worst Countries To Live In For Young People: Report

Pakistan among worst countries to live in for young people: report

LONDON: Pakistan is one of the worst countries for young people aged 15 to 29 to live in, according to the findings of a new youth development index compiled by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Pakistan ranks poorly at 154th in the index, below neighbouring countries like India (133), Bangladesh (146), Iran (94), Sri Lanka (31) and Nepal (77).

The youth development index comprised 18 indicators that collectively measure countries’ prospects for young people in employment, education, health, civic and political spheres.

The report exposes deficiencies in the existing stock of data and highlights the need for a better and more inclusive data.

Of the five domains of the index (i.e. Education, health, employment, civic and political participation), Pakistan trails behind the South Asian average in all except Health and well being. Pakistan’s low score in the YDI is explained by its significantly low scores in the areas of education, financial inclusion and political participation. Alarmingly for Pakistan’s policy makers, in the domain of education, all South Asian countries except Afghanistan have better scores than Pakistan.

To quote a specific example: Only 42% of children in Pakistan are enrolled in secondary schools whereas the South Asia and global score for the same indicator are 68% and 81% respectively.

Report shows that Pakistan, in comparison to its neighbours and other developing countries, also scores particularly low on financial inclusion. Only 6% youth in Pakistan have an account at a formal financial institution. The South Asian and global figures for the same indicator are 31% and 42% respectively.

“Young people make nearly one third of the total population of Pakistan. If we extend the age range to include children as well, then three out of every five people in Pakistan are below the age of 30, making it one of the most youthful countries in the world”, said Rafiullah Kakar, one of the lead researchers.

“Pakistan needs to invest in education and skills development of the youth cohort to reap the dividends of this demographic bulge and prevent it from becoming a time bomb. Especially, it is time for provincial governments to rise to the occasion and responsibly handle the powers devolved to them under the 18th amendment, including youth affairs”, said Rafiullah.

“Given the large youth bulge in Pakistan, this is high time for the government to invest in young people, build their capabilities and involve them in the decision-making processes. Otherwise, this demographic bulge could easily change into a time bomb.”

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said, “The index throws down a challenge to policy-makers everywhere, without action to promote young people’s empowerment, boosting opportunities for employment and opening up spaces for political dialogue, countries will be squandering their most precious resource and storing up problems for the future.”

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Poorer Young People Suffer More ‘In Almost Every Walk Of Life’

(Left  to right ) Kevin Staunton, Kate Quinn, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone,  Carrie Staunton and Laura Egan at the launch of the ESRI’s Growing up in Ireland study at Croke Park in Dublin. Photograph: Maxwells.

Teenagers from poorer socio-economic backgrounds suffer more than their peers from affluent backgrounds in almost every walk of life, a major report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) shows.

The research from the Growing Up in Ireland study, published Thursday, represents the first results from interviews with more than 6,000 17 and 18-year-olds who have been participating in the study since 2007.

The analysis shows that boys and girls from socially disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be “problematic”, to have negative views of school, to be overweight, and to have lower life satisfaction.

On education, 39 per cent of the most socially disadvantaged disliked school compared with 19 per cent of those in the most socially advantaged group.

Young people from more educationally advantaged homes had consistently higher scores in English and Maths.

Those from disadvantaged families were more than twice as likely to be scolded for “misbehaving in class” (24 per cent compared to 11 per cent). They were also significantly more likely to be scolded for work that was “untidy or late” (24 per cent compared to 15 per cent).

The report called for “additional interventions” to stem the “most concerning” issue of the extent to which attitudes towards – and performance in – the education system are related to various measures of social advantage.

Mother’s education

On health, there was correlation between physical wellbeing and parent education, with a “significantly lower” quality of health for young people whose mother had the lowest level of education.

There was also a strong relationship between weight and social advantage. A higher percentage those whose mother had lower levels of educational attainment tended to have weight problems.

For example, 4 per cent of young people whose mothers had a primary degree or higher were obese, compared with 14 per cent of those whose mothers had left school at Junior Certificate or before.

The percentage who had eaten fruit and vegetables in the 24 hours preceding their interview increased with the level of their mother’s education. In contrast, the percentage eating energy dense foods and soft drinks fell as the mother’s level of education increased.

In terms of “screen time”, young people from more educationally disadvantaged families were significantly more likely to spend three or more hours per day in front of a screen such as a television or a computer than those whose mother was a university graduate. Online time was also significantly higher among those who were overweight or obese.

On mental health, young people from less advantaged backgrounds also tended to report lower life satisfaction. More than a quarter of those from the most disadvantaged group gave a rating at or below the halfway mark compared to only 12 per cent of those from “professional or managerial” backgrounds.

Behaviourally, those from less advantaged backgrounds were more likely to be in the “problematic” category. Nearly one-in-five young people from the “never worked” family social class group were categorised as having “problematic” levels of socio-emotional difficulties compared to just 7 per cent of those from a “professional or managerial” background.

Those who had left education were more likely to be in the “problematic” category (24 per cent) compared to those who were still in school or in further/higher education (9 per cent).


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Gen Aware: Young People Fighting Against Domestic Violence

ABC Heywire contributor and Check It Fest organiser Jessica Carolyne

Jessica Carolyne’s life experience and love of community projects has inspired the co-creation of Gen Aware — a concept that tackles domestic violence.

“Young people don’t really understand what violence in their relationships is,” Jes, who identifies as gender neutral, said.

“Without being taught about it, how can you know what it is?”

Gen Aware aims to raise awareness about domestic violence among young people through educating them on relationship and sexual violence, what a healthy relationship is and where to seek help if necessary.

After experiencing domestic violence as a teenager, Jes was inspired to present the Gen Aware concept to the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre on the Gold Coast, which then received funding through the ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants.

“My poor mental health as a teenager was the result of domestic violence growing up and then being sexually assaulted when I was 15,” Jes said.

“When I was sexually assaulted, it took me a month to realise it was assault.”

“This is why Gen Aware is so important. Nobody should have to go through abuse and not know that it is not normal or acceptable.”

The free event features music, food and activities and aims to raise awareness of mental health services for people aged 12 to 25 years.

“We hope to get young people to understand what relationship and sexual violence is,” Jes said.

Gen Aware is also working with a local school to spread its message.

“We want them to know what relationship and sexual violence is.”

“We want them to know what consent is … what a respectful relationship is, to know if something isn’t right and where to get help,” Jes said.

Gen Aware is also creating a phone app which explains the different forms of relationship violence.

Jes believed that domestic violence was a growing issue for young people and without access to support services it could result in serious mental health issues.

“Experiencing violence is terrible for one’s mental health,” Jes said.

“We can work hand in hand with the mental health sector, ensuring that we have better mental health outcomes for young people.”

The road to recovery

Jes’s experience with domestic violence resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder and anorexia nervosa.

Support from Jes’s mum was critical on the road to recovery.

“My mum is an incredible person who did everything she could to protect us, and has gone above and beyond in making sure I got a good quality of care for my poor mental health,” Jes said.

“There is nobody I look up to more than her.”

As a teenager, Jes was told not to expect to get better, that they would experience severe mental illness for life and as a result could not expect to be able to work or study full time.

“I am now doing what my mum says is more than a full-time load,” Jes said.

For now, Jes will continue a full-time Honours degree in social work as well as working and volunteering at headspace and co-running Gen Aware.

Gen Aware will be at the Gold Coast’s Check it Fest at Broadwater Parklands, Southport on Saturday October 29.

For more information, head to the Gen Aware on Facebook or the Check it Fest website.

If you ever need someone to talk to, you can contact Headspace, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Reachout and BeyondBlue.

Q Life is the national Australian queer helpline on 1800 184 527.

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Preparing Young Workers To Lead

The vast majority of employers believe their companies will be in good hands when it’s time for the next generation of leaders to take over, new research finds.

A study from the staffing firm Robert Half revealed that 85 percent of executives are confident that younger professionals have the ability to become future leaders of their organizations. Just 13 percent of those surveyed said that workers born between 1978 and 1999 don’t possess any management potential.

To ensure that they are properly preparing younger workers to take the reins one day, many organizations are offering a wealth of professional development resources. Specifically, 60 percent of employers offer onsite training; 57 percent provide opportunities to attend conferences, seminars and webinars; and 55 percent facilitate mentoring programs.

Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, said young employees are a highly educated, ambitious group of workers who gravitate toward jobs that provide meaningful personal and professional growth. [See Related Story: 4 Big Challenges New Leaders Have to Overcome]

“To retain these employees and develop them into next-generation leaders, companies must provide plenty of training and stretch assignments as well as clear paths for career advancement,” McDonald said in a statement.

To help employers, Robert Half offers several tips to make sure their organizations are providing the proper level of development opportunities that younger workers desire:

Understand what drives them. Young professionals want to work in inclusive and transparent workplaces, with many expecting to climb the ranks quickly. It is important to take advantage of their problem-solving skills, curiosity and confidence.
Encourage their growth. Spend time learning about how younger workers picture their careers in the future. Then, give them tasks to help them move in that direction.
Allow them to lead. Try giving younger employees opportunities to show their ability to lead by putting them in charge of small initiatives. When doing so, you can give them guidance, but be sure to let them set their own strategies.
Give them mentors. Besides giving them people they can learn from and confide in, mentors can help young professionals perfect their soft skills such as communication and collaboration.
Communicate often. Younger workers prefer face-to-face interactions with their bosses. To help guide these employees toward becoming future leaders, spend time communicating with them in person.
In addition to in-person interaction, young employees also want frequent feedback from their managers, McDonald said.

“Even the best performers benefit from consistent coaching,” he said.

The study was based on surveys of more than 2,200 chief financial officers from companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

– See more at:

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Pope Francis Quotes: Prayer Unites Us

A quote from Pope Francis:

“Dear friends, one of the most effective ways we have to help is that of prayer. Prayer unites us; it makes us brothers and sisters … and reminds us of a beautiful truth which we sometimes forget. In prayer, we all learn to say ‘Father’, ‘Dad’. We learn to see one another as brothers and sisters. In prayer, there are no rich and poor people, there are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. In prayer, there is no first or second class, there is brotherhood. It is in prayer that our hearts find the strength not to be cold and insensitive in the face of injustice. In prayer, God keeps calling us, opening our hearts to charity.”

“How good it is for us to pray together. How good it is to encounter one another in this place where we see one another as brothers and sisters, where we realize that we need one another. Today I want to be one with you. I need your support, your closeness. I would like to invite you to pray together, for one another, with one another. That way we can keep helping one another to experience the joy of knowing that Jesus is in our midst, and that Jesus helps us to find solutions to the injustices which He Himself already experienced.”

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— — Meeting with homeless at center for health and education at St. Patrick parish, Washington, D.C., Sept. 25, 2015

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Young People Worldwide Fear A Lack Of Economic Opportunities

Image result for young people economic

What is the one thing that makes young people everywhere the most anxious? According to the Global Youth Wellbeing Index, it’s a lack of future economic opportunities.

Data from both the OECD and the Youth Wellbeing Index show Australian youth have had it better than just about any other country’s young workforce, but their prospects are also not so rosy.

It’s clear that the millennial cohort has drawn a short straw compared to earlier generations. A large majority (85%) of the world’s youth are experiencing low levels of wellbeing, the index notes.

But they aren’t getting much sympathy: a virulent anti-millennial sentiment has led to their derision as “generation jobless”.

It’s also worth considering how the youth of Australia have fared and expect to fare – because while the verdict has historically been excellent, there are disparities masked by the glossy big picture.

What about Australian young people?

As ample survey data now shows, Australian youth are fretting about their prospects, with lower income growth, overqualification, employment instability and crowding out from many key domains such as housing; all these factors together portend a more stressed generation.

Perhaps no statistic captures this better than the fact that one-quarter of young Australians say they areunhappy with their lives.

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, the number of youth that are “neither in employment, education or training” (often called “NEET”) has actually risen by 1.4% to 11.8%. This equates to 580,000 young people.

Inequality in education tends to be a driver of inequality in employment. Young Australians who have only a Year 10 Certificate are more than three times as likely to be unemployed as those with tertiary education.

There is also a clear disparity by gender. Young women are 50% more likely to be stuck in a NEET situation than men. This is well above the OECD average of 36% for gender disparity.

The problem is particularly prevalent among young Australian women caring for infants. This is why a lack of access to affordable child care and flexible working arrangements are two significant barriers that must be addressed.

There is also a racial aspect to youth employment. Indigenous youth NEET rates are more than three times higher than those of non-indigenous Australians. Part of the challenge in this regard stems from the weak labour markets in remote and very remote regions.

These disparities are often masked when Australia’s impressive overall record is compared with other countries. However, as the Parliamentary Budget Office of Canada has calculated, the economic situation for youth can worsen dramatically in a short time. It did for Canada’s proportion of underemployed youth, which swelled from 35% to 40% in less than five years. So the overall record for Australia could change soon too.

Sadly, in terms of the fear of a bleak economic future, young Australians are not that different from their peers abroad.

A universal fear

Around the world, nearly half the youth are unemployed or underemployed, while more than 120 million youth are still illiterate. So it is difficult to overstate the universality of this problem.

Is this because youth employment has received the least focus? Unemployment has historically taken a back seat to other core priorities towards the young.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for example, include the eradication of hunger, child mortality, illiteracy and disease – but there is no goal for unemployment or underemployment. It may be time to add another notch to these priorities, with a focus on developing strategies for engaging and employing youth.

The benefits if we achieved this goal are far from superficial. It is well documented that when youth are gainfully employed they are less likely to rely on social programs, less inclined to criminality, better engaged in civic life and better poised in their sense of personal wellbeing.

Usman W. Chohan is a Doctoral Candidate, Policy Reform and Economics, at UNSW Australia.

Originally published in The Conversation.

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Mary Didn’t Just Listen, She Acted: Pope Francis

Mary didn’t just listen, she acted, Pope Francis says

Through Mary, “we learn to open our hearts to obey God; in her self-denial, we see the importance of tending to the needs of others; in her tears, we find the strength to console those experiencing pain,” Pope Francis said Saturday, during a special jubilee weekend dedicated to Mary.

ROME – During a special Jubilee weekend dedicated to Mary, Pope Francis said Mary was not only Christ’s mother, but also his obedient disciple and a model of concrete service to others.

“Throughout her life, Mary did everything that the Church is asked to do in perennial memory of Christ,” the Pope said Oct. 8.

With her faith, “we learn to open our hearts to obey God; in her self-denial, we see the importance of tending to the needs of others; in her tears, we find the strength to console those experiencing pain.”

In each of these moments, Mary “expresses the wealth of divine mercy that reaches out to all in their daily need.”

Pope Francis spoke to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to celebrate a special Oct. 7-9 Marian Jubilee, which is part of the Pope’s larger Jubilee of Mercy.

The Marian Jubilee opened Oct. 7 with Mass in the Roman Basilica of Saint Mary Major. The Mass was followed by the recitation of the rosary in Saint Peter’s Square and the Prayer to the Queen of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii.

Adoration and confessions were then available until midnight in the parishes of Santa Maria in Valicella, also called “Chiesa Nuova,” and San Salvatore in Lauro.

Jubilee activities continued Saturday morning with a pilgrimage to the Holy Doors of the four Major Basilicas in Rome: St. Mary Major, St. Paul Outside the Wall, St. John Lateran and St. Peter’s.

Groups of various Marian delegations from national communities and shrines then participated in a special procession to St. Peter’s Square, where Pope Francis led pilgrims in praying the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary before delivering his address.

In his speech, the Pope noted how from the earliest centuries of the Church Mary has been invoked as the “Mother of Mercy,” explaining that the prayer of the rosary in many ways is a “synthesis of the history of God’s mercy, which becomes a history of salvation for all who let themselves be shaped by grace.”

By reflecting on the important moments in Jesus’ life, we see how his mercy is shown to everyone from all walks and stages of life, he said, adding that Mary always accompanies us on this journey, pointing us in the direction of her Son, “who radiates the very mercy of the Father.”

Mary guides us toward the path we are called to take “in order to be true disciples of Jesus,” he said, adding that in praying the rosary, we feel her closeness in each mystery and contemplate her role as “the first disciple of her Son, for she does the Father’s will.

Francis stressed that Mary can help teach us what it means to be a disciple of Christ, because while she was “eternally chosen to be his Mother,” she also learned how to be his disciple.

“Her first act was to listen to God,” he said, noting how she then obeyed the angel’s message and followed Jesus closely, “listening to every word that issued from his lips” and keeping them in her heart.

However, the Pope stressed, “it’s not enough simply to listen.” While this is the first step, it must be followed by concrete action.

“The disciple truly puts his life at the service of the Gospel,” he said, and, recalling Mary’s own actions, pointed to how after the Annunciation, Mary immediately went to her cousin Elizabeth to help her during her pregnancy.

Not only did she then give birth to the Son of God, but she also showed her concern for the young spouses in Cana by interceding for them. When Jesus was crucified on Golgotha, Mary “did not flee pain but stood beneath the cross of Jesus and, by his will, became the Mother of the Church.”

After Jesus rose from the dead, she then “encouraged the apostles assembled in the upper room as they awaited the Holy Spirit, who would make them fearless heralds of the Gospel,” Pope Francis said.

Francis closed his homily invoking Mary’s intercession, praying that she would be “a protection, help and blessing for us all the days of our life.”

“We fly to your protection, holy Mother of God. Scorn not our petitions in the hour of need. O glorious and blessed Virgin, deliver us always from every peril.

Celebrations for the Marian Jubilee will conclude Sunday with a special Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square.

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Young Workers More Prone To Stress Than Their Older Colleagues: Survey

stress computer frustration

The 2015/2016 report found 45 per cent of Generation Xers, born from the early 1960s to mid 1970s, and 35 per cent of baby boomers, born during the post–World War II, are more affected by workplace stress than their older colleagues.

The study of 1,895 employees in the UK found that the top causes of workplace stress for Generation Y were inadequate staffing and low pay. A lack of work/life balance was also a major concern compared to baby boomers who listed company culture and excessive organisation change.
Rebekah Haymes, senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson said: “Work/life balance appears as a stronger stress driver for Generation Y employees, while the characteristics of the organisation play a more prominent role for older employees.”
The report also shows Generation Y are more worried about their finances than older workers with 65 per cent compared to 55 per cent of generation X workers and 38 per cent of baby boomers.
Haymes added: “In an environment with tight margins, employers cannot easily manage issues around low pay and staffing levels.  However, they can marshal resources and focus on providing guidance on stress management and coping strategies through their wellbeing programmes.”
Last year alone a record 17 million working days were lost, costing the economy at least £2.4billion, according to the UK Statistics Authority. This compares with 13.6 million days lost in 2014 and 15.2 million days during 2013.
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McDonald’s Praised For Their Treatment Of Workers

Image result for Mcdonalds australia workers

Just 10 of McDonald’s 100,000 Australian workers were found to be underpaid over two years, prompting the workplace watchdog to laud the fast food giant’s compliance record.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said her agency received just 33 requests for help from McDonald’s workers in the two years to June, with wages totalling $33,619 backpaid to the 10 workers.

Of the rest, 11 required no further action, nine complaints were not sustained, two were resolved without any payment, and a former employee’s complaint about a stolen mobile phone was referred to police.

McDonald’s Australia has been under scrutiny over its enterprise agreements with the shop assistants union that trade off penalty rates for higher base pay.

The union has denied claims by rivals that staff are being paid below award rates.

Documents filed recently by McDonald’s in the Fair Work Commission show almost 53,000 of its “crew members” were aged 14 to 17. They are paid “junior rates” ranging from 40 per cent to 60 per cent of the weekly wage applying to employees over 21.

Critics argue the pay deal with the union makes it easier for McDonald’s to meet its compliance requirements, but Ms James said the company should be commended for achieving “outstanding compliance rates”, given that
85 per cent of employees were younger than 22.

She will today tell the Franchising Council of Australia’s national convention that McDonald’s is staying “ahead of the curve” by publicly demonstrating its strong commitment to compliance.

In contrast to McDonald’s workers, she said young people were generally over-represented in complaints to her agency. One in every four requests for help came from a worker under 25. “So it’s an extraordinarily low number of McDonald’s employees who are raising concerns,” she said.

McDonald’s Australia director, Hayley Baxendale, said complying with legal obligations was essential to the company’s values. “As an employer of more than 100,000 people, and Australia’s largest employer of youth, we know we have a great responsibility to ensure our employees are being paid correctly with appropriate working conditions,” she said.


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Sexual Harassment An ‘Everyday Occurrence’ For Young Australian Workers

Image result for young workers harassment

Young women are being solicited for sex at work and face alarmingly high levels of sexual harassment and bullying from their supervisors, co-workers, customers and clients, new research reveals.

Surveys and interviews with 1000 Australian workers, aged 15 to 24, have found young women believe sexual harassment is “normalised” in their workplaces, and occurs on a daily basis with apparent impunity.

They say it is regularly treated by their employers as a “non-issue”.

The wide-ranging study, conducted to provide a snapshot of the workplace issues facing young Australians, found that 50 per cent of young people were experiencing some form of bullying and harassment on the job.

One in four young people reported being asked to do something at work that made them feel unsafe.
One in four young people reported being asked to do something at work that made them feel unsafe. Photo: Louie Douvis

“I feel that sexual harassment is so common at work that it isn’t treated as an issue,” a 23-year-old female gaming worker said.

“It’s a daily occurrence, and I would be pinpointed as sensitive if I felt uncomfortable by some of the vulgar comments made by customers daily.”


A young woman, 23, from New Zealand, said sexual harassment left her no choice but to quit her previous job in farm work.

She said many of her colleagues, who were in Australia on visas with work requirements, were subjected to the same sexual harassment but didn’t do anything about it.

The majority of workplace bullying and harassment comes from customers or clients.
The majority of workplace bullying and harassment comes from customers or clients. 

“I had to leave a job because of sexual harassment that my co-workers seemed to deem ‘part of the process’ of getting a second work visa’,” she said.

The troubling findings will be released at Friday’s Young Workers Conference with the Young Workers’ Centre, the Victorian government, and WorkSafe Victoria.

The majority of workplace bullying and harassment (32 per cent) came from customers or clients, according to the report.

Almost one in five experienced bullying or harassment from a boss or supervisor and almost one in five from a co-worker.

I would be pinpointed as sensitive if I felt uncomfortable by some of the vulgar comments made by customers daily.

Gaming worker

One in seven young people (15 per cent) cited more than one of these offender categories.

And when it came to workplace safety concerns, one in four young people reported being asked to do something at work that made them feel unsafe. Most said they “did it anyway”.

The Young Workers Centre said some of the stories uncovered through the study were “outrageous and shocking”.

“Young women being solicited for sex at work, being advised to simply ‘wear long pants’ to prevent serious burns from dangerous work equipment, or paying for medical costs for workplace injuries out of their own pocket,” a spokeswoman said.

“The common thread to this … is a widespread fear of retribution fo raising health or safety issues in the workplace. Young workers worried they would be targeted as troublemakers and lose shifts or the jobs entirely.”

Among the report’s key recommendations are for workplace bullying and health and safety training to be made mandatory in high schools for students in year 10 and above, and for sexual harassment to be “specifically defined and recognised” as a workplace safety issue by WorkSafe Victoria.

It also recommends the creation of an online platform – such as Trip Advisor – where users would be able to anonymously rate their experiences with businesses as recruitment candidates or as employees.


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