Europe is a Hot Mess
Europe is a hot mess right now. Boris is apologizing. Putin is (probably) invading. Belgium is rioting. Fortunately, you have Lieven and the boys, welcoming special guest Calin Stefanescu, CEO & Co-Founder at Dora (Happy Recruiter) to help sort out all the employment news, while you worry about geopolitics.
In this episode:
TotalJobs is sticking it to staffing agencies, the 4-day workweek is gaining popularity in Europe - although it's not popular with everyone on the podcast - and IKEA flexes it's corporate muscle with employees who fail to get on the vaccine train. What's choo-choo in Swedish?
TRANSCRIPTION SPONSORED BY: Disability Solutions partners with our clients to build best-in-class inclusion programs and reach qualified, talented individuals with disabilities of every skill, education, and experience level.
Chad and Cheese Does Europe INTRO (5s):
Some podcasts, do it for the fun. Some do it for the fame, Chad and Cheese they do it for global effin domination. That's why bringing America to its knees was just the beginning. Now they have their eyes set on conquering Europe and they've drafted industry veteran Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze of Belgium to help them navigate the old country and bring HR's most dangerous podcast across the pond to trash-talk like never before. Not safe for work in any language. The Chad and Cheese podcast does Europe.
Oh yeah. Boris is apologizing. Germany is pandering. Belgium is rioting. Putin is invading. Crypto is tanking and the queen is stripping! Just another week in Europe. What's up, everybody? You're listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast does Europe. I'm your cohost Joel "Blinken" Cheeseman.
And this is Chad "Back in the USSR" Sowash.
Lieven (1m 0s):
I'm Lieven "Learning Russian as we speak" Van Nieuwenhuyze.
Joel (1m 5s):
Da comrade. On this week's episode, Total Jobs is leveling. The UK is piloting and Ikea is vaccinating or else. Let's do this.
sfx (1m 15s):
Europe has a bunch of countries in it.
Joel (1m 18s):
What's up my European friends? We have a mystery guest as we always do. Let me introduce Calin Stefanescu CEO, and co-founder at Dora the recruitment robot by Happy Recruiter. Calin, I assume you're calling in from Romania.
Calin (1m 38s):
Joel (1m 38s):
Welcome to the show.
Calin (1m 38s):
Thank you very much. Thank you for invitation.
Joel (1m 41s):
So Calin's working on his Russian as well. I assume
Calin (1m 45s):
Maybe we will need it. I hope not. They are very close to us, but let's say we are in a good position, right?
Joel (1m 52s):
Well, hopefully they'll need chatbots when they get there.
Calin (1m 56s):
Joel (1m 56s):
Speaking of, there's been a lot of news in the chat bot space. You've probably heard Paradox is now a unicorn. So Chad and I and Lieven have talked about a lot of other players getting gobbled up. What's sort of your take on the state of chatbots and recruitment?
Calin (2m 13s):
Basically our chat bot is only a part of the technology that we're doing. What we're doing with the chat bot is a kind of chit chat between the recruiters and candidates to have the options to discuss nonstop and find more things about the jobs from the candidate side and from the recruiters side, more things about the candidate in a very automatic way. Three lines if it makes sense for both of them to continue to the human interview and to make, to see if I know, make sense for them to shake hands and get a job or get a new worker.
Chad (2m 45s):
So it's kind of the busy work? I mean, it's really trying to do the upfront work.
Calin (2m 51s):
Yes, basically it's doing the screening. Besides screening is doing the searching for candidates. Basically candidates are leaving everywhere on social media in the company database and Dora is talking with every candidate. The conversation can be customized by the recruiter and in this way, or I will talk with your entire database for instance, in three days. And at the end you realize which is available or not.
Joel (3m 16s):
Gotcha. Well, Calin, we know a little bit about your company. Tell us a little bit about you and where they can find out more about the company. And then we'll get into some shout outs.
Calin (3m 24s):
I'm one of the co-founders of the company and the CEO. I like the whitewater kayaking.
Joel (3m 30s):
You're a huge Rambo fan we learned in the green room, which is great.
Calin (3m 34s):
Huge Rambo fan and Chuck Norris, of course.
Joel (3m 39s):
Chad (3m 39s):
Yes. Delta Force.
Joel (3m 40s):
Let's get into some shout out. Shall we?
Chad (3m 42s):
You first Cheeseman.
Joel (3m 43s):
All right. My shout-out goes to automation, huh? Stick with me here for a second. Okay. News out this week, approximately 12 million jobs will be lost to automation across France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. This speculation in 2040, according to a recent report from Forrester. It's not all bad news, of course, because Europe is an old folks' home. Europe's big five will lose, they'll lose 30 million fewer people of working age then in 2020, additionally green energy will help create 9 million new jobs in Europe's biggest economies by 2040, specifically in clean energy, clean buildings and smart cities and possibly the military if Putin has his way about it.
Joel (4m 33s):
Shout out for better or worse from me to automation.
Chad (4m 37s):
We're always talking about how robots are going to take jobs, but really they're just taking tasks. And maybe it's just, I mean, maybe it's the tasks that are leading up to taking the full job. I don't know. What do you, what do you guys think? Do you think that this is kind of overplayed, at least at this point within the next five years, it's not gonna, it's not going to impact that much, or do you think it will.
Calin (4m 57s):
I mean, right now everybody's complaining that there is not enough people in most of the sectors everybody's like complaining, complaining and you know, starting to pay more and more to find the right people. And I think automation will somehow will balance this a bit, but I don't think that automation is there yet replace, like large number of people. We still need to work a lot to be there. And I think there's going to be in years from now on, but for the moment, all his job, you know, that will be lost because of automation might be a good thing. Because as I mentioned, companies don't have enough people, you know, in their companies all over Europe.
Chad (5m 36s):
What do you think Lieven? Do you think its played out?
Lieven (5m 36s):
It's not about making jobs disappear it's about creating time when people have more time to can spend our time at things which are more interesting to them, or even more interesting to the company than just a nitty gritty that's automation can take over.
Chad (5m 52s):
Yeah, I will. This leads into my shout out, Exotech! Exotech sounds like a skeleton that you would wear during battle. Anyway, French startup Exotech has raised a $335 million series D round and has reached a valuation of $2 billion. Exotech is a hardware and software solution that replaces some of the human warehouse tasks. Humans don't have to roam the warehouse anymore. They can focus on picking, packing and making sure products go in and out of the warehouse. So this is, I think one of the pieces where I think warehouses will be fully automated one day and to be quite Frank, who wants to work in a fucking warehouse anyway?
Chad (6m 36s):
Joel (6m 36s):
I'm sorry, what was that valuation again?
Chad (6m 43s):
sfx (6m 44s):
Doesn't anyone notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!
Joel (6m 46s):
Yeah, no doubt. There's going to be huge growth in automation of factories led by Chad's favorite person, Jeff Bezos, who would prefer not to hire anybody if he could possibly get away with it.
Chad (6m 59s):
Well, they're shitty jobs. I mean, who wants them anyway?
Lieven (7m 2s):
Poor people will have them.
Joel (7m 3s):
Chad, so fancy with his real estate empire, who wants those crappy jobs? I'm on a beach in Portugal. Fuck everybody else. All right, Lieven. You got a shout out?
Lieven (7m 16s):
Yeah. My shout-out goes to Microsoft for buying Activision Blizzard and not just because I was a small shareholder and made some nice money also but mostly because I feel it's really a smart move. I mean, you know, in 2016, I believe it was, they bought LinkedIn for $27 billion when it was their entry to social media and given them access to a few billion, highly educated people. And then in 2018, their bought Github, enabling them to get in touch with millions of developers. And now they're buying one of the biggest game developers. Once again, giving them access to our hundreds of million, highly educated people. And I see a pattern there. This is not just about buying profitable companies and by the way, they are definitely profitable, but it's about preparing for the metaverse.
Lieven (8m 3s):
And also it's about buying influence. It's like buying a major newspaper, used to be our television channels used to be a few years ago. So it's buying influence, which is a good shot.
Joel (8m 17s):
Did Lieven say metaverse?
Chad (8m 18s):
He did, not to be, not to be confused with the whole Oculus metaverse thing, but the metaverse already exists. The infrastructure, the platform, and in gaming. And I agree. I mean, this is just being able to tap into more of those users as individuals and then perspectively, you know, open up that gaming platform with retail and, a bunch of different ways that you can actually buy shit more than just games. Right.
Lieven (8m 47s):
And also about recruitment. I mean, we strongly believe at House of HR that recruitment's going to be big in the near future when it's about recruitment or sorry. Gaming is going to be big when you're talking about recruiting. So by the way, it's one of the hot topics and Ostend's on May 6th on the e-recruitment Congress.
Joel (9m 6s):
So say more about that. What does that look like from your perspective, like interviewing in the metaverse? Gaming?
Lieven (9m 14s):
It's about reaching out to people, getting in touch with people, trying to just get them to know you. And it's about credibility. We would like to have our own professional e-sport brands, not a brand, but I mean, a team we would like to get involved. Like when we used to sponsor a soccer team, you call it football, soccer, or we call it football. It's the same thing. It's just, we call it a recruitment Plaza. When young people gather together in such big masses, then that's where we need to be. So we are trying to find out the best way to get involved into the e-sports world and how to reach out to those people, how to get to know them, how to make them, getting to know us and how to hire them.
Lieven (9m 57s):
And we have a few specialists on the topic who are going to be in Ostend. The big four companies are already using it now to recruit people. We have case from KPMG, somewhere in the Nordics. And we will also show the finals of the League of Legends BENELUX cup.
Joel (10m 15s):
Lieven (10m 15s):
Which is sponsored by House of HR, by the way.
Chad (10m 20s):
Nice. Good job!
Lieven (10m 20s):
And the people on stage five against five playing the competition in the finals. So it's cool to get people to know and the HR people to know how this works and how they can use it for their own recruiting strategies.
Chad (10m 33s):
That's right kids. So go to Erecruitment-congress.com. If you haven't gotten your tickets yet, be there.
Lieven (10m 39s):
Chad (10m 40s):
All right. Now RecFest don't for a few months after you go to Belgium for the erecruitment conference, you gotta go, you gotta go to RecFest and that is happening July 7th at KNEBWORTH Park, baby KNEBWORTH Park, Joel and I are going to be on the disrupt stage emceeing there making a bunch of noise, drinking beer, having a good time. We're really excited about it and looking forward to the Congress in Belgium in May, and then finding ourselves at RecFest, KNEBWORTH Park in the UK on the disrupt stage.
Joel (11m 15s):
That's right. Chad and Cheese, coming to Europe, baby.
Lieven (11m 17s):
Basically are just going to do the same thing. And RecFest as are going to do in Ostend, like drinking beer and disrupting people.
Chad (11m 26s):
That's our brand.
Joel (11m 27s):
Break shit, drank too much and talk shit. That's pretty much what we're gonna do.
Lieven (11m 35s):
That's why we're here.
Chad (11m 36s):
Joel (11m 36s):
All right, guys. Some big news out of the old country this week. All right, let's talk about TotalJobs. UK job board staple announced in a blog post that it is now taking significant steps toward a single standard rate card that will apply to all client types with discounts driven by volume. This will create a level and efficient market in which customer types will no longer dictate the rate you pay. The industry is you imagine, as you can imagine, sounded off with Stephen O'Dell sharing quote "It appears that they are ending the historic discounts given to agencies compared to employers, rather than charge employers, less they're charging agencies more.
Joel (12m 17s):
This will be a strategic decision to stop favoring agencies over employers and TA departments." All right, guys, what's going on here and who wins and who loses with TotalJobs pricing change?
Lieven (12m 28s):
Well, basically what they're doing is too little too late, and it's something that all the others have been doing for years. I mean, just to give a very practical example, Accents, one of our companies in Belgium, they have about 500 million euros revenue. They are big in Belgium, but one of our job boards, we were using a lot of StepStone, but StepStone doesn't want to sell for a price smaller than 120 euros per posting, which is totally ridiculous if you have 8,000 vacancies like we have, so StepStone has been doing this for a year, so they didn't want the big agencies like us to pollute as they call it their own databases. So they're just charged ridiculously high amounts of money to make us leave.
Lieven (13m 11s):
And that's exactly what we did. And we've been working for years not to need them anymore. And now finally we succeeded and now those people from TotalJobs say, Hey, you're going to pay more. You don't want them anymore. So this isn't going to make any difference at all.
Chad (13m 28s):
This seems so counterintuitive to me, why were employers more expensive than agencies in the first place?
Lieven (13m 35s):
It's a volume. Hiring company has maybe one hundreds reqs.
Joel (13m 36s):
You have built-in content with agencies and there were probably some of the first that came on.
Chad (13m 41s):
You can get content anywhere.
Joel (13m 42s):
If something's fallen from the tree, you're going to grab that before you go climb the tree for the other stuff. Right?
Chad (13m 48s):
But that was like 10 years ago.
Joel (13m 50s):
And that's still prevalent today. I'm sure. I'm sure a lot of the salespeople who made those deals are still with the company.
Calin (13m 57s):
Agencies are bringing volumes because they have projects all the time so from different companies, but they are using employer's names all the time. But you mentioned before about Accent. I will give you an example, for instance, what we realized during, you know, this years that like big companies like Accent or GI or Manpower or these guys, they have in their database, pretty much everybody. So pretty much there, they will be able to find job boards or in social media, even. So I think, you know, agencies doesn't really need, you know, a, you know, job boards, if they are using their database at a full potential.
Lieven (14m 40s):
Chad (14m 41s):
But to me, if you think about it, indeed, they totally screwed. Staffing pulled all of their content out of the organic. And yet they saw a revenue raise from staffing companies. So as we talk about, well, staffing companies don't need them anymore in the US at least they're seeing a rise in revenue on sites like Indeed, who were screwing over agencies. So, I mean, I'm not really sure where this is going.,
Joel (15m 4s):
Yeah. And this has been a trend for a while. Chad, I mean, direct employers, right? Like one of the appeals to that was it's only employers. It's no staffing jobs, et cetera. So this has been a trend that's happening for a while. I think in the UK, it's sort of unique because they rely so much on staffing companies. And I'm not an expert on that. But I think that probably has some bearing in the time that this took to happen. The question for me becomes, you know, when it's a seller's market again, and there's more job seekers than there are companies like do job boards, go back to the old model and pack it in with jobs that are relevant just to keep the people that are going to the site happy?
Calin (15m 45s):
I think, you know, employers, versus agencies they should work somehow together because agencies, they accumulate a lot of experience. They are doing only recruitment you know, everyday for four years. Employers used to, you know, have huge HR departments or, but they are focused on their business. So their main business is like building cars or buildings or whatever. So I think there is a lot of matching or they should work together in the future or transform their businesses somehow to make it to the next year's.
Chad (16m 14s):
Sounds like RPO.
Lieven (16m 15s):
Yeah. The situation has changed compared to a couple of years ago. I mean, most of the people reaching job boards are coming through Google anyway. So the more content they have on their boards the better, and each head is a hit. So if we, as agencies can deliver them volume that's okay, problem is this volume is appearing everywhere, all those, oh, we share our jobs on so many platforms because we do it automatically and they are distributed automatically, et cetera. So it's kind of littering the database and now they can charge us a lot. They hardly make any money for credits. They sell credits. And we have, let's say, if you buy 10,000 credits, we have one year to, to use them, but they can charge a lot per credit.
Lieven (16m 58s):
So they feel the paying customers who really pay a lot per credit because they only take like 10 or 20 credits at a time. Those people, jobs that got lost in the database, I feel that way. The problem is if people come to Google, they don't even see the search engine from the specific job board anymore. So I don't think this is the right time to do this.
Chad (17m 21s):
My prediction is they will see again much like Indeed they will see revenues rise. There will be a lot of bitching and whining and tantrums thrown from many of these staffing agencies, the ones who can be self-sufficient. This will push them to be that, but the rest of them will make up from a revenue standpoint or the companies that they lose.
Joel (17m 43s):
There will be a nice little sugar high for the job boards that will take staffing companies, because they'll see a huge influx of agencies. They're like, please take our jobs. Please take our jobs.
Lieven (17m 53s):
We have money to spend. Yeah.
Calin (17m 56s):
About the volumes, actually volumes can be a downside because if they deliver a lot of volumes than I know agencies, or they need to process that, that people and hear the digital part and the technology will help companies. Otherwise the volumes are actually a downside. You mean in my opinion.
Lieven (18m 13s):
But we've been working for years on not being dependent on job boards. We are ready for this. It was coming.
Chad (18m 19s):
I think you are, you were like top shelf when it comes to that age. So, don't use yourself as the example, I think of many other staffing firms, they're still going day to day. Don't you think?
Lieven (18m 31s):
Yeah, but, we are not one company. We are actually 43 brands and most of our brands are ready for this, they have been working on this and okay we've been helping them, but they have been working on this. So there used to be only job boards and the own websites. But now there is the own website or our job board start several kinds of job boards. There is Google for jobs. Then there are social, there's LinkedIn. And there is the fourth Pillar. Collin has company like Dora the chatbots, which is also a way to reach out to candidates. So we have so many more possibilities than there used to be before. And we don't depend on them anymore.
Joel (19m 3s):
And don't forget about the rise of sourcing tools like Seek Out and Hiring Solved and others that has certainly helped staffing agencies rely less on job boards. Well, guys, let's take a quick break and we'll talk about four day weeks in the UK.
sfx (19m 18s):
Europe has a bunch of countries in it.
Joel (19m 21s):
All right, guys, this is from Bloomberg this week. The four day work week is getting a tryout in the UK. Dozens of British companies have volunteered to take part in a pilot program offering four day work weeks for employees. The six month trial will include 30 firms that have agreed to allow staff to work up to 32 hours per week without cutting their wages or benefits. Similar trials have taken place in other countries, including Spain, New Zealand and Iceland, more scheduled to run in Canada and Australia. This trend is also bleeding into the US with San Francisco based Bolt instituting a permanent four day work week for employers last fall.
Joel (20m 1s):
Companies going to four days are said to have employees who are happier, more efficient and more productive. All right, Iceland and Spain are one thing, but this trend is gaining steam and capitalist strongholds like the US and UK. Guys what's going on here? Is this a good thing or a further decline of Western civilization?
Lieven (20m 19s):
It's not the further decline of Western civilization. I think it makes sense. I mean, we were talking about automation. If automation enables us to get more work done in less time without losing profit for the company, then it would be kind of evil to fire some people and make the rest of work harder just to make more profits. So people feel it's, they don't have that much nitty gritty work as they used to. So maybe they can get a serious job done in four days instead of five without losing profit for the company. And then it's win, win.
Calin (20m 50s):
And I will say that it's accepting the truth used to help a company about 10 years ago or more, maybe more. And they were doing a productivity software and they were selling this software all over the world, even in the US. And the software was like, you know, checking what, how much time you are working. And the average that they have was like five hours per day. Basically we work less than four days.
Lieven (21m 17s):
We should try three days, three days a week.
Joel (21m 20s):
Lobbying for a two day work week.
Lieven (21m 21s):
Calin (21m 21s):
Maybe we switch it to the weekend.
Joel (21m 24s):
Yeah. The workweek is Saturday and Sunday. And the rest of the time we get off.
Chad (21m 33s):
Exactly. So in 1926, Henry Ford popularized the 40 hour work week after he discovered through research that working more yielded, only a small increase in productivity that lasted for a short period of time. So Ford understood that working someone twice as hard did not produce him twice as many cars. And the world of work has evolved, not because people were breaking their backs or not seeing their families or quitting, but because of productivity, that's the key word productivity. So we took, we saw that Microsoft in Japan a couple of years ago tested a four day work week with 2300 employees.
Chad (22m 13s):
Their productivity jumped 40%. Electricity costs went down 23%, right? They didn't even talk about long-term retention if they carried this pilot forward, we should be focused, not on the amount of the hours that we're working, but the output, right. The actual productivity. And we need to really evolve past these quote unquote hour kind of times. We need goals. We need to look at, you know, projects, timelines, those types of things, and really get rid of this 1920s kind of thought process.
Calin (22m 44s):
Yeah. And maybe we can take a look to France. They are working like 36 hours, 36 hours, and they have coffee breaks. And some companies, they have wine breaks. They have strikes all the time constantly.
Chad (23m 0s):
Okay. Maybe not that part.
Joel (23m 2s):
Let's call France as the poster child for work productivity. Alright, snowflakes, I'm going to throw a little water, cold water on all this, a warm and fuzzy talk. So first of all, I'm still waiting for the four day work week trend to hit the Chad and Cheese podcast. But Chad still makes me work on Fridays. Okay. When I was a kid and wouldn't eat my dinner, what did my parents say? Kids in China are starving. Hamburger Helper is the devil, by the way. I don't know if they have that in Europe, but I hated it as a kid. Now I tell my kids to do their homework because kids in China are studying their asses off. If you're not familiar with the 9, 9, 6 work culture, let me enlighten you. Okay. 9, 9, 6 is a work schedule practice by many companies in the PPC.
Joel (23m 45s):
That's China. In it employees work from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, six days per week. If my math is correct that's 72 hours per week. So yeah. Keep coddling everybody Western countries because while you're watching Tiger King on Netflix with your extra day off, China keeps lapping us around the track. Let's see how that all turns out in a hundred years.
Chad (24m 7s):
So what you're saying is we should just go ahead and kill people with work.
Joel (24m 12s):
I'm saying there's something to be said for work ethic and working harder than other people do.
Chad (24m 17s):
Yeah. But you're tying that to actual times, which I think is total bullshit because I can work harder than most people can in probably a fraction of the time.
Lieven (24m 26s):
So you are referring to Henry Ford now we have a Elon Musk. So he's probably going to do something totally different as well.
Chad (24m 36s):
Neural network, baby.
Joel (24m 37s):