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2022 Best Podcast Award
Disability Solutions

London Calling

Europe is surging! Travel is way up, the cash is flowing and employers of all shapes and sizes are embracing the continent, in light of Covid being in the rearview mirror. Most notably, London is the world's hottest new destination for employers and innovative companies, while Spotify is giving us a blueprint for increased retention, greater diversity and salary equality. Why, exactly? Gotta listen. And if that wasn't enough, the boys sit down with Elke Moerenhout, a marketing manager at Jobat, one of the top job boards in Belgium, to chat about the importance of employer brand and how to harness it in the fight for top talent.

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.

INTRO (14s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel (35s):

Oh yeah. A nudist group in England has seen the fastest growth in new members since it was founded in 1964. Well, that's one way to beat the heat isn't it? You're listening to the Chad Cheese podcast does Europe. I'm your co-host Joel "buff baking" Cheeseman.

Chad (54s):

This is Chad "first world problem" Sowash.

Lieven (57s):

I'm Lieven "my skills are futureproof" Van Nieuwenhuyze

Joel (1m 1s):

On this episode, London's expanding in my knickers. Spotify stays home in a chat with Jobbot. Let's do this.

sfx (1m 11s):

Europe has a bunch of countries in

Chad (1m 14s):

Knickers really? Knickers?

Joel (1m 17s):

Knickers. It's 1824 knickers.

Chad (1m 21s):

Ah, Jesus. Well, that's, that's how I feel because I actually had to hard line into my internet because my goddamn computer's wifi adapter is fucking blown or some shit. I don't know. Goddamn Intel.

Joel (1m 32s):

I love that you worked in hardwire with my nudist colony new, like that was nice. And, I had to work in fastest growth in new members. Hopefully everyone caught that one. We have a smart listenership so they should get that.

Chad (1m 43s):

They did now. They did now. Yeah.

Joel (1m 47s):

Lieven how are things in the old country? Has it cooled down a little bit?

Lieven (1m 50s):

It's heating up again, which is good because I have a swimming pond in my backyard, which needs heating up.

Chad (1m 57s):

So is it cold? Is it cold at this time right now?

Lieven (2m 1s):

For me it's too cold to swim. It's 22 degrees. It's Celsius. You don't know what celsius means, but it's cold. It's cold.

Joel (2m 8s):

That's about what my wife likes in the hotel room. It has to be between 18º and 20ºC. So 22º's not that warm.

Lieven (2m 15s):


Chad (2m 15s):

I was gonna say, I was gonna say that's around 70º or is like 68 degrees, right?

Lieven (2m 20s):

I dunno. It's cold.

Chad (2m 21s):

68º. Yeah. It's cold.

sfx (2m 23s):

Oh hell no.

Joel (2m 24s):

Not getting in that.

Lieven (2m 25s):

It's been pretty hot, but now it's it's okay. It's agreeable. It's a nice temperature and it's getting hot again next week. So, but I don't really mind. I like hot.

Chad (2m 33s):

It's been hot here. We got some rain which has made it incredibly humid. So I went out to mow the lawn yesterday and I felt like I just went swimming, in a swimming pool for God's sakes. Geez.

Joel (2m 45s):

It is a little soupy, soupy here in the Midwest, for sure.

Lieven (2m 49s):


Joel (2m 49s):

So as long as it's too hot in the hot tub, who cares what the temperature is?

Chad (2m 54s):

Too hot in the hot tub.

Joel (2m 55s):

Well, shall we get to some shoutouts gentlemen?

Chad (2m 57s):


Joel (2m 58s):

All right. I'm gonna go first if that's okay?

Chad (3m 1s):


Joel (3m 1s):

All right. Shout out to the European travel surge everybody. It's not just the nudists in the UK that are surging. Haha. The number of international travelers heading to Europe is surging to according to hotel giants, Hilton and Marriott quote "Europe's on fire with a huge surge in business" end quote, they added Europe is now trending above 2019. Specifically Marriott's CFO said "RevPAR that's revenue per available room". I didn't know that. And most of our listeners probably don't either.

Chad (3m 38s):


Joel (3m 38s):

In Europe surpassed 2019 levels in June marking a 50 percentage point increase from January. Moreover Airbnb's growth in Europe is incredibly healthy with now six of the top 10 cities for Airbnb rentals. Now in Europe, shout out to surging Europe. And I'll add that Chad and I will see you all again real soon.

Chad (4m 2s):

Very, very soon. Lieven?

Lieven (4m 3s):

My shout out goes to Bernard Marr and he's a futurist and a column writer for Forbes. And he has written a book on future skills and I'm going to read the full title, Future Skills: The 20 Skills and Competencies Everyone Needs to Succeed in a Digital World. And Rika, our CEO, my boss asked me recently to write an article about future skills and about constant learning and education cetera. And because Bernard already did, I don't have to. So thank you, Bernard. Shout out

Joel (4m 32s):

Any of the, any of the skills you can share so that I can pass them on to my teenage kids.

Lieven (4m 37s):

Well, I only read 14 out of 20 and I thought, okay, I'm going to pass the test, my skills are future proof. So I stopped reading afterwards, but basically it's all digital as we thought and now it's not true. It's not true. It's about innovation and creativity and, but you have to read a book. I'm not going to give away his key takeaways because he probably wants to sell some copies.

Joel (5m 3s):

Does virtual reality make the list? That's really what I wanna know. Metaverse and virtual reality kids.

Chad (5m 11s):

Oh my God. Yeah. So, okay. My shout out's gonna align more with Joel's but well, I don't know. Future proofing energy. My shoutout is to European gas prices. Now let's put this in into context kids because here in the US, we get pissed. We get our feathers ruffled when it's above $5 a gallon. And in Europe today, it's more like $7.50.

sfx (5m 37s):

What did you say?

Chad (5m 39s):

So luckily they have amazing infrastructure for the most part, trains, boats, all that other fun stuff. Cuz $7 and 50 cents. Shit!

Joel (5m 47s):

And planes are cheap too. You said, you know, trip, like what is it? 25 bucks to go from? You know, England to Spain. I mean like Ryanair ?

Chad (5m 57s):

Ryanairs. EasyJets. Yeah. All that shit. You can get the low cost, kinda like the Spirit version, which are actually better, I think in Europe. But yeah, man, you can find some cheap deals. When we didn't get a chance to go to Belgium in November last year, we actually just rescheduled and went to Malta instead. So we flew into Paris and it was 65 euros a piece to fly to Malta, round trip.

Joel (6m 25s):

And I enjoy it cuz, we went to Canada this weekend and they sell it in liters. So you don't feel as bad when you pay for it in liters, but then you do the math and go, holy shit. Gas is expensive.

Lieven (6m 37s):

Gas is expensive

Chad (6m 38s):

Events, baby, where are we going?

Joel (6m 39s):

Where are we going? Oh, well we're gonna do some American trips, which we're still trying to get Lieven here in the new country.

Chad (6m 45s):

Yeah. HR tech baby.

Joel (6m 47s):

Update on that. But he's got Nashville and Vegas hopefully on his travel list. Any word on that? Lieven you gonna join us out there?

Lieven (6m 55s):

Yep. I will. I will.

Chad (6m 56s):


Joel (6m 56s):

Well that was easy.

Chad (6m 57s):

That was too easy.

Joel (6m 58s):

And then I dunno, Chad, you're probably going to Portugal on vacation at some point, but yeah, we've got Unleashed in Paris in October. One of our favorite shows that we do during the year.

Chad (7m 10s):

It's coming. Yeah, no question gonna be there in Paris and then going to take a nice little stint for Q4 in Portugal.

Joel (7m 19s):

Oo nice. You're basically taking the holidays off from what I understand.

Chad (7m 23s):

Basically the entire, after we leave Paris, I'm in Portugal until like early January and then I might come back.

Joel (7m 33s):

It's the Cheese podcast for two months during the holidays, everybody.

Chad (7m 36s):

Yeah. That's we have internet there for God's sakes. I can do this shit from anywhere I'm on the Spotify plan. TOPICS!

Joel (7m 50s):

Topics. Let's go to London, everybody. All right. This is from TechCrunch. Despite the downturn companies are looking to London for expansion. We talk a lot about layoffs on the show, but that isn't stopping employers from growing headcount and office space in jolly old England. TechCrunch reported "London in particular remains a key destination for international firms looking to spread their proverbial wings with US unicorns and public companies revealing inaugural or upsized offices in the UK capital and recent months. And closer to home, a bunch of smaller European tech companies have also extended their reach out across the English channel with their first UK hubs"

Joel (8m 31s):

end quote. And so guys, what do you make of all this loving for Londontown?

Lieven (8m 38s):

I think it's more like a slight recovery. I mean, so many companies closed their London offices after Brexit, then there was COVID remote work. So London was getting kind of a brain drain or a European drain and now companies are coming back and 40% of those new companies are actually returning companies, just getting back to London, thinking, okay, Brexit, isn't that terrible. They know what's happening now. They feel more secure. They're getting back. And I can also imagine now with remote work, local offices are closed down all over the world, but corporate needs a presentation and of course a presence and a major city like London is better than let's say Reykjavík in Iceland or something.

Lieven (9m 22s):

There's also legislation, there's tax and not being part of European Union is probably a good thing if you want to decide to lower the taxes to attract companies and all these things to get right make London attractive again. And it's still London and I mean, London is closer to Scotland than Paris is, so we all want to be in Scotland. So

Chad (9m 40s):

Yeah, if they don't have internet in Scotland, that's a problem.

Lieven (9m 44s):

They have sheep, so many beautiful sheep. Yes.

Joel (9m 46s):

Closer to New York too.

Chad (9m 49s):

Oh, geez. Yeah. Well, it's funny because we take a look at the European taxes and then we take a look at, you know, the US taxes or what we call taxes. And then all we have to do is start to roll in all of the different benefits that we have to pay for, which are really taxes in the first place. So if you actually do that and I think many companies are looking at that. If you look at the amount of money that you're spending on taxes/non-taxes in the US versus Europe, you pay less in Europe, no matter what, and they have universal healthcare and that kind of shit. So what, what I believe, and this is not just Europe, I think we're gonna see, we're gonna see an awakening where people are waking up every day, having that morning stretch, grabbing a cup of coffee, and they're coming to the realization that the American dream is alive and well in Europe.

Chad (10m 39s):

That's the thing. And it's really, it's blowing my mind because when we take a look at our taxes and obviously we're making kind of like a part-time move to Europe, we did these huge assessments on what's it gonna cost? What do we get? Not just from personal standpoint, but also from a company standpoint. And to me it's much easier -infrastructure, way of life. You know, you're not, greed is not good, all that other fun stuff. So yeah, companies do want to be able to squeeze as much out of their employees as they possibly can, but if they can have great employees, great talents, which is what's drawing these companies to these places, it's not the tax code as much as it's the talent, I think.

Joel (11m 23s):

Yeah. I'm, I'm glad that Lieven you underscored the Brexit question because I didn't know what kind of impact that had on companies, particularly in Europe and the fact that you underscored that it was a negative at first and it sort of, looks like it's become a positive in Britain being able to sort of make their own rules around taxes and regulations that maybe the EU hinders them with. So I'm glad that you painted that picture for me. Yeah. I think everything you guys said was certainly on the right track, you know, Hooray imperialism, I guess partly spreading English around the world has turned out to be a good thing for globalism. And as companies want to have a middle ground between America and not just America, but North America, South America, as well as having real nice access to Europe is a positive.

Joel (12m 14s):

And with a lot of geopolitical issues with China and Russia, I think London is becoming a much more amenable place than it has before. The language of business more and more is English. So London becomes kind of an easy center point for English speakers and being able to do business all around the world. And like you guys mentioned regulations. I mean, England is the lowest has the lowest corporate tax rate among all G seven countries. They have research and development tax credits that are really friendly to startups coming over and creating companies. Regulations also make London an ideal place for testing new technologies and product and services.

Joel (12m 58s):

They have kind of like a sandbox that's friendly to taxes and regulations for startups. England got really good as their empire declined with sort of financial engineering and how to make England a nice place to park money, to spend money, to put companies, just ask the Russian oligarchs that are feeling the pinch that all went to England at one point they're pretty good at this, all the houses. Yeah. And they they've rotated it from yachts, super yachts and mansions to startups and businesses around the world. So I say cheers to London and welcome this new trend to startups and companies headed to London. I think it's good for America as well as Europe.

Chad (13m 40s):

Okay. So question. Do you enjoy going to Europe in London, let's just say London specifically more or would you rather go to Manhattan?

Lieven (13m 49s):

Well, Manhattan is even farther away from Scotland, but I think for me, if I was going on a trip, I would go to Manhattan because it's more exotic to us than London is. London is pretty close and I've been to London, lots of times. I've only been to Manhattan a few times, but London is probably more fun to live in. I think so I've never lived in Manhattan. I've spent some time in London, not really living there, but I think I would prefer London.

Joel (14m 13s):

Is that where you'd start a company?

Lieven (14m 17s):

If I wanted to start a company, I expect something, I know, so probably I know Europe much better than Manhattan. Manhattan sounds even more expensive than London is. And I mean, the real estate in London used to be terrible. The prices, I mean, not real estate, but now it's getting acceptable because of the drain there has been. So now it's not affordable, it's still expensive, but it's okay. And I think Manhattan is probably one of the most expensive regions in the world, for a startup. You can't just launch something in Manhattan I feel.

Chad (14m 51s):

It's pretty expensive. Well, I think the lure for anybody, like you had said, it's more exotic to come to Manhattan because London's right there. I think it's the same way for individuals here in the US with London.

Joel (15m 2s):

It's also interesting how, you know, Dublin for a while was sort of the centerpiece for low taxes and tech companies moving there. And the luster has seemed to come off of Dublin a little bit and it's sort of transferred over to London. And I don't know if that's sort of global SmackDown on tax breaks for those kinds of companies or what exactly is going on. But Dublin to me seems to not be talked about much anymore for tax breaks and companies going over there. And, I'm curious, Lieven your take as well. Do you know, does Paris? Copenhagen? Stockholm? Do those cities and countries follow suit or do they kinda let London have this position as a startup friendly/ business friendly city?

Lieven (15m 45s):

I think Berlin really tried to be the most startup friendly. I mean, talking about technology, it's Berlin, it's the most hip, the most startup friendly, I guess. Paris has never been the most trendy city. It's just very cultural and it's beautiful, but I don't think they have the image of being the most innovative city. Berlin has. The Nordics all try to be innovative and they are, I guess, in their way. Yeah. So it depends. It's different. They all have their pros and cons. London is nothing that I would associate with as startups. It's more like the city is for the financial institutions. The really big companies, but now there is a new vibe in London, which is a good thing.

Joel (16m 27s):

Do you feel like EU hinders those countries from being sort of innovative around taxes and regulations to get companies there or are they sort of free to act on their own?

Lieven (16m 36s):

They can always work around, but the more rules there are the harder it is and there are many rules.

Chad (16m 43s):

Well, and you talk about Dublin, you know, there's a saturation rate, especially for, you know, a city, the size of Dublin.

Joel (16m 52s):


Chad (16m 52s):

And the amount of companies that were going into Dublin was ridiculous. So to be able to get there first and foremost, I mean the lure of lower taxes is one thing. And obviously, you know, trying to open up a footprint in Europe is, is great. If you want a launchpad? They were making it an easy launchpad, but the problem is saturation where London, you have a much larger talent pool and the infrastructure, the transportation to be able to get in and outta work and that type of thing. Yep.

Joel (17m 23s):


Chad (17m 24s):

Yeah. Airports shit. They've got what, four major fucking airports, you know, I mean, Manhattan has two? Well, I mean, if you include Newark, which you probably should three? For me, take a look at the saturation rates. Probably why we haven't heard much from Dublin lately.

Joel (17m 39s):

Great point, Chad. Great point. Anything else?

Chad (17m 41s):

That'd be it.

Joel (17m 43s):

All right. Let's take a quick break. And we'll talk about Spotify in our recent interview in Belgium.

sfx (17m 49s):

Europe has a bunch of countries in it.

Joel (17m 53s):

Well guys from London, let's go to Stockholm, the home of music streaming service Spotify. While many companies saw increased turnover during the great resignation Spotify's turnover actually went down and the company improved diverse representation. Why? Three words work from anywhere. The policy lets employees determine how often they work from the office and where they work. As long as the company has an operation there. The audio streaming service also changed how it sets salary bands and Chad will get a boner over this one, calibrating them by country instead of city or region, a benefit surely appreciated by employees and not just Chad, around 6% of them moved after the policies statement.

Joel (18m 46s):

Shocker, I know that people prefer choice. So guys, what's your take on Spotify's success.

Lieven (18m 50s):

They have the perfect business to do so. I mean, they're strictly digital. They don't have any manufacturing of products or whatsoever. So there people can work from home. I mean, if you have a plant and you have a factory and you have to produce stuff, things have to be produced on the spot, there it's a different approach. So for them, it's perfect. And I can imagine it's even cost saving if you don't need so many offices. So I totally understand why they do so, but I was surprised some Joel just said something like the company lets employees decide on half and they work remote where they work from as long as the company has an operation there. So does that mean if I'm living in Belgium during summer?

Lieven (19m 31s):

Sorry, during winter, but I want to go snowboarding in summer in New Zealand because they have snow in New Zealand when it's summer here. I can't because they don't have an operation there? Is that the way I do I get it right? So they, you can only work from a place at home if they have an operation, there doesn't make any sense to me.

Chad (19m 49s):

The wording is kind of weird there, but I think if you hit a WeWork while you're snowboarding, I think you'd be okay.

Lieven (19m 55s):

Okay. Yeah. Doesn't make sense. Otherwise it would be kind of stupid. You can work from home, but only if your home is close to the office. It's like weird.

Chad (20m 3s):

I thought it was interesting that they talk about, you know, the increase, you know, in diversity and it's like, well, yeah, you got out of Sweden for God's sakes. I mean, that's all it takes you step out of the whitest area in the world and then you go somewhere else. Well, of course, you know, your diversity goes up, but the retention piece is pretty amazing. But I mean, expanding into Europe and Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and now they're registered in 42 different US states. We're going to see a huge difference in companies who are going to demand back in the office and companies who don't demand that you do anything, but get your shit done.

Chad (20m 44s):

And this is to me, you know, most of those companies are clinging to a crumbling vestige of the yester century for God's sakes. It's like, can we just allow autonomy and trust to happen? And if people don't get their shit done, what happens? They get fucking fired. And the thing that kills me is, in sales for years forever, we have goals. What happens if we don't hit the fucking goals, we get put on a PIP, a performance plan, right? And if we don't hit the PIP, what happens? We get fired. Why isn't everybody held at the same exact standard? I mean, it, to me just seems incredibly simple. And from a management standpoint, you get to push off a little bit. Yes, you do need to help and provide education and guidance and, you know, mentoring, all those other fun things that you should be doing anyway.

Chad (21m 33s):

But it's just like, can we just finally evolve out of this old 1950s manufacturing style, punch in the clock, situation that many companies still want to go back to?

Joel (21m 42s):

Yeah. I think Lieven hit it on the head when he said, you know, it's a perfect business to do this. And there are more and more companies like this, that sort of deal in zeros and ones. Yeah. And those companies will have to have this model, right? Like Airbnb, Twitter, Spotify like that if you don't do that, you're gonna lose talent to your competitors.

Chad (22m 5s):

You're going to, if you're, like, let's say for instance, if you're an old brick and mortar organization, but you do have tech ops, right. Do you think you're gonna get the same type of talent? Top talent?

Joel (22m 18s):

No. So, I think what I see is sort of three buckets here. You have like the total knowledge base, we deal in software, et cetera. Those should all be work from anywhere, wherever. Then you have like your DJ Sol and you're Jamie Diamond and Wall Street. They're like, get your ass in the office. We're boiling the frog. This is the way it's gonna be. And then you have this middle ground like Tesla, right? So Tesla is like, get your ass back to work. If you're an accounting, marketing, whatever, because the people who make the cars are in here every day and everyone that supports those people need to be in the office. And those middle ground businesses are gonna be really challenged to hold on to people that don't need to be in the office.

Joel (23m 2s):

Like, is it, would I rather be a marketing manager at Tesla or would I rather be one at Airbnb? More than likely Airbnb. So Tesla's gonna have to make a hell of a brand message as to why you should go back in the office and work for Tesla. I think they're gonna be really challenged going forward with the workforce.

Lieven (23m 24s):

And he wasn't particularly subtle on it. Yeah. He wasn't.

Chad (23m 26s):

He's not subtle on much, especially when he is on a yacht and he looks like the stay puff marshmallow man for God's sake.

Joel (23m 34s):

He looked a little tan to me. I dunno what you guys are talking about. Like, I mean, there's a great line from Wall Street that says you can't be a little bit pregnant. I mean, those companies are trying to be a little bit pregnant and it's very hard to do. Yeah.

Chad (23m 50s):

And again, I just think again, we're hanging onto a vestige of what we believe again, it's like make America great again, make work great again. Well, well fuck you. Okay. Work wasn't great for everybody. Okay. Work sucked for a lot of mother fucking people. So why don't we, if we're gonna make it great. Let's make it try to make it great for everybody. If you're in a position where you are in manufacturing and you gotta work a line, well, yeah, you gotta go to work, right. I mean, it is what it is. But to be able to think that you can't be a little bit pregnant. I, that, to me, that parallel is not even close to what we should be talking about here.

Chad (24m 31s):

There should be variations and autonomy given, but again, you've been given so much rope don't hang yourself.

Joel (24m 36s):

So, so part of the question to Chad is our conversation that goes back years is, you know, could the iPhone have been created in a work from home world? I don't think it could. And you think that it could. So if at some point we can make Teslas without being in the office, whether that be through automation or VR or whatever, then it becomes a situation where everybody can be at home or work wherever, whenever and however they want. And my guess is that we're gonna try to get to that world as soon as possible.

Chad (25m 9s):


Joel (25m 9s):

Because Tesla is gonna lose people to Airbnb and Twitter and Spotify.

Lieven (25m 12s):

It depends how old you are. I mean, I'm 45 and I've got my family and I've got everything here. And I like it not having to sit in my car for four hours a day and spend more time with my family and be more productive just by not losing time commuting. But my very young colleagues, they don't have a family. They live by themselves and they actually were lonely when they had to work from home because of COVID. And they tried to listen to the same radio station while working at home to get in touch together, to feel kind of bonding. So we're listening to the same music, even though we're out home. So for those people, I think it would be an advantage to offer them a corporate environment, which is a nice office and we have a bar and after work, you have a drink.

Lieven (25m 57s):

So we need both. And depending on who you want to hire, you have to