News and advice on management and the business environment – November 2016

The corporate world has the same proportion of psychopaths as prisons do, while more than eight in 10 Canadian CFOs expect to hire in the next few months.


Beware the psychopath down the hall

If you work in the corporate sector, your chances of encountering a psychopath are about the same as in prison, according to data presented at the 2016 Australian Psychological Society Congress. Researchers examined psychopathic traits — such as insincerity, a lack of empathy or remorse and egocentricity — in the upper echelons of the corporate world and found a prevalence of 3% to 21%. That’s far higher than the 1% of the general population considered psychopathic, and similar to the rate among prisoners: one in five. While so-called “successful psychopaths” are unlikely to be killers, they may engage in unethical or illegal business practices and have a toxic impact on other employees, says Australian psychologist Nathan Brooks. The results correspond with an earlier survey conducted by British psychologist Kevin Dutton, which found the position with the most psychopaths is CEO. Interestingly, accountant ranked among the 10 professions with the fewest psychopaths.


Robots won’t take jobs, say accountants


The majority of finance professionals aren’t buying into the popular doom-and-gloom scenario where robots and other technological advances lead to massive layoffs. In a survey of 1,628 accountants worldwide conducted by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, only 29% said they think increased automation will lead to a loss of jobs. On the contrary, 62% say companies will be more efficient as a result of better automation and data analysis, 47% envision a general up-skilling of the workforce due to the need for more advanced technological know-how and more than one-third predict better work-life balance as computers take over jobs and humans reap the profit.


A few unforgettable first (and last) impressions

Job seekers may want to stand out from the crowd, but many are going about it the wrong way, a CareerBuilder survey finds. Hiring managers were asked about the tactics candidates used to make an impression, and some were pretty out there. Their encounters included job hopefuls who:

• had a priest contact the hiring manager and ask for the candidate to be hired

• bought a first-class upgrade to sit next to hiring manager on a transatlantic flight

• sent a pair of embroidered socks with a note saying he would knock the company’s socks off if hired

•sent a shoe with a flower in it as a thank-you after the interview. The note said: “Trying to get my foot in the door”

• wore a tie bearing the name of the company

• mailed the hiring manager money in an envelope

We’re pretty sure there’s a name for that last one, and it rhymes with imbibe — which coincidentally could also explain all of the above.


Strong hiring outlook for financial pros

More than eight in 10 Canadian CFOs expect to hire in the next few months, to either expand their teams or fill vacated positions, according to Robert Half’s Canadian Professional Employment Forecast. More specifically, 17% expect to add new positions by February 2017, 67% plan to hire only to fill vacated jobs, and 16% will not fill vacancies or create new positions. None of the CFOs surveyed anticipate eliminating positions in the last quarter of 2016 or the first quarter of 2017.