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City investors move to do the right thing

City investors move to do the right thing

A year ago, showing the deftness for reading-the-room for which it is world renowned, Goldman Sachs demanded staff return to the office five days a week. At least five days a week, this being Goldman.

CEO David Solomon said WFH was an anomaly, one he would crush.

Two things happened after that. First, at least half of his staff just ignored him. Which was brilliant. Bankers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your unvested share options.

Shortly after that, with Goldman still banging the same old drum to drown out noises it didn’t want to hear, it was reprimanded by at least one investor for its stance.

Not because the investor cared for the well-being of the staff. But because it worried Goldman’s attitude would see it lose talent and miss out on new recruits.

It thought the bank was in danger of costing the investor money, in other words.

This felt like a serious sea-shift, and others have followed.

Today, The Guardian reports, “major investors have launched a campaign calling for Sainbury’s” to pay all staff the “real living wage” of at least £9.90 an hour.

This isn’t because City investors such as Legal & General have suddenly located a heart (though in fairness L&G’s has often been in the right place).

It is because they think paying people better will improve their performance and eventually the share price.

All of this offers cause for optimism, which of itself is hugely welcome.

I think the PR trade should embrace it too. For a start, it won’t have to make the case in future that their biggest clients simply can’t give staff a pay rise, won’t have to spout clichés about how you can’t buck the market.

Won’t have to find itself offering defence strategies to awful companies like P&O.

The market is changing, and if everyone plays it right, that’s a result for almost everyone.

There have been 3739 deaths in the UK due to natural disasters since 2000, says this from Outforia.

It says rising temperatures have seen a “significant uptick” in natural disasters.

That makes the UK the 8th most dangerous place in the world for extreme temperatures. Really? 8th?

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