Afternoon Coffee: Trump administration blocks imports of cotton from Xianjiang; PRO Unlimited reports white-collar gig worker data; Basware adds new tool

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The Trump administration announced yesterday that it will block imports of cotton from China’s western Xianjiang region over concerns of forced labor, according to CNN.

Many major companies and business organizations — like Nike, Coca-Cola and Apple — are continually lobbying Congress to weaken a bill that would ban imported goods made with forced labor in Xinjiang, according to the New York Times.

The bill would prohibit broad categories of certain goods made by a persecuted group of Muslim minorities to combat and crack down on human rights abuses. It has gained bipartisan support, passing the House in September by a margin of 406 to 3. Congressional aides told the New York Times that it has the backing to pass the Senate.

However, the legislation has become a hot topic of debate from multinational companies whose supply chains touch the Xinjiang region. Lobbyists aim to make some changes to the bill, arguing that while they strongly condemn forced labor, the act could wreak havoc on supply chains deeply embedded in China, the article said. The Xianjiang region is known for producing raw materials like cotton, coal, sugar and tomatoes, and supplies workers for China’s apparel and footwear factories, the article said.

PRO Unlimited releases data showing insight into white-collar gig worker market

PRO Unlimited announced this week the results from its year-over-year data sets that analyzed how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted contingent labor market changes across industries, according to a press release from the company.

The key findings include:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic impacted contingent hiring harder and faster than the 2008 Recession, but it rebounded quicker.
  • Demand for IT/technology, healthcare and professional services increased, while manufacturing and industrial positions dropped.
  • White-collar gig workers look for the highest monetary bidder in job searches, while culture and company values became less of a priority.

"There's a strategic shift happening where employers competing in a war for skilled specialty talent have accelerated their adoption of contingent labor — and it's not only 'gig' app and blue-collar jobs anymore. In fact, 40% of all white-collar workers fall into this category," Kevin Akeroyd, CEO of PRO Unlimited, said in the press release. "At the same time, business professionals are embracing this type of work. Not only does this new contingent economy offer increased flexibility and high-paying white-collar jobs, but employers benefit from a more diverse talent pool, greater innovation, better fiscal management and much more. By late-2021, we expect over half of skilled workers will be contingent and employers will need to successfully manage this expanding workforce as part of their overall human capital strategy."

Basware releases new tool for streamlined AP Automation

Basware, a procure-to-pay (P2P) solution provider, announced a new tool to their AP Automation solution for a users outside of the AP department.

In a press release, the company identified a “power user” as its target audience for its new tool, which it defines as a user that processes more invoices and performs complex invoice processing activities like AP clerks. With this new release, the company hopes to streamline the user interface, simplify the process, increase user adoption and provide the organization with better spend visibility. There will be one single desktop view of all their tasks.

“The new features provide the missing link between business users and AP clerks to optimize efficiency in AP operations, allowing organizations to meet their AP key performance indicators,” Olav Maas, Director AP Automation at Basware, said in the press release. “It’s difficult — nearly impossible — for a central AP team to understand all specific local requirements of purchases. Think of project managers in the construction industry purchasing construction materials and coordinating sub-contractors, or property managers in real estate with spend responsibilities such as cleaning and landscaping services — only they understand the particulars of these specific processes. They are also expected to complete the task of processing incoming invoices from those vendors. This means that they require sophisticated and precise tools to complete these tasks more efficiently.”

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