Month: May 2018

America discovered by Welsh 300 years before columbus

As is well known by our American cousins Prince Madog ap Owain Gwynedd heir of Owain discovered America around the year 1200 some 300 years before Columbus and founded a colony near to Alabama (although the exact location of the earlier settlements is in dispute some claiming Tennessee a more likely location). Recent radio carbon dating evidence, and the discovery of ancient Welsh style artefacts (clogs and a leak peeler) and inscriptions in the American Midwest have provided proof positive that Welsh explorers, under the leadership of Prince Madog ap Owain (sometimes put as ‘ap Meurig’ due to name confusion) set up colonies there. There is actually a dispute over when exactly Prince Madoc sailed to America. some claiming that this was much earlier around 562 AD just after the Romans got fed up with the continuous rain in Wales up-sticks and left. This claim however does not stand up to scrutiny as it is known that Prince Madog was one of 19 children of Owain Gwyneth (the first true Prince of Wales) ‘the Randy’ who was an historical figure dating from the 12 century. A Welsh poem of the 15th century tells how Prince Madog sailed away in 10 ships and discovered America and whether truth or myth, was used by Queen Elizabeth I as evidence to the British claim to America during its territorial struggles with Spain. So there you have it the first link in the long history of the Welsh in America.

Old picture of coracles used in Wales
Bull boats used by first nation people based on coracles

I could say a lot more about the discovery (but you won’t because I am already fed up ed.) but I will sign off with some fascinating facts:

  • By proportion Welsh surnames dominate in eastern states (source National Geographic).
  • There have been at least 10 American presidents with Welsh ancestry (Mitt Romney the 11th!!). Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, James Garfield, Calvin Coolidge, Richard Nixon and Barack Obama.
  • Jefferson Davies the Confederate President (good Welsh name there).
  • Robert E. Lee – Confederate General
  • Benedict Arnold – Revolution general who defected from the Americans to the British side (oops!)
  • Signers of the declaration of independence: William Floyd, Button Gwinnett, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris and Robert Morris.

And last of all over 10,000 pages of memoires were written in Welsh that survive today from the American Civil War.

Just a little knowledge bomb to lay on you; the Welsh patronymic system describes family trees in terms of the male line and records the family association in the ‘ap’ or ‘ab’ prefix (ap is a contraction of the Welsh word ‘mab’, which means ‘son of’, ‘ferch’ means ‘daughter of’ incidentally) so Madog ap Owain means Madog son of Owain. Often a small epithet to the name like Llewellyn ‘the last’ (the last true Prince of Wales) is also used and so in a more contemporary context we might regard the real name of Mitt Romney (as he claims Welsh heritage via his wife) as Mitt Romney ap George the Gaff Prone in celebration of his recent gaff that the UK was not prepared for the Olympics (which is probably true actually).

For more information about the Welsh in America visit : and if your interested in signing the petition to restore a monument to the great prince go here:

The results are in from the first study of what encourages and deters people from bullshitting

Nice article from Journal of Experimental psychology I thought you would like…

“Our country doesn’t do many things well, but when it comes to big occasions, no one else comes close,” so claimed an instructor I heard at the gym this week. He might be an expert in physical fitness but it’s doubtful this chap was drawing on any evidence or established knowledge about the UK’s standing on the international league table of pageantry or anything else, and what’s more, he probably didn’t care about his oversight. What he probably did feel is a social pressure to have an opinion on the royal wedding that took place last weekend. To borrow the terminology of US psychologist John Petrocelli, he was probably bullshitting.

“In essence,” Petrocelli explains in his new paper in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, “the bullshitter is a relatively careless thinker/communicator and plays fast and loose with ideas and/or information as he bypasses consideration of, or concern for, evidence and established knowledge.”

While pontificating on Britain’s prowess at pomp is pretty harmless, Petrocelli has more serious topics in mind. “Whether they be claims or expressions of opinions about the effects of vaccinations, the causes of success and failure, or political ideation, doing so with little to no concern for evidence or truth is wrong,” he writes.

There are countless psychology studies into lying (which is different from bullshitting because it involves deliberately concealing the truth) and an increasing number into fake news (again, unlike BS, deliberate manipulation is part of it). However, there are virtually none on bullshitting. Now Petrocelli has made a start, identifying several social factors that encourage or deter the practice.


The research began with nearly 600 people on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk survey website reading that a man named Jim had pulled out of running for a seat on the City Council. Participants thought they were taking part in a study of how we ascribe causes to others’ behaviour (the term bullshitting did not appear anywhere in the experiment instructions), and after they read about Jim’s resignation, they were invited to list five possible reasons and any related thoughts on why Jim might have done this – a perfect opportunity for bullshitters to let rip!

Petrocelli varied the precise conditions to see how this affected people’s propensity to bullshit when answering. For starters, he manipulated background knowledge by earlier on giving half the participants 13 facts about Jim, such as that he liked to be admired. Petrocelli also manipulated the social pressure to give an opinion, telling half the participants they didn’t have to list any reasons if they didn’t want to. Finally, Petrocelli manipulated audience knowledge, telling half the participants that their reasons would be scored by judges who knew Jim extremely well.

To measure bullshitting, Petrocelli later asked the participants to score their own reasons, based on how much they had been concerned with genuine evidence and established knowledge; essentially they assessed their own BS levels.

All the factors that Petrocelli manipulated made a difference. Overall, the participants who received no background information on Jim admitted to engaging in more bullshitting. Participants also bullshitted more when they felt more obliged to give an opinion, and when their audience was not knowledgeable about him. These latter two factors (obligation and audience knowledge) interacted, with social obligation being more potent. When feeling obligated to have an opinion, uninformed participants bullshitted a lot even when they knew their audience knew more than they did.

“Anything that an audience may do to enhance the social expectation that one should have or provide an opinion appears to increase the likelihood of the audience receiving bullshit,” Petrocelli said.

Without such pressure, however, the risk of being caught out was a deterrent to BS and Petrocelli further explored what he calls the “ease of passing bullshit hypothesis” in a follow up experiment. Online participants were invited to justify their attitudes on hot-button social issues: affirmative action; nuclear weapons; and capital punishment. Crucially, Petrocelli manipulated who participants thought would be reading their justifications – either he gave participants no information about their audience or he told them a sociology professor with expertise on these issues would be reading their views (and further, that the prof either agreed with their positions; disagreed; or his own position was concealed).

The participants subsequently rated their own BS levels (i.e. they rated whether they’d been concerned with evidence or established knowledge) and it was the participants not told about a professor, or who thought the professor agreed with them, who especially admitted to more bullshitting. Those participants who knew a professor with opposing views was going to read their arguments admitted to the least bullshitting. Fear of being called out, in other words, appears to be a strong deterrent to spewing BS.

Where does this leave us? It’s a shame there was no objective marker of bullshitting in this research – sure, it makes sense to ask people if they considered any evidence or knowledge, but at least some kind of third-party assessment would have been useful. You might also have your doubts about the realism of these online experiments. Giving inconsequential opinions on a survey website is rather removed from the real life scourge of the office colleague who is forever sharing their questionable wisdom on what you need to do to stay healthy or how the country should be run. Nonetheless, all empirical investigations must start somewhere and Petrocelli said his studies “provide a great deal of information relevant to the social psychology of bullshitting.”

The professor is under no illusions though about how hard it will be to translate his insights into practical anti-BS strategies. While his findings suggest that calling out BS (or the mere threat that it might be called out) can reduce the propensity for bullshitting to take place, Petrocelli notes that doing so “may not necessarily enhance evidence-based communication” and that instead it may just be a “conversation killer”. He concludes that “future research will do well to respond to such questions empirically and determine effective ways of enhancing the concern for evidence and truth.”

Antecedents of bullshitting

Christian Jarrett (@Psych_Writer) is Editor of BPS Research Digest

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Prince Charles treats us to more nonsense

The Deathly GM Crops and The Half-Wit Prince (Book 8)

Most of the time I regard Prince Charles as an amiable affable buffoon who talks a peculiar brand of new age sentiment and claptrap and dresses in a quaint Scottish (kilt commando style) way so beloved by our American friends across the water or who swans down the racecourse in top hat waving to the assembled masses on the rails. This erstwhile Edwardian who I think at heart harks back to those times when obedient yokels tilled the fields from dawn to dusk and tipped a respectful forelock in his ‘ighness’ direction as he swept by in his carriage to the big house (god bless yer guv) and people knew their place and the beautiful class structure of the realm stood in all its glory whilst he sat at the top of the pile as king (eh not yet the Queen is still very much hanging on ed.) with his subjects arraigned about him.

Now on the subject of GM crops (and about time too!!) HH has actually managed to hit a few (very few) good points but what surprised me about this whole issue was that a national newspaper gave his non-scientific bar room opinions front page coverage. I was actually about to buy a copy of the Telegraph to peruse on the train when I saw he was the lead for the day – this forced me to buy the broadsheet version of the Socialist Tribune (the Guardian) as a substitute so dear readers you can guess this was a serious setback.

As always I am interested in the purpose of these things and not in the content per se for if I want to hear some claptrap I can always talk to my pocket memo for five minutes then play it back. The point it seemed to me was to position Charles as next ruler and restate the inevitability of a continuation of the stultifying class structure we have in this country with the Windsor’s at its head. Demonstrating that he has thoughtful and erudite opinions (ok that didn’t work ed.) and in an unquestioning way accept and parade his views before the public. Also the writer sprinkled the article with discourses of justification of why this was an important piece due to the role HH would play as future monarch etc etc – not questioning the reasoning behind this rationalisation at all.

Often it is refreshing for the basis behind some scientific advances to be critically reviewed as to their consequences and costs – the debate about cloning being an example where there is not much understanding so very little control. GM crops are a potential benefit to society as a whole at least in the third world where they don’t have the luxury of choosing ‘organic’ or otherwise as we do in comfortable wet UK – and drought resistant strains of wheat may indeed be a breakthrough for them – and of course there are always the agribusiness monopolies wanting to maximise their profits which should be monitored. So there is a basis for debate which is underway but these more thoughtful insights do not get airtime or the grounds of critical debate are undercut by poorly informed half understood issues expounded for purposes of publicity and positioning of a future king.


Snippet from the Web

Lord Robert Winston, Imperial’s famously moustachioed professor of fertility studies seems to have got himself in a trouble over his comments relating to critics of GM technology.
In a speech at Whittington Hospital (somewhere in North London, apparently) a while back, the celebrity ICSM Prof spoke out against those who criticise any kind of genetic manipulation, saying that many protests were “ill-advised”. He was particularly forthright on Prince Charles, whom he called one of “the most genetically modified people around”.

Study suggests your adulthood self-esteem has its roots in the way you were raised as a child

By Christian Jarrett

Studies of identical and non-identical twins indicate that our self-esteem is influenced by the genes we inherited from our parents, but also, and perhaps slightly more so, by environmental factors. And according to a new study in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, these environmental influences started playing a lasting role very early in life.

Ulrich Orth at the University of Bern has reported evidence that, on average, the higher the quality of a person’s home environment when they were aged between 0 and 6 years – based on warm and responsive parenting; cognitive stimulation; and a safe, organised physical environment – the higher their self-esteem many years later in adulthood.


The data come from nearly 9,000 individuals, born between 1970 and 2001, whose mothers had enrolled in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth that started in the US in 1979.

Orth analysed the biennial interviews with the mothers that took place in their homes when their children – the participants in this study – were aged 0 to 6. This provided the measure of the quality of the participants’ early childhood home environment in terms of parental warmth and responsiveness, cognitive stimulation and the safety and organisation of the home. Orth also noted the quality of the relationship between mother and father during this period; the presence or not of the father; maternal depression; and family poverty.

Measures of the participants’ self-esteem started when they were aged just 8 and continued biennially until they were 27. The survey researchers used a measure designed for children until the participants were age 14, and thereafter switched to the well-known Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale.

The critical finding is that the quality of the home environment between the ages of 0 to 6 correlated significantly with participants’ self-reported self-esteem in later childhood, and even with their self-esteem into adulthood, although the association weakened over time. “The findings suggest that the home environment is a key factor in early childhood that influences the long-term development of self-esteem”, Orth said.

Other childhood environmental factors besides the quality of the home environment were also associated with later self-esteem. Maternal depression (associated with lower self-esteem) and better quality of parents’ relationship (associated with higher self-esteem) correlated with participants’ self-esteem in later childhood, but these correlations approached zero over the longer-term into adulthood.

In contrast, the families’ poverty (associated with lower self-esteem) and, to a lesser extent, the presence of the father (associated with higher self-esteem) continued to correlate with later self-esteem through to age 27.

When factoring out quality of the home environment, the association between these other childhood factors (maternal depression, parents’ relationship, poverty, and father’s presence) and participants’ later self-esteem was weakened substantially (but not entirely eradicated) suggesting that these other factors are tied to later self-esteem largely via their influence on the quality of the home environment.

Orth added a note of caution in relation to the findings for fathers’ presence. The data do not say anything about homosexual same-sex parents and children’s later self-esteem because such a family situation was too rare in the survey. It’s possible, he says, that the presence of any second parent – not necessarily a father – would have the same associations with later, higher self-esteem. In any case, the association between father’s presence and later self-esteem, though statistically significant, was only very small (over the long term, the effect sizes for poverty and especially for quality of the home environment were larger).

Why should the early family environment have such enduring associations with later self-esteem? Orth believes it is because early child-parent interactions affect a person’s pre-conscious representations of who they are and their self worth, eventually becoming deeply embodied in their self concept.

Orth says his findings have important practical implications because they suggest that interventions designed to enhance the quality of the early home environment could have lasting benefits for a child’s self-esteem. The way that the quality of the home environment mediated the role of other factors, like poverty, is particularly relevant. This suggests, Orth explains, that “…the negative effects of poverty on children’s self-esteem could be prevented, or at least reduced, by interventions that improve the quality of the home environment in families that are in poverty.”

As with all survey research of this kind, it’s important to remember that causality has not been demonstrated conclusively between the earlier measured factors and later self-esteem – it’s possible unknown factors are at play. Most obviously, a study of this kind cannot account for the role played by genes shared between parents and their children.

Perhaps a deeper question is whether higher self-esteem is a desirable outcome at all. There was a time when many psychologists and social reformers believed increasing the average self-esteem of a community would open the doors to a range of welcome outcomes, from superior mental health to career success. However, we know today that the benefits of greater self-esteem are quite modest, mostly centred on feeling happier and having more initiative, and that excessive self-esteem can even be problematic in some cases, especially if it slides into narcissism.

The family environment in early childhood has a long-term effect on self-esteem: A longitudinal study from birth to age 27 years

Christian Jarrett (@Psych_Writer) is Editor of BPS Research Digest

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Automation, not cheap labor, is reshaping outsourcing

automationThe offshore outsourcing of IT grew because of the cost of offshore labor. A software engineer in India is paid but a fraction of what a U.S. worker earns. Payscale puts the median salary for a senior software engineer in India at $10,000.

When IT services firms bring in H-1B visa workers, these workers earn substantially more than their overseas counterparts, but often significantly less than American IT employees.

This labor cost advantage has been a powerful lure for U.S. customers, but analysts see labor costs diminishing in importance. Customers want more automation, whether it’s infrastructure management or business process outsourcing. IT services firms can no longer complete exclusively on lower cost labor.

“The search for just cheaper people is a thing of the past,” said Frances Karamouzis, an analyst at Gartner. What customers now want is to buy more “thinking” and automation for the “doing,” she said.

One process that has taken off is called “Robotic Process Automation (RPA),” a term given to a virtual machine that takes over some of the applications and workflows managed by workers. These systems don’t directly replace humans, but take structured tasks and automate them, with users saving as much as much as 15%, said Karamouzis.

But Karamouzis sees RPA as a gateway to more sophisticated tools. Once IT services customers realize savings using this tool, their next question often is: What else can we automate?

Automation tools are coming, and quickly. IBM, which is a major employer in India and has shifted much of its work overseas, is focusing a large part of its future on its cognitive engine, Watson.

Gartner believes that by 2020 Microsoft will center its strategy around Cortana, its intelligent personal assistant, instead of Windows.

The overseas firms — Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro, in particular — are also focusing on artificial intelligence tools to take over tasks. Infosys, in a recent annual report, said it was able to move nearly 4,000 full-time employees from projects to other tasks as a result of the automation of underlying services.

“Is offshore dead? No, but it’s no longer going to be used for competitive advantage,” said Karamouzis.

Offshore outsourcing may be one of the more controversial issues in the political landscape, but the industry has grown despite it.

Among the large offshore providers, Everest Group said that HCL, for instance, had 450 clients in 2014 providing $1 million plus in revenue; last year, it had 495. Infosys had 950 active clients in March 2015. This past March, that number had grown to 1,092, with repeat business accounting for 97%, said Salil Dani a vice president at Everest. Other firms showed gains as well.

IT services firms are shifting to automation, cloud, the Internet of Things and to “next generation services contracts that have pushed the traditional outsourcing services to the backseat,” said Dani.

More broadly, the arrival of intelligent automation is spreading through all industries, not just IT services.

“Intelligent Automation is one of the most disruptive trends the industry has seen,” said Tom Reuner, an analyst at HFS Research. The approaches are “about decoupling routine service delivery from labor arbitrage. However, the direction of travel is toward human augmentation, and not substitution.”

In some ways, it is hard to imagine the labor advantage disappearing anytime soon.

The cost advantage of using offshore workers in the U.S. remain substantial. Outsourcers must pay visa workers the prevailing wage, but about half of these workers are paid Level 1, or entry level, salaries in a four-tier system, according to a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. (The prevailing wage Level 3 represents the median.)

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has offered up an immigration reform plan to raise H-1B wages that strongly implies using Level 3 as the new wage floor.

Ron Hira, a public policy professor at Howard University, looked at the wages paid at one firm, Southern California Edison, which cut some 500 jobs last year after signing outsourcing deals, and compared it to data paid to H-1B workers. What he found was that the offshore contractors were saving as much as 41% on labor cost by using visa workers. His research, which was published by the Economic Policy Institute.

The idea of raising the wages of H-1B workers is championed by reformers in Congress. But what analysts are saying is that wage advantages won’t be as important as automation capabilities in the years ahead.

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Government behaving badly on outsourcing contracts

Many of the problems in government outsourcing result from bad behaviour

The boss of outsourcing giant Serco has accused the Government of “behaving badly” by passing off unreasonable contracts to suppliers, ignoring its own guidelines and shrouding its decisions in secrecy. In a Commons hearing on lessons learned from the collapse of Carillion, chief executive Rupert Soames told MPs that a raft of “well run and well respected” outsourcers have lost vast amounts of money in recent years working on government contracts with “unmanageable amounts of risks”.

Mr Soames – a grandson of Sir Winston Churchill – claimed the Government has previously tried to pass off controversial and “unreasonable” contracts to outsourcing firms, while also routinely expecting suppliers to shoulder the risk of major law and policy change.

The recent woes in the outsourcing sector, which led to the collapse of Carillion and forced a number of its rivals to raise emergency capital to bolster their finances, was “astonishing”. “It’s been a massive, massive disruption in the supplier sector, the likes of which I’ve never seen – £8 billion written off of the supplier sector and billions of pounds being raised to recapitalise.” He added: “A lot of this is management’s fault, but … the Government as a monopoly buyer cannot stand idly by and say ‘nothing to do with me, Gov’.”


Mitie chief executive Phil Bentley, who was also giving evidence in the hearing, told MPs on the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee that he believed inaccurate data was also to blame for some failed outsourced contracts and called for greater data sharing and transparency. He gave the example of the asylum seeker contract handled by Serco, which he said saw the numbers of asylum seekers “massively underestimated” and led to hefty losses on the work.

Both bosses also said the bidding process was also flawed, with the Government under pressure to choose the cheapest supplier, rather than focusing on quality and expertise. Mr Soames added there are “no benefits for good behaviour, and no penalties for bad behaviour” in the process.

The company chiefs said the Government had tried to pass on the extra cost of the national living wage on some contracts, while also expecting suppliers to take the hit from any future policy changes from Brexit law changes.


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Our beliefs about nationality are mixed and malleable, and may help explain attitudes toward immigration


By Christian Jarrett

What is nationality?

Is it something fixed that we inherit biologically from our parents or is it a characteristic that we can change and acquire? A new study in Nature Human Behaviour is the first to study people’s “folk theories” about nationality – based on surveys of US and Indian participants – and the results show that, at least in these countries, people are broadly sympathetic toward both these contrasting theories of nationality at the same time, although with a bias toward the fluid theory.

The relative strength of people’s endorsement of the theories at any given time depended on the way questions about nationality were framed, the researchers found. Moreover, and perhaps most interesting for future investigation, the results showed people’s ideas about nationality were tied to their attitudes toward immigration, even after factoring out any differences in political leanings. Mostafa Rad and Jeremy Ginges at the New School for Social Research and Princeton University surveyed a total of 2013 US participants and 732 Indian participants. They presented the participants with variations of the following scenario:

Please imagine the following: A child is born to Pakistani parents but is orphaned at birth. When the child is one day old, they are adopted and raised by an American family and are never told about their origin.”

Next, the participants were asked, “all things considered”, to rate how much, from 0 to 100 per cent, the child will match the nationality of his or her birth parents, or – in a different framing – they were asked to make the same assessment for how much the child will match the nationality of their adoptive parents (debriefing clarified that, as hoped, the participants were considering nationality, not citizenship – which depends on more obvious and explicit legal stipulations that vary in different countries).

The participants’ views on what governs nationality varied according to the framing of the question – on the one hand, they stated on average that the child would share 77.8 per cent (US participants) or 74.2 per cent (Indian participants) of their adoptive parents’ nationality, suggesting a fluid view of nationality. Yet, when the question was framed around the birth parents’ nationality, the participants also stated that the child would share 39 percent (US participants) or 45.4 per cent (Indian participants) of their birth parents’ nationality, on average, indicative of a more fixed, genetic-based folk theory of nationality.

Varying the scenario wording so that the birth and adoptive parents’ skin colour was the same or different (based on ethnic and national stereotypes) made little difference to participants’ rates of agreement with both the fluid and genetic folk theories of nationality.

People hold contradictory ideas about nationality

The results suggest that, at least in the US and India, a lot of people hold in their heads two contradictory theories about the roots of nationality at the same time.

“Cultural evolution may have favored such flexible reasoning about the acquisition of nationality,” the researchers said, “as the ‘malleable’ theory allows for a rapid expansion of the group, whereas the ‘fixed’ theory suggests an inborn and immutable essence that gives a sense that nationality is more than a mere social contract but an ineffable primordial attachment encouraging deep moral commitments.”

Rad and Ginges were able to explore some of these dynamics by tweaking the wording of the question that they put to participants. For instance, they tried out versions in which the child’s birth parents happened to share the participant’s own nationality (while the child’s adopted parents had another nationality), and versions in which this was reversed, so that it was the child’s adopted parents who shared the participant’s own nationality.

Results for these different permutations of the vignette showed that participants generally saw their own nationality as harder to relinquish but easier to acquire, as compared with a foreign nationality (which they saw as easier to lose, but harder to gain). In the era of Brexit and Trump’s “great, great wall” these results may surprise some: “… [F]olk theories of nationality are biased towards immigration and against emigration, perhaps facilitating ingroup expansion,” the researchers said.

At the same time, as you might have predicted, the results showed that, in terms of differences between individuals in the strength of their belief in the different folk theories, those people who more strongly endorsed a fixed or genetic-based theory of nationality tended to have more hostile attitudes toward immigration, even after factoring out any differences in political leanings.

“Future work could build on our results to model social and political factors that may influence the distributive strength of malleable versus fixed conceptions of nationality,” the researchers concluded, “helping us to predict variations in attitudes towards migration across time and context.”

Christian Jarrett (@Psych_Writer) is Editor of BPS Research Digest

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Cielo is a Leader in recruitment process outsourcing

“As we continue to explore new frontiers in technology, extend our reach to new places around the world and break new ground in the candidate and client experience, we remain committed to maintaining the high quality of service our clients expect from us,” said Sue Marks, Cielo’s Founder and CEO. “Once again being recognized as a Leader by Everest Group and their peers in the analyst community shows sustained excellence even as we focus on growth and plan for future success in a fast-changing market.”

Everest Group’s 2018 Recruitment Process Outsourcing Service Provider Landscape with PEAK Matrix Assessment evaluated 21 established RPO service providers based on the absolute as well as relative year-on-year movement for specific criteria, including market success, scale, scope, technology capability, delivery footprint and buyer satisfaction. The providers were then categorized into three categories: Leaders, Major Contenders and Aspirants. Leaders, like Cielo, were placed in the top quadrant for both market success and delivery capability.

Cielo was highlighted specifically for the launch of Cielo TalentCloud, a suite of three technologies that includes: SkyRecruit, an exclusive CRM platform that provides the most advanced and recruiter-friendly tools for targeting, nurturing and engaging top talent; SkyAnalytics, a platform that provides prescriptive and actionable insights from market and internal data sources; and SkyLabs, an innovation engine whereby Cielo tests and pilots new and emerging technologies, tools and processes to understand how they could (or would not) help clients reach their goals.

“Cielo’s focus on enhancing its technology and developing new and innovative solutions for its customers has enabled it to stay ahead of the competition, which is reflected in Cielo being consistently featured in the Leader’s quadrant in Everest Group’s RPO PEAK Matrix,” said Arkadev Basak, Vice President, Everest Group.

About Cielo

Cielo is the world’s leading strategic Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) partner. Under its WE BECOME YOU™ philosophy, Cielo’s dedicated recruitment teams primarily serve clients in the financial and business services, consumer brands, technology and media, engineering, life sciences and healthcare industries. Cielo’s global presence includes 2,000 employees, serving 154 clients across 92 countries in 36 languages. The industry has verified Cielo’s reputation for executing innovative solutions that provide business impact through numerous awards and recognitions, including its #1 position on the HRO Today RPO Baker’s Dozen listing, PEAK Matrix Leader placement by Everest Group and Industry Leader designation by NelsonHall. Cielo knows talent is rising – and with it, an organization’s opportunity to rise above. For more information, visit

Cielo Contact:
Matt Quandt




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Government contracts still driven by price

Price still main driver in outsourcing selection

Outsourcing sector bosses have told MPs that the Government’s procurement proposition had gone “too far” in a quest to keep costs down and that the system needs overhauling, in the wake of Carillion’s collapse.

Speaking to a parliamentary select committee on Tuesday morning, Rupert Soames of Serco said that in his four and a half years leading the company, the only contract he could remember winning on any factor other than price was to manage facilities for Barts Health NHS Trust. Mr Soames said this proved that Government outsourcing was still mainly based on cost, rather than the expertise that private companies could offer.

Phil Bentley, chief executive of Mitie who was also appearing before the committee, said: “There’s always this drive to the lowest price as the easier answer.” He added that he thought more conversations between the public and private sector prior to a contract being awarded would help. “Innovation is taken out of the bids because the OJEU rules [for tendering work] are about creating a level playing field,” he said.

The committee was meeting as part of a wider investigation into the way the Government uses the private sector for services such as running schools and prisons, following the collapse of outsourcing company Carillion in January.

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Spend more time spent abroad and find yourself

A gap year abroad can broaden more than your horizons

by Emma Young

The idea that taking a gap year allows you to “find yourself” is often derided. But if you spend that time living in one foreign country, it just might. And if you can make it years, even better. 

Hajo Adam at Rice University, US, led what his team say is the first empirical investigation of the effects of living abroad on “self-concept clarity” – how clearly and confidently someone defines who they “are”. Since people are increasingly spending time living abroad for work or study – and since other “transitional” life experiences, such as getting a new job or getting divorced have been associated with decreases in self-concept clarity – it’s important to study this, the researchers write in their paper in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.


The researchers recruited a total of 1,874 people to take part in a series of studies. The first involved 296 people, recruited online. Half had lived abroad at some point. They all completed a 12-item self-concept clarity scale, indicating the extent to which they did or didn’t agree with statements like: “In general, I have a clear sense of who I am and what I am” and “I seldom experience conflict between the different aspects of my personality”. Those who had lived abroad had a clearer self-concept.

But might this be because this type of person is more likely to pursue opportunities abroad? To find out, the team recruited 261 more people, 136 of whom had lived abroad. The others hadn’t yet, but had definite plans to, with most intending to move within around nine months. As well as the self-concept clarity scale, participants completed an assessment of their “self-discerning reflections” – such as: “I have figured out if my relationships with others are driven by my own values or follow the values of those around me” and “I have determined whether my personality is defined by who I truly am or by the culture I grew up in”. 

Those participants who’d already lived abroad had clearer self-concepts than the others who shared the same plans to live abroad but hadn’t travelled yet, and this was explained statistically by their higher scores for self-discerning reflections (this was after controlling for a range of demographic and personality variables). These results suggest that time abroad increases self-discerning reflection and in turn this leads to greater self concept clarity.

Other studies the researchers conducted, including in some cases with students from dozens of different countries, led them to conclude that it’s total time spent living abroad – rather than the number of different countries lived in – that makes for greater self-concept clarity (among these participants the average time spent living abroad was 3.3 years). Greater clarity can also have a practical advantage: international students who’d spent more time living abroad reported feeling clearer about their future career direction, an outcome that was mediated by increased self-concept clarity.  

“The fact that we found consistent support for our hypotheses across different subject populations…mixed methods…and complementary methods of self-concept clarity…highlights the robustness of living abroad on self-concept clarity”, the researchers write. “The present research is the first to show that living abroad can change structural aspects of the self-concept.” 

Other research has found that living abroad can influence the content of a person’s self-concept – with words such as “adventurous” being added to their self-descriptions. But the new findings suggest that, because living abroad, away from your usual cultural environment, allows you to confront and perhaps redefine what truly is and isn’t important to you, it also leads to improved confidence in and clarity about who you are.  And the longer you live abroad, the more self-discerning reflections you’re likely to have, the researchers write.

The paper concludes with a quote from a 1919 book called Travel Diaries of a Philosopher by German philosopher Hermann von Keyserling: “The shortest path to oneself leads around the world.” The researchers add: “Almost 100 years later, our research provides empirical evidence in support of this idea.” 

Emma Young (@EmmaELYoung) is Staff Writer at BPS Research Digest

The shortest path to oneself leads around the world: Living abroad increases self-concept clarity

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