ON THE JOB

Job Training Expenditures Dropped in '99<@VM>Blacklisting Rules Delayed Again<@VM>Getting Personal Pays Off

The average company trains 78.6 percent of its workers and spends an average $677 per employee annually, according to the 2001 State of the Industry Report, issued last month by the American Society for Training & Development in Alexandria, Va. Training expenditures decreased from 2 percent of payroll in 1998 to 1.8 percent of payroll in 1999.

The report shares data on training activities in 1999 from 365 U.S. organizations that participated in ASTD's Benchmarking Service in 2000.

The largest share of spending went to training in technical processes and procedures (13 percent), with professional skills following close behind (11 percent). Interpersonal communication, new employee orientation and IT skills followed at 9 percent each.

The average firm delivered 8.4 percent of its training using e-learning in 1999, compared to 8.5 percent in 1998. However, among firms with more than 55,000 employees, the percent of training delivered via e-learning grew from 12.3 percent in 1998 to 13.8 percent in 1999.

"With more employees, [large companies] can reap the savings in distribution costs and travel expenses due to economies of scale," said Mark Van Buren, the association's director of research.The federal government April 3 extended the delay of so-called blacklisting rules that required federal agencies to consider compliance with labor, tax, employment, antitrust, environmental and consumer protection laws when awarding government contracts.

The rules were delayed 270 days by the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council, which sets the standards for government procurement. The council also published a proposed rule seeking comment on eliminating the rule altogether. Council members include the General Services Administration, Defense Department and NASA.

The council had already acted March 9 to suspend implementation of the rules until May 11 "to give agency officials the opportunity for further review and consideration of new regulations," according to the Federal Register. The rules originally went into effect Jan. 19.

The council acknowledged April 3 in the Federal Register that the rules were the most controversial it ever published, generating 1,800 comments, about 90 percent more than the typical rule.

The council requested comments on the rule delay and its elimination. Comments must be submitted by June 4 via mail to the GSA Secretariat or via e-mail to farcase.2001-014@gsa.gov (to comment on elimination) or farcase.1999-010@gsa.gov (to comment on the delay).Networking and personal contacts rank as the most used and most effective search tactics by both job seekers and employers, according to a survey released early this month.

The poll, conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, Alexandria, Va., and CareerJournal.com, Princeton, N.J., included responses from 566 HR professionals and 439 job seekers.

Ninety-five percent of both HR professionals and job seekers said they use personal contacts or networking to find job candidates or a job. Both groups also rated these methods as the most effective (61 percent and 78 percent). Other frequently used search tactics are Internet job postings (88 percent and 96 percent), print newspaper ads (96 percent and 95 percent) and employee referrals (91 percent and 92 percent).

Job seekers reported using more informal tactics and rate them higher in effectiveness than HR professionals. For example, 48 percent of job seekers reported using places of worship as a search tactic, with a 22 percent effectiveness rate. Only 24 percent of HR professionals reported doing the same, with just a 6 percent rate of effectiveness.

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