Workplace Briefs

GOVERNMENT WORK BECOMES FASHIONABLE

Several government agencies and contractors scored high in a recent survey identifying which companies and organizations are planning to hire college graduates during the next year.

Of the top 100 entry-level employers for 2002, the Immigration and Naturalization Service ranks fifth with 3,000 planned new-grad hires, and the California Department of Corrections ranks seventh with 2,300. Government contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. followed in ninth place with 2,000 new-grad hires, and Raytheon Co. came in at 18th with 927.

"What a difference a year makes," said Tom Tarantelli, director of the Career Development Center for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "Suddenly, it's become fashionable to work for defense contractors and government agencies."

Topping the list of entry-level employers are Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Disney, which each will hire 6,000 new grads.

The survey, released Nov. 14, was conducted by entry-level job Web site Collegegrad.com. More than 8,000 entry-level hiring managers responded to the survey online between Oct. 1 and Nov. 13.

The Milwaukee Web site found that 45 percent of employers plan to hire more college grads in 2002 than in 2001. Twenty-four percent of managers said they plan to hire the same number of college graduates in 2002 as they did in 2001, and 31 percent said they plan to hire fewer.

LEGISLATION WOULD EXPAND INVESTMENT ADVICE OFFERED TO WORKERS

The House Nov. 15 approved a bill that would allow employers to expand the advice they give to employees about retirement plans. The bill, sponsored by Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, passed by a 280 - 144 vote.

Currently, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act impedes employers from securing investment advice for employees from financial institutions. H.R. 2269, the Retirement Security Advice Act of 2001, would allow plan participants access to advice from fiduciary advisers who are regulated by federal or state authorities. The advisers would be held to the standard of conduct required by ERISA.

The Retirement Security Act also would add protections to ERISA by providing information to participants about fees, relationships that may raise potential conflicts of interest, and limitations on the scope of advice provided. The Bush administration said the bill would help workers better manage their retirement savings.

EMPLOYERS CUTTING BONUSES, DELAYING RAISES

Many U.S. employers are balancing staff reductions with cuts in bonuses and pay raises, according to survey results released Nov. 15 by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a Washington human resources consulting firm.

Nearly 60 percent of employers expect to reduce annual bonuses for executives this year, and 54 percent will cut bonuses for middle managers. Forty-eight percent will pay smaller bonuses to individual workers.

The survey was conducted among 110 mid- and large-size companies representing a range of industries.

About one-quarter of employers said they have delayed or reduced salary increases or are considering doing so; however, few employers reported plans to cut or freeze salaries.

Rick Beal, a senior compensation consultant at Watson Wyatt, saw a silver lining in the survey.

"The fact that employers are opting to delay raises and reduce bonuses rather than lay off additional workers or implement pay cuts and freezes indicates that some employers expect this economic downturn to be short-lived. Companies are also concerned about worker morale and retaining their valuable employees down the road," he said.


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