Monday, August 21, 2000

DAILY GRIND


Geeks are inheriting hottest jobs

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        The workers who used to wear the pocket protectors are about to take over the workplace.

        Hewitt Associates, a global management and consulting firm, recently asked 216 big companies about their 38,465 information technicians. What Hewitt found should surprise nobody:

        The future of business is in the hands of information technologists, and they know it, too. They are asking for and getting bigger salaries than the average worker and better perks.

        The Hewitt study found that information technicians are averaging base pay increases of more than 10 percent annually, compared with the national average annual wage increase of four percent. But base pay is not the whole picture.
Perks for techs
               Information technicians are getting bonuses, stock options and unprecedented flexibility in working conditions as well.

        The skills that come with the biggest dollar signs include: Web infrastructure specialists, data warehousing, supply chain management, voice systems engineering and Web security. Apparently companies have decided that telecommuting is a neat idea for the IT specialists, particularly if it keeps them around a few years longer. Telecommuting programs for IT professionals increased to 62 percent — up from 40 percent a year before.

        The study also suggests that perhaps those information technicians are no longer as concerned about their pockets, which used to be brimming with ink pens of varied and sundry colors, tire gauges, fingernail files and plenty of other whatnot. In fact, the pockets probably do not even exist anymore.

        White collar button-down shirts have yielded to golf shirts. “Employers are relaxing dress code policies for the IT employees, with 73 percent allowing casual dress versus 58 percent a year ago,” the report found.

        Hewitt is the largest employee benefits consulting firm in the U.S., with 1999 revenues of $1.1 billion.
Do I need to know this?
               How many times each day can a nearly useless slab of information drain energy, time and initiative? Plenty, says Alan Schlein, author of Find It Online: The Complete Guide to Online Research.

        Mr. Schlein recommends a triage approach to information overload. “It involves prioritizing, delegating and just letting some things slide,” Mr. Schlein said. “What you want is the most current and critical information. Yesterday we craved information. Now, we must learn to control its volume.”

        Start by getting rid of what you don't need. Use a specialty portal or vertical portal to fine-tune searches on topics. Also, manage e-mail by learning who is a compulsive joke sender and who tends to business.

        “All information is not created equal,” he said.
On the bubble
               If offered a new job, seven of 10 workers would take it, particularly if they can't stand the people they work with now, according to a new study by Roper Starch Worldwide for Randstad North America.

        The group found that an easy commute ranks with liking the people they work with, while challenging work and independent work would keep about six of 10 workers on the job. Other concerns include flexible work hours and opportunities to advance.

        John Eckberg can be reached at jeckberg@enquirer.com or (513) 768-8386.

       



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