"In the past 18 months or so, there
has been a widespread assumption among
some business writers that broad-based
stock options had lost their appeal,"
says the National Center for Employee
But the Oakland, Calif.-based
organization says this assumption
isn't supported by the data. In fact,
its survey of consultants found that
most private companies continue to
view stock options favorably, with 77%
of companies reporting that they give
options to all their employees.
Although most employees who receive
options work for large, nontechnical
companies, closely held venture-backed
firms at the forefront of
technological innovations also use
options to attract and retain
creative, talented employees.
Computer-Security Managers Earn
Executives who run corporate
information-security systems can earn
as much as $500,000 annually,
according to a survey by
Group LLC, a global executive-search
firm based in Dallas.
In addition, these high-tech
professionals are bucking the trend of
declining pay in the technology
sector, especially in light of the
recent terrorist attacks.
"While the economic slump has hurt
many IT professionals, security
experts are likely to see demand for
their services increase dramatically,"
says Randy Neal, the Broadmoor Group's
Systems-security executives at
Fortune 500 firms earn an average of
$237,000 annually -- with base pay of
$161,000 and a bonus of $76,000.
In addition, the Broadmoor survey
found that companies are increasing
their budgets for systems security.
How to Handle Benefits During a
One of the many employment issues
present in the aftermath of the World
Trade Center attack was the apparent
inability of some hard-hit companies
to effectively communicate benefit
allowances to grieving families.
In response, New York
benefits-consulting firm Segal Co.
issued a checklist to help provide
guidance. It reminds employers that
they need to move quickly to check
with attorneys and insurance carriers
if they want to bypass certain
benefit-plan rules following a
The firm also emphasizes the
importance of having trained benefits
professionals who are capable of
responding clearly and accurately to
the wave of questions that are likely
to come from family members.
Another key point mentioned by
Segal Co.: "Under chaotic conditions,
it may be harder than usual to
identify the proper beneficiary."
More Women With Infants Say "No"
The percentage of mothers with
infants who hold jobs has declined for
the first time in 25 years, says the
The agency speculates that the
reason more mothers are staying home
could be because they aren't as
dependent on the income as mothers
were in previous years. This allows
them to take longer maternity leaves.
This thought seems to be
corroborated by data that show the
drop-off occurred mostly among married
white mothers who are at least 30
years old and have at least one year
of college education.
For mothers who are under age 30,
Hispanic or African-American and have
a high-school education or less, no
decline was reported.
Slow Economy Prompts Human
Resources to Look Inward
As the economy continues to
decline, senior human-resources
executives are taking a hard look at
their own departments.
Costs and the overall effectiveness
of the HR effort are two areas that
will get special scrutiny in HR
audits. Other major HR functions that
will be eyed: recruiting, benefits,
salary and payroll administration, to
name a few.
"The audit of the human-resources
department is a four-step process:
information gathering, evaluation,
analysis and action planning," says
John H. McConnell, author of "Auditing
Your Human Resources Department" (Amacom,