Search No More – Google Best Place To Work
Google is now ranked the best place to work in America, according to Fortune magazine’s listing of the top 100 workplaces. What makes the Mountain View search engine special? How about free meals, a swimming spa, and free doctors on site. Engineers are even allowed to spend 20 percent of their time on independent projects. With such generous perks, it’s no wonder that Google receives 1300 resumes a day. The second spot on Fortune’s list went to another California company, bio research giant Genentech, based in South San Francisco. One of its attractions: 357 employees took a six-week paid sabbatical in 2006, their reward for six years of service. Sunnyvale Data Storage came in sixth, offering flexible hours, help for parents of special-needs children, and robust stock prices. At 11th is Cisco Systems, a San Jose computer network equipment provider, which has made virtually all its employees shareholders. Woodland-based Nugget Market (13th)was lauded for its good pay and benefits, which have kept turnover down to 8.2 percent. Other California workplaces in the top half of the list include Campbell’s cell-phone maker Qualcomm (14), Starbucks (16), Rancho Cordova’s Vision Service Plan (23), Nordstrom (24), San Jose’s software giant Adobe Systems (31), Mountain View’s software specialist Intuit (33), and Sunnyvale’s Yahoo (44). You can sort through the list by best pay, best benefits, least turnover, etc at Fortune.com.
Employers Expect You to Call
It’s a common quandary for jobseekers: Are you being pushy if you contact an employer after submitting a resume? A new survey suggests the opposite may be true. Eighty-two percent of executives polled said jobseekers should contact hiring managers within two weeks of submitting application materials. Only 5 percent said professionals should refrain from communicating once a resume has been sent. The survey was developed by Robert Half International, a staffing service specializing in accounting, finance and information technology positions. "Employers value initiative and enthusiasm, and thoughtful post-resume communication underscores these traits," advises Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International Inc. and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies (John Wiley & Sons, Inc). Messmer adds that the method for contacting a prospective employer is less important than the message itself. "Whether communicating in writing or over the telephone, jobseekers should demonstrate their knowledge of the company while reinforcing their qualifications and sincere interest in the position. This extra step can give professionals a significant advantage over less-proactive candidates."
On the Job Front
NATIONWIDE – The House of Representatives voted to increase the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. The White House, however, issued a press release opposing the bill, saying it did not provide relief for small business. California’s minimum wage went to $7.50 on Jan 1. The current federal rate of $5.15 has not changed in a decade . . . Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif, has proposed a blue-card program that would give temporary legal status to 1.5 million immigrant farm workers. California farmers complained of labor shortages during the recent harvest following increased patrols along the border with Mexico.
OAKLAND – 365 Main Inc, a San Francisco data center, has acquired a 111,000-sq-ft facility near Jack London Square. The company, founded five years ago, has been aggressively expanding here, in Southern California and in Arizona, with a total of one million sq ft in operation.
PALO ALTO – In a cost-cutting move, Beckman Coulter Inc, maker of centrifuges and other biomedical test equipment, will relocate its local operations to Indianapolis, idling 220 local workers by 2008.
RANCHO CORDOVA – The local branch of IndyMac, a mortgage loan company, plans to add 25 employees this year as it expands sales.
SACRAMENTO – The missile division at Raytheon will share $60 million in international contracts for support services for the SM-1, a medium-to-long-range defense missile used by naval ships. No word on whether the contract will mean additional local jobs.
SAN FRANCISCO – A US District Court judge last week gave class-action status to a lawsuit against Costco Wholesale Corp, alleging the company has not promoted enough women.
SANTA ROSA – Sutter Health plans to eliminate 1200 jobs when it closes its hospital here. It also plans to sell an acute-care center to a rival hospital.
WEST SACRAMENTO – Planning to sell its soft-drink distribution business, Nor-Cal Beverage issued 60-day layoff notices to 160 workers last week. Nor-Cal plans to focus on contract production for other beverage firms.
Fewest Job Cuts In Six Years
Reported job cuts totaled 839,822 in 2006, about 232,000 fewer than 2005, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. It was the first time since 2000 that annual job-cut announcements totaled less than a million. The year ended on a particularly positive note with 54,643 planned job cuts announced in December, 29 percent fewer than November. "With the American economy at full employment for the first time since September 11, 2001, the latest job-cut data provide strong evidence that employers turned their energy toward retention in 2006," notes CEO John Challenger. "Even as the economy slowed in the last half of the year due to weakness in the housing market, we did not see the typical spike in fourth-quarter job cuts." With the well-publicized troubles of the American automotive industry, it should come as no surprise that this sector led all others in terms of job cuts. The struggling auto makers announced a record 158,766 job cuts in 2006, up 50 percent from 2005. The industrial goods sector saw job cuts increase slightly to 78,381. The other three industries posting the most layoffs (government/nonprofit, computer and retail) each experienced fewer job cuts than a year ago. "The other area that everyone will be watching as the New Year begins is the housing market. Strength in commercial building should help offset some of the impact of the residential sales slowdown," Challenger forecasts. "The number of real estate job cuts jumped significantly during the year, but it could quickly rebound with a few months of upward growth."
Unions Go Global
A new international trade union was launched recently dedicated to protecting workers’ rights in the global marketplace. The International Trade Union (formerly the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions) is recommitting itself to fight for the rights of unionized workers and to oppose child labor as well as other forced labor. "Trade union unity at the international level is now essential to ensuring more effective representation of the rights and interests of workers in the global economy," declared appointed leader Guy Ryder. The new group will represent more than 150 million members (including America’s AFL-CIO) from 241 affiliated organizations in 156 countries. A total of 1600 delegates ratified the creation of the organization in Vienna.