Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back to School Update: Five Pieces of Advice for Career-Thinking Students -

Even though most college students are smart enough not to ask their elders for advice, this does not stop parents from trying to offer it and from asking recruiters like me what course of study their offspring should pursue to be successful. Since we normally do not recruit individuals directly from college or graduate school, I am no expert. Based on the senior-level recruiting we do, however, it is clear that future successful leaders will need to think and act globally. Here are a few suggestions about how to lay the groundwork.

  1. Get language skills. Preferable in a language spoken by lots of people like Spanish or Chinese.
  2. Get a technical credential: CPA, CFA, MBA, and/or engineering degree. Education is the real passport to being effective anywhere in the world.
  3. Take some Macroeconomics or Political Science courses. The ability to be customer-focused in the future may require an understanding that government and politics may be as big a factor – especially in developing economies - as global private sector business relationships/and marketing.
  4. Study abroad. And don’t live in the foreign student’s dorm if you can avoid it. You will make wonderful friends and learn how to party in a different culture.
  5. Learn to write: executives with the most power and influence are the ones who can write and speak in English clearly, convincingly, and comfortably.

Future business managers will need a perspective that allows them to look across the world and recognize commonalities. That means being able to recognize a best practice and to apply it globally – to be the “ambassador of change.”

Excerpted from a presentation I gave to participants in the Executive Women's Leadership Program at Duquesne University.

Salary Benchmarking: Pay Increases -

Pay increase budgets showed no change in the last year according to a new study from Compdata Surveys (www.compdatasurveys.com). Current pay increase budgets were reported at 3.60 percent for 2008 and are projected to be 3.62 percent in 2009. In 2007, pay increase budgets were also 3.60 percent.

Over the last five years, national pay increase budgets have varied by no more than .13 percent when comparing consecutive years. In 2004, pay increase budgets were 3.47 percent. They rose by .04 percent from 2005 to 2006 and have fluctuated by as little as .02 percent in the five-year span.

There has been a prevalent trend towards stagnant pay increases for several years, the study noted. Employers who are facing workforce shortages in some industries may need to work to create a balanced compensation plan for their company to retain current employees.

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