About three weeks ago I phoned the suburban car dealer where I've bought a new model every four years, gave my name and asked the price of a new car. (I won't mention the dealer's name or brand.) The salesman pleasantly answered my question and we hung up. Considering sluggish auto business these days, I often wonder why he never called back to ask me to visit the showroom (I have all my repairs done there), show me the new model, take me for a ride, quote a trade-in, etc. (No sales calls from auto dealers now, please, although I welcome readers' comments about what seems to be widespread sales indifference these days.)
TOP JOBS: What are the best job opportunities today? Working Woman magazine lists choices alphabetically in its July cover story, "The Hottest Careers: Where Women Have an Edge." Excerpts:
Bankruptcy attorney ("There were 943,000 bankruptcy filings last year."); biotech salesperson ("Already the driving force in medical technology."); environmental engineer ("There's a slew of new environmental regulations and a shortage of people trained to enforce them."); 50-plus marketer ("Greatest untapped market in history."); health designer/architect ("While the construction industry has been hit, health-care projects were up 5 percent in 1991."); human resources manager ("Must be competent in labor law, benefits, pension plans, day care, etc.").
MORE HOT CAREERS: International accountant ("Foreign countries invested a whopping $2 trillion in our businesses and U.S. firms are setting up offices overseas."); nurse-anesthetist ("Need for health care professionals is rising in direct proportion to escalating medical costs."); physical therapist ("One of the fastest-growing careers anywhere."); physician assistant ("Average P.A. is qualified to perform 75 percent of doctor's usual duties."); technical writer ("Need in this field is up 65 percent from 1985.")
INSOMNIA INDEX: What keeps you up at night? Ernst & Young surveyed 1,100 top executives, of whom 259 responded, on the importance of 35 "core business issues" to be ranked on a scale of importance. Here, in order, are executives' top 10 concerns: (1) Retaining key personnel; (2) Enhancing customer service; (3) Improving quality; (4) Gaining greater market share; (5) Controlling health case costs; (6) Getting timely financial information; (7) Managing cash flow; (8) Growing without loss of control; (9) Building personal wealth; (10) Recruiting key personnel. (Data from from INC. magazine, July.)
SMALL VS. LARGE: How do small-company benefits measure up? The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that small companies are failing to provide competitive benefits, particularly in such important financial areas as retirement savings and medical insurance. That could spell trouble for growing companies whose success will depend on their ability to compete with larger corporations for the best-skilled workers. Here is how benefits compare, by percentages, paid by companies with fewer than 100 employees vs. (in parentheses) those paid by companies with more then 100 employees: Paid holidays 83 (97); paid vacations 88 (97); unpaid maternity leave 17 (37); medical care 69 (92); life insurance 64 (94); retirement plan 42 (81).
MONDAY'S WASH: "In Maryland there have been layoffs at Blue Cross, Martin Marietta, MNC Financial, USF&G laid off 30 percent of its employees, Westinghouse cut 3,000 people. We don't intend to lay anyone off." (George McGowan, BG&E chairman in the firm's June house organ) . . . "If you've developed proven sales skills, employers may be beating a path to your door this year." (National Business Employment Weekly, dated today.) . . . A Chinese billionaire, quoted in Fortune, July 13, said, "If my sons can learn from me, they will have more assets." One son said, "Father taught us, among other things, 'If a 10 percent share is reasonable and you can get 11, take nine because then 100 more deals will come to you.' " . . . Noticing many stores closed Saturday, I recall the words of Leonard Novogorod, one-time local May Co. president: "You never make money with your doors locked."