Archive for August, 2012

Atlanta salaried workers see pay rise 2.6 percent in 2012

Pay for salaried workers in Atlanta has increased 2.6 percent in 2012, according to a new survey, and a bigger boost in compensation is expected in 2013.

Salaried employees here can expect an average bump in pay of 3.0 percent next year, which tracks the national average, according to the Salary Increase Survey by Aon Hewitt, a global human resources solutions business.

The survey determined that companies plan to raise salaries incrementally. Despite the projected increases next  year, it is unlikely, the survey said, that salaries will reach pre-recession level salary hikes which hit 4 percent and higher.

“It is unlikely that salary increases will reach pre-recession levels of 4.0 percent or higher any time soon,” said Ken Abosch, compensation marketing, strategy and development leader at Aon Hewitt.

“Companies are more impacted by the global economy than ever before. As a result, organizations continue to be conservative with their spending, but we anticipate that attitude …

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Google workers get death perks

(Associateed Press)

(Associateed Press)

Google is considered a leader among leaders when it comes to company perks for employees – in life and now in death.

Forbes magazine recently interviewed the search engine company’s “chief people officer” who disclosed that a surviving spouse or partner of a Google employee now receives 50 percent of the deceased staffer’s pay for 10 years – regardless of how long the staffer was employed.

According to the interview with Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock, who said the new policy became effective last year, deceased employees’ stocks are also vested immediately and surviving children receive monthly payments of $1,000 until they reach age 19, or age 23 if the child is a full-time student.

The perks, however, are just as notable in birth. When it comes to paid maternity leave, new mothers get 18 weeks and fathers get 12 weeks.

Google ranks No. 1 on Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 best companies to work for in the category of “Unusual …

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Are your Twitter followers real or fake?

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

You have a ton of Twitter followers – or at least that’s your ambition – yet you’re unsure all of them are the real deal. What do you do?

CNET has stumbled upon an app that lets you know the percentage of your followers that are “fake”, “inactive” or “good.”

The Fake Follower Check is designed by StatusPeople, which takes a sample of up to 500 of your followers to come up with its results. StatusPeople told CNET that Twitter accounts with 10,000 or fewer followers have the most accurate results.

The service, however, can’t actually name the accounts that are either fake or inactive, allowing you to delete spammers, but it says it’s working on a spam removal tool.

I tried it on my new account, @christoseward, and found that 2 percent of followers are fake, 2 percent are inactive and 96 percent are good. StatusPeople notes that you can also use the Fake Follower Check to find out how many of your friends’ followers are legit.

Just …

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How to avoid federal income taxes: Make $200 million a year

Two things you can’t dodge, right? Death and taxes.

Make that one thing _ if you’re fabulously wealthy, that is.

According to The New York Times, the Internal Revenue Service this summer unveiled data from the 400 individual U.S. income tax returns with the highest adjusted gross income in 2009  _ those with an average income of $202 million in 2009.

And what did it show? That six of the 400 paid no federal income tax.

The Times notes that the “… data demonstrates that many of the ultrarich can and do reduce their tax liability to very low levels, even zero. Besides the six who paid no federal income tax, the I.R.S. reported that 27 paid from zero to 10 percent of their adjusted gross incomes and another 89 paid between 10 and 15 percent … ”

How’d they pay so little (or nothing at all) when they took in so much?

“The data show that the ultrarich typically pay low tax rates every year, but 2009 was a special case,” the report states. “In 2008, people with large stock …

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Google to acquire Frommer’s travel company

Travel reviews are about to become a bigger part of your Google search experience.

Google Inc. has acquired travel company Frommer’s, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The move should bolster Google’s ability to offer more extensive local reviews from around the world. Google already owns restaurant-review company Zagat Survey LLC, which it acquired last September, and has integrated that content into Google Maps.

Publishing house John Wiley & Sons decided to sell Frommer’s back in March because it no longer fit into their business strategy, according to WSJ. The deal is expected to close shortly. Neither side would reveal the sale price.

Frommer’s offers a variety of guidebooks for global destinations. Its extensive website offers travel booking services and travel-related information. Google hasn’t said whether it will continue to print Frommer’s travel books, or offer them entirely online, according to WSJ.

What do you think of Google’s recent …

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Habitat for Humanity CEO: ‘Because you won the last war doesn’t mean you’re going to win the next war’

You might call it an eclectic career. Jonathan Reckford describes it as “highly illogical.” The CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, which builds and finances homes for the poor in some 80 nations, has worked as an executive for several well-known companies. They include Goldman Sachs, Disney, Marriott, Circuit City and Musicland.

Jonathan Reckford

Jonathan Reckford

Reckford, 49, a competitive rower when attending UNC-Chapel Hill, helped coach the South Korean Olympic rowing team at the Seoul Summer Games in 1988. And he was the executive pastor of a 4,300 member church before taking the top job at Habitat seven years ago. Reckford talks about what he learned from a career driven, in part, by “pivotal phone calls from recruiters.”

Q: You’ve had many jobs and several careers? What’s your best advice to younger people starting out or seeking more fulfillment?

A: You’ve got to find the right organization to be part of, but you also have to find the right role in the right …

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Does your company encourage a life outside of work?

(April Hunt ahunt@ajc.com)

(April Hunt ahunt@ajc.com)

Would you rank your company at the top of the list when it comes to helping you balance on-the-job demands with your desire to have a life outside of work?

Employment experts at Glassdoor.com scoured Main Street to find the top 25 companies that employees say do the best in helping them balance work and life and Atlanta-based North Highland Co. ranks No. 2 on the list.

North Highland, a consultancy that helps businesses and government agencies get the most out of their operations by streamlining processes and maximizing the use of technology and marketing strategies, ranked behind No. 1 MITRE, a scientific research and development services company, and ahead of Agilent Technologies, Careerbuilder.com, LinkedIn, Novell and other other well-known companies on the list.

Glassdoor said it wanted to find out which companies stand out because employees feel supported — if not encouraged — to work hard and take time for leisure, family and …

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T-Mobile losing more lucrative subscribers

T-Mobile continues to struggle to keep valuable customers, losing more than a half-million of its long-term subscribers in the three months ending in June, the company reported Thursday.

(Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

(Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

Competition from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint for long-term subscribers and rivalry from smaller competitors for prepaid mobile customers continue to put T-Mobile in a bind when it comes to growing its most lucrative customer base – those signing up for long-term contracts, who also tend to have the highest monthly bills

T-Mobile, the country’s No. 4 cellphone company, said it lost 557,000 contract customers during the period but the loss was offset by gains in prepaid and wholesale customers, leaving it with a net loss of 205,000 customers overall. In the same period a year ago, T-Mobile lost 50,000 customers.

While T-Mobile’s top three competitors increased revenue from monthly fees for contract service, T-Mobile saw a 9 percent drop from …

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Hi-Rez pulls Hindu deities from some SMITE game marketing

(Hi-Rez)

(Hi-Rez)

An Alpharetta online video game developer has removed Hindu deities from some of its marketing for a new game due out next year but said the deities will remain in the product when it goes on sale.

A Nevada-based Hindu devotee, Rajan Zed, launched a personal crusade against Hi-Rez Studios’ new game SMITE because he said it trivializes his religion by putting players with “joysticks, buttons, keyboards and mouses” in control of “mythical” Hindu gods and goddesses. The Hindu American Foundation called inclusion of the deities “disrespectful and offensive to Hindus worldwide.”

Hi-Rez’s Chief Operating Officer Todd Harris acknowledged Wednesday to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that “some portion” of the Hindu community objected to the inclusion and depiction of deities in SMITE.

“We have since removed the images of Hindu deities from our marketing web page,” Harris said. “However, for those who choose to download and play the game, those …

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Papa John’s: ‘Obamacare’ will push pizza prices higher

(Papa John's)

(Papa John's)

Pizza lovers can expect to pay a little more at Papa John’s in the future, thanks to President Barack Obama’s health care law, according to the chain’s founder, John Schnatter.

“Our best estimate is that the Obamacare will cost 11 to 14 cents per pizza, or 15 to 20 cents per order from a corporate basis,” Schnatter told investors last week, according to a report by Politico.com. He was referring to health care law changes that go into effect in 2014.

Schnatter, a supporter and fundraiser for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, said the higher health care costs for the country’s third-largest pizza takeout and delivery chain will be passed on to consumers.

“If Obamacare is in fact not repealed, we will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto consumers in order to protect our shareholders’ best interests,” Schnatter reportedly said.

The restaurant industry also is concerned about the …

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