Salaries on the rise in India

A recent Watson Wyatt salary report for India shows the tremendous growth in the country is starting to take it’s toll and read like a great HR manager’s challenge come nightmare:-

  • 16.5% attrition, with some of the highest figures in junior and middle management and customer service roles (aka call centres)
  • Double digit salary growth across all industries and level, except Pharmaceuticals at the low end
  • 30.0% of the companies have difficulty in attracting the right talent
  • 16.0% of companies have difficulty in retaining the top performers
  • Biggest factors affecting attractions, career growth opportunities, advanced training and variable pay
  • Biggest reasons for leaving better pay opportunities, better growth / career opportunities, personal reasons

For a country known as being a low cost outsourcing destination I see these statistics as a bit of an issue. Not to mention that the salary growth is going to have significant economic challenges for the Indian Government.

What are HR doing to combat these things?

Percentage of companies
a. Giving them higher salaries 48.0
b. Faster growth opportunities 62.0
c. Better performance based bonus amounts 46.0
d. Additional perquisites 4.0
e. Advanced training opportunities 38.0
f. Projects abroad 24.0
g. Recognition awards 54.0
h. Reflects in the salary increase 50.0
i. Others 4.0

To me it seems if you are a HR manager looking for a challenge there is no better place to go right now than India.
Want to learn more about HR management in India check out Gautam Gosh’s blog or listen to an interview with him on The Cranky Middle Manager.

JobsJobsJobs

JobsJobsJobs.com.au launched today, well at least their beta.

First thoughts, nice user interface which is a good start. But on the surface it looks just like any other job board. My question is it? Here are my very quick, 30 minutes worth of thoughts.

Sign up Process

Fairly easy and standard, no fancy AJAX to help users check availability of user names or suitability of passwords, but it is a jobs site. One interesting question was they wanted my mobile phone model number, marketing data or do they have other plans?

Resulting “JobSpace” again fairly standard on the surface but I would need to apply for some jobs to see if there were revolutionary features. Given I am not in the market right now I won’t.
Finding a Job

The jobs search interface was fairly standard as well, some cute AJAX sliders to narrow the search criteria but that’s about it. There is also the ability to search for jobs by employer, or alphabetical.

Job Application

Again fairly standard job application screen, a WYSIWYG editor for the cover letter. One nice feature is a summary of the job you are applying for in the right hand side of the screen.

Other Services

Standard offerings such as job alert, job hunter resources, recruiter sectors, online resume with no visible new features.

A couple of things did peek my interest, a tag cloud on the front page, a job hunter phone number to dial for help (although I can’t find it again to double check) the site seems to remember my selections which is very good.

I probably missed a bunch of things in my 30 minute scan, will go back for a deeper look later.

Thoughts on recruiting at the high end

Over the last couple of weeks I have been thinking a lot about The Ladders, a US$100K plus jobs site that mainly charges job seekers not recruiters (yes I know they have Recruit Ladders where recruiters pay for additional services). and the potential in Australia for such a service. I have been thinking about the troubles I hear candidates have “multiple posts by recruiters for the same job” and what recruiters have “unqualified candidates applying on mass as it is so easy”.

Then up pops this article on the NY Times (I know again) talking about the growth of The Ladders over the last few years and now that they have thousands of new jobs a month.

Now, according to Marc Cenedella, the chief executive of TheLadders.com, the site listed 70,000 jobs last week and is on pace to exceed $30 million in sales this year from about 1.4 million subscribers. And the site now counts Microsoft and the EMC Corporation as clients.

So the question I have is would it work in Australia? A country that tends to step on our highly successful individuals. My guess is it would but it would have to be done right.

The current players in this space (The Big Chair, Seek Executive) operate on the old model, recruiter pays and anyone can apply, resulting in potentially unsuitable candidates (aka poor quality). I wonder what the success rate in Australia would be if candidates had to pay to apply?

Why not take this to the next step with a reputation system? Candidate spams a recruiter they get a bad reputation, recruiter spams the system rate them poorly. Done right you limit people gaming the system.

One area that needs thought is to allow or not allow recruiters to post on behalf of employers. This is a major trend in Australia, and elsewhere. But what if the service provided many of the services that the major ATS systems had, but for a nominal fee for the recruiter, payable on a monthly basis as needed.

The most CT Jobs await you on the AllCountyJobs.com regional job board network.

HTC Releases a new touch phone

Overnight HTC released a touch phone in direct competition to the Apple iPhone, more from the HTC Press Release

The HTC Touch is the first device to feature TouchFLOâ„¢, the new underlying touch screen technology developed by HTC. Consumers simply sweep their finger up the display to launch an animated, three-dimensional interface comprising three screens: Contacts, Media and Applications. The interface can be spun by swiping a finger right or left across the display, providing efficient access to the features consumers use most. TouchFLOâ„¢ also enhances finger touch scrolling and browsing of Web pages, documents, messages and contact lists.

Does this make my phone purchase a little more complex? Yes but it does not a QWERTY keyboard so use for email is difficult. But when will it be available in Australia?
Other specifications include:-

  • Dimensions: 99.9mm (L) x 58mm (W) x 13.9mm (T)
  • Weight: 112g with battery
  • 1GB microSD storage card included / 64MB RAM, 128MB ROM
  • 2.8″ LCD touch screen with backlight, 240 x 320 dots resolution with 65,536 colours
  • Battery Life: Rechargeable Li-Ion battery with a capacity of 1100 mAh
  • Standby time: Up to 200 / Talk time: Up to 5 hours
  • Camera: 2.0 mega-pixel CMOS colour camera
  • Windows Mobile 6® Professional with Direct Push Email and HTML email support
  • Wireless Connectivity: GSM/GPRS/EDGE Tri-band: 900, 1800,1900, Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth® 2.0
  • Choice of two colors at launch – elegant soft black or alluring wasabi green

More reports, InformationWeek, CNet Crave, CrunchGear 1 and with videos.

Can’t find a domain name, Kevin Ham has it

Following the recent discussions around the purchase of jobs.com.au and the resulting owner I was very interested to read about the activities of Kevin Ham king ping domainer.

Trained as a family doctor, he put off medicine after discovering the riches of the Web. Since 2000 he has quietly cobbled together a portfolio of some 300,000 domains that, combined with several other ventures, generate an estimated $70 million a year in revenue. (Like all his financial details, Ham would neither confirm nor deny this figure.)

If you have any interest at all in the domain name business as a buyer or seller you should read the article.

In search of a new phone

After months of putting it off I am looking for a new phone (current one is held together by tape), the whole process is very difficult.

  • Windows Mobile 5.0 for push email and seamless Outlook integration
  • HSDPA or at least 3G
  • 240 x 240 minimum screen resolution
  • QWERTY Keyboard
  • WLAN 802.11 b/g (a would be great)
  • Bluetooth 1.2
  • Ability to run Skype, Yahoo IM (although Meebo would work)
  • Java client
  • Decent talk and stand by time
  • Vibration alert
  • Alarm clock, calculator, typical document viewers (DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF)
  • Smaller than 115mm x 55mm x 28mm

Current thoughts are Palm Treo 750, Dopod 838Pro or the Samsung Blackjack

The innovators dilemma

Another article from the NY Times where it seems the technology that “made” the pornography industry is being used against itself and as such could fundamentally change the industry.

Basically as Clayton Christensen called it “The Innovator’s Dilemma”. Existing powerhouses invest heavily in technology (the big traditional pornography houses) only to be beaten at their own game by smaller, players using better/different technology who changed the market structure (the amateur with their home video camera and broadband internet) .

And unlike consumers looking for music and other media, viewers of pornography do not seem to mind giving up brand-name producers and performers for anonymous ones, or a well-lighted movie set for a ratty couch at an amateur videographer’s house.

After years of essentially steady increases, sales and rentals of pornographic videos were $3.62 billion in 2006, down from $4.28 billion in 2005, according to estimates by AVN, an industry trade publication. If the situation does not change, the overall $13 billion sex-related entertainment market may shrink this year, said Paul Fishbein, president of AVN Media Network, the magazine’s publisher. The industry’s online revenue is substantial but is not growing quickly enough to make up for the drop in video income.

But to me here is the kicker:-

The spread of high-speed Internet access promised even further growth. Instead, faster connections have simply allowed people to download free movies more quickly, and allowed amateur moviemakers to upload their creations easily.

For an industry that grow at an amazing rate through the use of the internet it must be coming as a bit of a shock that the technology is now turning against them.

Cyber attacks, SaaS, SOA and your business

Over the last month or so Estonia (a small Baltic nation) has been under attack, not a traditional military attack but a cyber attack. The NY Times provides a good run down (via Kim Cameron) of what has been going on.

When Estonian authorities began removing a bronze statue of a World War II-era Soviet soldier from a park in this bustling Baltic seaport last month, they expected violent street protests by Estonians of Russian descent.

They also knew from experience that if there are fights on the street, there are going to be fights on the Internet, said Hillar Aarelaid, the director of Estonia’s Computer Emergency Response Team. After all, for people here the Internet is almost as vital as running water; it is used routinely to vote, file their taxes, and, with their cellphones, to shop or pay for parking.

Hillar thought he was prepared:-

When the first digital intruders slipped into Estonian cyberspace at 10 p.m. on April 26, Mr. Aarelaid figured he was ready. He had erected firewalls around government Web sites, set up extra computer servers and put his staff on call for a busy week.

But.

By April 29, Tallinn’s streets were calm again after two nights of riots caused by the statue’s removal, but Estonia’s electronic Maginot Line was crumbling. In one of the first strikes, a flood of junk messages was thrown at the e-mail server of the Parliament, shutting it down. In another, hackers broke into the Web site of the Reform Party, posting a fake letter of apology from the prime minister, Andrus Ansip, for ordering the removal of the highly symbolic statue.

Essentially Estonia was under full scale attack from a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack, something that is very hard to defend against and even harder to stop.

By the end of the first week, the Estonians, with the help of authorities in other countries, had become reasonably adept at filtering out malicious data. Still, Mr. Aarelaid knew the worst was yet to come. May 9 was Victory Day, the Russian holiday that marks the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany and honors fallen Red Army soldiers. The Internet was rife with plans to mark the occasion by taking down Estonia’s network.

Mr. Aarelaid huddled with security chiefs at the banks, urging them to keep their services running. He was also under orders to protect an important government briefing site. Other sites, like that of the Estonian president, were sacrificed as low priorities.

During the attack one bank has reported losses of around US$1 million dollars, not a huge amount but enough to get the attention of any CEO and Board of Directors. To give you a size of the scale of the attacks the NY Times reported:-

All told, Arbor Networks measured dozens of attacks. The 10 largest assaults blasted streams of 90 megabits of data a second at Estonia’s networks, lasting up to 10 hours each. That is a data load equivalent to downloading the entire Windows XP operating system every six seconds for 10 hours.

This brings me to SaaS and SOA, or Software as a Service and Services Orientated Architecture the next big things in enterprise software. The team in Estonia’s CERT were good, very good but even they were unable to completely protect themselves from such attack.

Some questions to ponder:-

  • What about the company that provides your SaaS payroll, recruitment, CRM or SCM, how would they stand up?
  • As a CIO or IT Manager selecting a vendor to provide services to your organisation are you even thinking of this?
  • As the CTO of a vendor, do you have the ability in house or contact externally to defend yourself?
  • Do the lawyers understand what is going on?
  • What would be the impact to your company if you lost your payroll, recruitment, CRM or SCM systems?

Lack of skills in Canberra push up contractor rates

The Australian Government has a problem, in a recent article in the Australian IT it was stated that they can’t find enough contractors at the right rates in the nation’s capital.

SURGING contractor costs in the nation’s capital are straining federal government projects worth more than a billion dollars and forcing a rethink of employment strategies at some of the country’s largest technology users.

Graduates and interstate destinations such as Brisbane and Adelaide have emerged as the biggest winners from the budget-busting labour shortage, which has pushed up contractor costs by 30 per cent in the past six months.

For example the Australia Tax Office is looking for SAP, Siebel and IBM content management skills and the increasing rates are putting pressure on their budgets.

The government seems to be tackling the issue on three fronts, first moving some work to other centres where there is not the price pressure, Brisbane and Adelaide and going for new graduates. Finally some departments are trying to bring people on as full time resources. The first two moves don’t seem to addressing the needs quick enough and as such projects are now running over budget and late, the worst situation to be in for a project. Hiring of graduates is a great move to ensure younger works get experience straight out of university, but it does not help cover the gaps in the senior ranks.

Out of interest I did a quick search using Recruit.net’s Job Index Trends tool on the number of jobs ads for SAP, Siebel and IBM Content Manager in Canberra. The results indicated that there was a surge in job advertising before Christmas but this has now decreased dramatically. Comparing the same search in Brisbane and Adelaide doesn’t seem to indicate a massive move in job ads being placed in these smaller centres.