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Businessweek Archives

Behind Low Payroll Costs: Cheap Female Labor

Readers Report

Behind Low Payroll Costs: Cheap Female Labor

"The win-win in slowing labor costs" (Business Outlook, May 17) discusses a number of reasons why labor costs have not increased, even with unusually low unemployment. Have you considered the effect of the increasing participation of female labor in the work force? Employers are readily accepting well-educated women.

Unfortunately, most women draw less salary than their male counterparts at all income levels. And many want to, or are willing to, work part-time, which has fewer fringe benefits. Not only do women's lower labor costs bring down the average cost of labor, but male labor costs are kept down as a result of competing against cheaper female labor.

Edward A. Bryant

New YorkReturn to top

How the House GOP Is Going to Get Whipped

Regarding "A kinder, gentler GOP? Not if Tom DeLay can help it" (Washington Outlook, May 17): The ex-bug-killer from Texas will be a primary reason the Republicans will lose control of the House in 2000. Even in the old days back home, the smart money was on the bugs.

Richard N. Morgan

LouisvilleReturn to top

Top CEOs May Not Want a Point-and-Click Job Search

After 36 years in executive search, I've seen a number of fads, all purporting to change executive search. Yet nothing has changed, nor will it ("Headhunting 2000," Management, May 17). When clients pay retainers in the $50,000-to-$500,000 range, they want that "touchy feely" feeling, not touching the keyboard of some computer.

Surveys indicate that a majority of CEOs don't use computers, so it makes sense that they would retain a top-flight search consultant and not rely on a computer. The CEO wants to talk to a knowledgeable person, one who will take the time to understand his company, its culture, and most important, understand the CEO. The search consultant wants a client who understands that searches take time, that it may take two to three search assignments to understand the client company. I don't believe the Net can offer the personalized service CEOs are seeking.

Richard J. Cronin

Rosemont, Ill.

To date, the only proven benefit of the Internet in high-end recruiting is that it gives boutique firms such as ours the same research capability as the larger ones. As to whether the huge capital investment in Internet recruiting heralds a new age in executive search, that remains to be seen, along with whether Inc. ever earns a profit.

Stanley Herz

Somers, N.Y.Return to top

Global Warming Won't Just Cool the Economy

Global warming is not an economic problem about predicting spending patterns and being able to make seasonal adjustments to statistics ("The Farmer's Almanac and the Fed," News: Analysis & Commentary, May 17). Global warming is an environmental problem with the potential to change life on our planet.

The weather this past winter, "the warmest since record-keeping began in 1985," as you stated, was merely the latest in an observed trend that has been accelerating over the past several decades and is projected to continue under our current "business as usual" scenario. Admittedly, the existence of global warming has not been conclusively proved. There is, however, a strong correlation between industrialization in the 20th century, the increase in greenhouse gases, and a rise in average temperatures. If we wait until we have irrefutable proof of global warming, it may be too late to reverse the trend and solve the problem.

This past winter's mild temperatures should not be seen as a concern for economists about economic modeling. It should be a wake-up call for all of us, citizens and politicians alike.

Thomas H. Stone

Highland Park, Ill.Return to top

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