Thursday, December 21, 2006

Paris Hilton & Your 2007 Salary Raise: Thin is the Word!

Paris Hilton -- pictured here in route to an acting class -- is doing something a lot of us should consider when we think about a recent Wall Street Journal report about upcoming salary hikes and bonuses-linked to performance.

The WSJ headline says it all: "Companies Strive To Find True Stars For Raises, Bonus." Basic pay raises will be a bit thin next year:

"In a survey of 227 midsize and large employers to be released today, Philadelphia-based Mercer Human Resource Consulting found that companies expect to dole out average annual pay raises for 2007 of 3.6% to 3.7%." --WSJ

However, performance-related bonuses will be generous for those who outshine peers, dramaticially improve in job-related tasks, sales or business development. That's where the "real money," is according to the WSJ. In the past, fat bonuses have gone to senior executives and other rain makers in the executive suite, who earn as much as 45 percent of their annual income from merit bonuses.

But now, the Wall Street Journal reports, more and more companies are expanding that bonus pool and regular rank-and-file workers will receive smaller base-rate raises, but potentially larger bonuses based on performance.

And that's why I think Paris Hilton is so smart. Obviously, she feels as if her acting skills need a bit of finetuning. So she's taking classes to become better at her craft:

Paris is brushing up her acting chops before heading to the set for her upcoming role in "The Hottie and the Nottie." The 25-year-old blonde was snapped leaving a Beverly Hills acting class on Monday with script in hand.

We can all borrow a page from Paris Hilton's binder by taking a class or seminar in our field. Industry trade groups and associations offer a wide assortment of continuing education classes, even free sessions. And if there is a fee, your company may even be willing to pay that charge for you.

When I was a staff business reporter for assorted investment-related publications in New York and Miami, my employers often paid for me to attend seminars on venture capital financing, priviate equity markets, initial public offerings (IPOs) and capital markets regulations.

What's more, those seminars, trade shows, and industry meetings can be a great way to network and develop contacts for your next career move.



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