|Volume 1: No. 10|
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recently published a careful comparison of professors with many publications vs. all others. Those in the top 45% (based on lifetime productivity of journal publications, which appears consistent with recent productivity) are more active in research conferences, association activities, and consulting. They get more federal support, and -- except in engineering -- get the lion's share of institutional and departmental research funding. Their salaries are higher, and outside income typically adds 20% or more to academic salary. Their work week takes as many hours as less-published professors, but they teach fewer courses, spend fewer hours in preparation (although the same amount per course taught), have less contact with students, and spend less time in campus governance. They rate their departments more highly on academic reputation and intellectual environment, and are less likely to believe in teaching as a promotion criterion or to agree that research reduces teaching quality at a university. They are also more satisfied with their career choices. (And no wonder! But the next question is how to get the reputation or the funding that starts the cycle.) [Change, Mar/Apr '91.]
Myron Kayton (Santa Monica) argues that senior engineers are charging far too little for industry short courses. A five-day, leading-edge course requires about 450 hours the first time it is given (20 hours of administrative liaison plus 30 class hours times 10-15 hours preparation and 1 hour of post-class time per class hour). A senior lawyer would charge $350 per hour, or even $700 in the Los Angeles area. Engineers teaching at Southern California schools typically get $2500 to $8000 for a one-week class or a 15-week night class of 25 students. The difference of $150,000 or so goes mostly to industry, which buys "at least a man-year of knowledge" for about $1000. Kayton would like to see tuition raised to $20,000 per student, which would still be a bargain if each man-year of knowledge saves the company more than $150,000 in salary, overhead, and productivity. [IEEE Spectrum, 6/91.]
(Kayton is, of course, ignoring market forces. He is free to offer his services at $350 per hour, $150,000 per week, or $500,000 per course. He might even get it -- if he works exclusively for one company and gives them a competitive advantage. For those who teach ordinary short courses, note that there is little payoff in a course given once. Professional seminar leaders look for topics that can be sold in different cities every couple of months.)
"My business is growing, and I see so many opportunities I wish I were 1,000 people so I could pursue them all." Roger McConochie is one of about 200 trained anthropologists working in corporate America. (He's a business consultant in St. Charles, Illinois.) Compensation levels are about twice those of academic positions, which start at $27K to $32K for non-tenured assistant professors with doctorates and increase to $50-53K for tenured full professors. [Carol Kleiman, Chicago Tribune. San Jose Mercury, 5/12.]
A survey of job-hunting executives (by New York recruiting firm Canny, Bowen Inc.) showed that 45% lost their jobs to downsizing or acquistion; 51% had disagreed with corporate strategy, promotions, or a change in responsibility. Most were in their mid-40s, with compensation ranging from $150K to $350K. [Compensation includes perks, bonuses, retirement benefits, etc. It's how executives keep score.] Severance pay was often six months to a full year. Neither pay nor relocation was a significant complaint, but office politics was sometimes mentioned. The executives were looking for more than just a job: 41% had already turned down offers. Most had done little planning for career changes. Some wished they had obtained advanced degrees, others wished they had done more networking. [New York Times. San Jose Mercury, 5/12.]
I've heard that executives and middle managers climb toward the top until they're 40; after that, they just try to hold onto what they've got. As the baby boomers age, you can expect fewer to willingly give up their hard-won positions. The Silicon Valley turnover rate in 1980 was 30% for "exempt" employees; now it's about 18%. [Radford Associates/A&ACG.] James Mitchell (San Jose Mercury) attributes this to the work of personnel directors in defining and humanizing their corporate cultures. I find it hard to believe his statement that "high-tech companies have grown much faster than their employee pools." The truth is that qualified people are finding it hard to locate new positions. An 18% turnover rate means that it takes an average of 5 year for any specific position to open up -- and then you have to compete with those in the pyramid who haven't had a promotion in five years.