Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    The Legacy of The Public School Machine

    Monday the Washington Post published the findings of a recent and disturbing poll:

    According to the results compiled by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a national human resources consulting firm, 44 percent of HR executives did not meet their hiring goals in the first half of 2005 because of a lack of qualified candidates.
    This country's workforce is slowly becoming "un-employable" and CEO's, hiring execs and national thought leaders are becoming more vocal about this issue. Intel CEO Craig Barrett stated earlier this year that "the biggest ticking time bomb in the U.S. is the sorry state of our K-12 education system. It's the educational quality of our workforce that will determine our competitiveness."
    And Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize-winner and best-selling author, argues the same, scary point in his best seller The World Is Flat. Fed up with a poorly educated workforce, some are putting their money where their mouths are. Trailblazers like Microsoft's Bill Gates and the late John Walton of Wal-Mart have already made a difference by establishing programs and foundations designed to keep America's competitive edge and give kids in this country a better chance at success in life.

    (Thanks to the Center for Education Reform)


    Pundit said...

    More on wal-mart. Some time back I was listening to a liberal "non partisan" public affairs group radio show broadcast from San Francisco. The were kind enough to invite a high-level manager from wal-mart and give him the opportunity to answer all the ugly charges made against wal-mart and their "opressive" operations. He provided the following: whenever a wal-mart opens up, thousands come to apply for jobs. many of these are low income and non-white. this tends to put to rest the argument that wal-mart is unfair or oppressive. over 76% of wal-mart executives started as a clerk somewhereatr a wal-mart store. This is higher than any other retail chain in America. This also means that wal-mart pays the most in benefits and retirements, because such a large portion of their work force stays with them longer. I believe the national average is down in the 20 percentile range, but I don't recall that stat. he also noted that the average wal-mart employee works at least 32 hours per week, maybe more. the national average in the retail industry at large is 20 hours per week. that's another indicator that wal-mart is paying a lot more in benefits, because benefits are linked to salary. Notice of course, when the union clowns couldn't get the ball rolling on wal-mart, they appear to have finally given up on that. Like Thomas Jefferson said, the truth can stand on its own.

    Pundit said...

    Besides, we're getting rid of books, and leveling the playing field so everybody can feel good about their self worth and not have to worry about competition.

    The Rambling Taoist said...

    According to Jonathan Birchall, writing in the Financial Times (UK), "In a country where the retail industry has been convulsed over the past decade by the rise of Wal-Mart and rival discounters, Costco's discount warehouse club is part of the revolution. But unlike Wal-Mart, whose low-cost labour model has provoked increasingly vocal criticism, Costco has managed to remain competitive while providing its workers with the highest wages and best healthcare plans available anywhere in the US retail industry...But Costco's frugality does not extend to pay and working conditions. The average hourly wage for a full and part-time US employee is $17.41,
    according to the company. At Wal-Mart's Sam's Club, the sum for a similar employee is around $12 an hour...Costco has a staff turnover rate of 17 per cent annually, excluding seasonal hires, compared with 70 per cent seen in the rest of the sector. Only six per cent of new staff leave within the first year, which again reduces costs."

    Best of all, Costco is a northwest company!

    : JustaDog said...

    Actually comparing Wal-Mart or Target type stores to Costco is not comparing like stores - very different business models. Costco enjoys the added revenue stream of it's annual membership fees (three-tiered) while the previous mentioned stores do not. As of May this year they had approx. 3.4 million executive members (at $100/yr membership fee), along with zillions of business members and gold star members. Last year 69% of their pretax profit came from membership fees.

    Costco is not fugal - it's just their business model. They don't need to employ the same amount of labor that other stores do. Costco basically moves a pallet of product to an area, slice open a few boxes and that's it. Typical retailers have to not only open but place individual items on the selves. The overhead is greater for the typical Wal-Mart than Costco by a long shot.

    I have a Costco membership - had one since the first Price Club opened. They don't have the lowest prices anymore on as many products. Their standards, especially on their produce items, has been going downhill - much of their items are coming from Mexico. For produce we usually buy local grown organic anyway. The percent of products that are available at a lower cost are going down as well. I have a feeling paying someone $17.41 just to open boxes will catch up to them someday. I still get gas there - that's cheaper!