The next round of globalization is under way. Who will the big winners be? 





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The next round of globalization is under way. Who will the big winners be?



‘The handwriting is on the wall,’ writes an IT specialist at the Bank of America. Until recent­ly the bank needed talent so badly it had to outbid rivals. But last fall, his entire 15-engineer team was told their jobs were redundant. Bank of America has already slashed 3,700 of its 25,000 technical and back-office jobs and more are to follow.

Corporate downsizings are nothing new. These layoffs, though, aren't just happening because demand has dried up; one-third of those jobs are headed to India, where work that costs $100 an hour in the US gets done for $20. At Infosys Technologies Ltd. in Bangalore, India, 250 engineers are developing computer applications for Bank of America. About 1,600km north, at Wipro Spectramind Ltd., 2,500 young college-educated men and women are checking accident reports for an insurance company and providing help-desk support for a big internet service provider - all at a cost up to 60% lower than in the USA.

It's globalization's next phase - and one of the biggest trends reshaping the global economy. The first phase started two decades ago with the transfer of manufacturing jobs to eco­nomically developing countries. After that, simple service work, like process­ing credit card receipts, and digital labor, like writing software code, began fleeing high-cost countries.

Now, all kinds of knowledge work can be done almost anywhere. The driving forces are digitization, the internet, and high-speed data net­works that circle the globe. By mining databases over the internet, offshore staff can check individuals' credit records, analyse corporate financial information, and search through oceans of economic statistics.

The impact of offshore hiring is hard to measure, since so far a tiny portion of US white-collar work has jumped overseas. Indeed, a case can be made that the US will see a net gain from this shift. In the 1990s, the USA had to import hundreds of thousands of immigrants to ease engineering short-

ages. Now, by sending routine service and engineering tasks to nations with a surplus of educated workers, the US labor force and capital can be rede­ployed to higher-value industries.

Globalization should also keep serv­ice prices in check, just as it did when manufacturing went offshore. Companies will be able to reduce overheads and improve efficiency. 'Our comparative advantage may shift to other fields,' says economist Robert Lipsey, 'and if productivity is high, then the US will maintain a high stan­dard of living.' By encouraging eco­nomic development in nations such as India, meanwhile, US companies will have expanded foreign markets for their goods and services.

Outsourcing experts say the big job migration has only just begun. Frances Karamouzis, research director at Gartner Inc., expects 40% of the USA's top 1,000 companies to have an over­seas pilot project under way within two years. The really big offshore push won't be until 2010 or so, she predicts. But if big layoffs result at home, cor­porations and the US government will face a backlash. Some states are already pushing for legislation to stop public jobs from being transferred overseas and now the unions are moving into the fight to keep jobs at home.

The truth is, the rise of the global knowledge industry is so recent that most economists haven't begun to understand the implications. For developing nations, the big beneficiar­ies will be those offering the speediest and cheapest telecom links, investor-friendly policies, and ample college graduates. In the West, it's far less clear who will be the big winners and losers. But we'll soon find out.

VOCABULARY:

outbid rivals – обойти конкурентов

back-office - отдел обработки документации, бэк-офис: отдел банка или брокерской фирмы, занимающийся ведением счетов, оформлением различных операций, расчетами, а не совершением сделок или непосредственными контактами с клиентами

be nothing new – не являться чем-то новым

high-speed data net­works – высокоскоростные сети передачи данных

 

standard of living - уровень жизни

 

 

72. Firing the Boss

SACKING someone is a horrible task, as near to commanding a firing squad as most civilised people get these days. It is not quite as unpleasant as being sacked, of course, and it is easier if you can delegate your dirty work to somebody in human resources. But the sheer nastiness of telling somebody it's time to go is enough to make the toughest hesitate. Nowhere is this truer than in the boardroom. Confronted with a chief executive whose strategy is not working, the instinct of many company directors is to wait in the hope that something—the shares, ideally—will turn up. Far better to find a replacement, quickly, and pay the price.

An able chief executive has extraordinary power to make or break a company. Take the way that Robert Ayling has turned Britain’s BA from ‘the world’s favourite airline’ into just another troubled carrier. Or look at how Gil Amelio damaged Apple Computer and Edzard Reuter wrecked Daimler-Benz. But the speed with which Apple’s resurrection followed the return of Steve Jobs, or the vigour with which Jurgen Schrempp has restructured Daimler and Jean-Marie Messier has transformed France’s Vivendi, all show the value of talent.

Exceptional skills required

Such influence reflects the demands of running a large firm these days. Backed by the corporate bureaucracy, a chief executive might once have got by with good managers, cost-control, and a beady eye on the accounts. Although such things still matter, a chief executive now has to think for himself. He needs to be an innovator and an entrepreneur with a global vision. He needs political skills, to steer a course through the regulatory maze. He needs to be a salesman and a preacher to woo consumers, employees and investors. Which is why a firm with a good boss does everything in its power to hang on to him – and why some of the most successful chief executives spent years in the job. Yet, because the costs of failure are so high, it is also essential to get rid of an underperforming boss. In the United States, more boards are doing their duty. Indeed, running a big American firm or a Silicon Valley start-up is now riskier than being grand vizier in the court of the Ottoman sultan. Boards in other parts of the world are too reluctant to pull the trigger.

A few firms go to the other extreme and become serial sackers; many others, even American ones, seem stuck with a fossilised strategy and a familiar face. According to Rakesh Khurana, of MIT's Sloan School of Management, most boards give the chief executive a honeymoon of between two and three years. Then follow a couple of dangerous years. After that, the longer you are chief executive, the less likely you are to be fired.

Where there is inaction, institutional investors bear part of the blame. Rather than step in when performance flags, many prefer to sell the shares or sit back and wait for a free ride on the activism of others. When investors act, as they do increasingly in America, they discover that replacing the boss is a labour of behind-the-scenes negotiations.

Which is why sacking the boss ultimately comes down to the judgment of a firm's directors. Yet boards find many excuses for doing nothing. The boss is near retirement; he is the founder; he is the founder's son. It would look bad; it would be hard to find someone better; it would show that the corporate strategy had been less brilliant than the board had told shareholders at the previous annual meeting.

How to change this? An essential is to structure the board so that it can scrutinise the chief executive. That is best done when the roles of non-executive chairman and chief executive are separate, so that rebellious directors have a leader. Non-executives should meet without the chief executive, and make a regular evaluation of the boss's achievements.

Directors will do this better if they have a stake in the firm. Many companies have grasped the need to align the interests of chief executive and shareholders, with shares or (less good) share options; far fewer have seen the need to align the interests of directors and shareholders in the same way.

Many mediocre chief executives owe their jobs to bad boards. The longer a chief executive has been in the job, the more likely he is to have appointed the executive directors and brought in his chums as "independent" non-executives. When the chief executive's tennis coach and golf partner have to decide his future, they are unlikely to vote for execution—a reason for ensuring that non-executives are truly professional, and value their reputation for independence above their board fees.

When it is time to make a change, firms should reluctantly accept that they may have to pay a bad boss to leave. To pay a crooked one would be wrong. That aside, when a chief executive leaves under a cloud, his career is wrecked and he is unlikely ever again to run a firm of similar size. Buying out the boss may be the fastest way to give a company a fresh start. A fresh start is exactly what many companies need.

VOCABULARY:

global vision – зд. умение смотреть далеко вперед

underperforming boss – слабый руководитель

fossilised - несовременный, старомодный, устаревший; неспособный к развитию или прогрессу

when performance flags – когда показатели снижаются

have a stake in the firm – владеть акциями компаний

share option scheme - схема поощрения акциями: программа наделения менеджеров акциями их корпорации в определенной пропорции и по льготной цене

 

 

VOCABULARY CHECK

1) Сокращение штата, проведенное ненадлежащим образом, очень справедливо называют "сокрушением штата".

2) Как правило, старшие менеджеры работают в штаб-квартире или в головном офисе компании.

3) Отдел кадров компании занимается вопросами заработной платы, подбора и обучения персонала, а также программами поощрения сотрудников.

4) Компания может сама осуществлять подбор специалистов, либо обращаться за помощью к специальным рекрутским фирмам.

5) Охота за «головами» - это переманивание высококвалифицированных специалистов при помощи тщательно разработанной системы льгот.

6) «Делегирование» полномочий – это передача обязанностей менеджеров среднего звена рабочим и служащим.

7) Организация с упрощенной структурой управления имеет больше возможностей для принятия решений на всех уровнях.

8) Увольнение по сокращению штатов предполагает попытку фирмы трудоустроить увольняемого на новом месте.

 

SECTION 3 PAY AND BENEFITS

LEAD-IN

Salary and wages are the main forms of payments made to an employee.

Salary is a fixed periodical payment paid to a person for regular work or services, whereas wages are usually paid by the day or week for work or services which are of a more irregular nature.

In addition to their normal wages or salaries employees are provided with various non-wage compensations. Fringe benefits and perks may include such things as company cars, private medical insurance paid for by the employer, cheap or free loans. Often, perks are given to employees who are doing notably well or have seniority.

Finding senior executives capable of motivating people, communicating a vision, and leading a company to the top can be challenging. And with concerned investors closely monitoring company performance, businesses are under enormous pressure to retain qualified executives once they hire them.

Compensation and remuneration are formal words used to talk about pay and benefits, especially those of senior managers. Compensation package and remuneration package are used especially in the US to talk about all the pay and benefits that employees receive. For a senior executive, this may include share options (BrE) or stock options (AmE): the right to buy the company’s shares at low prices. There may be performance-related bonuses if the manager reaches particular objectives for the company.

Compensation is also used to talk about money and other benefits that a senior manager (or any employee) receives if they are forced to leave the organization, perhaps after a boardroom row. This money is in the form of a compensation payment, or severance payment. If the manager also receives benefits, the payment and the benefits form a severance package.

Executives may be persuaded to move company by the promise of a golden hello: a large sum of money or some other financial enticement offered by the company they move to.

A compensation package for an executive leaving a company is also known as a golden goodbye, golden handshake, or golden parachute.

When executives are ousted, or forced to leave, people may talk about companies giving them the golden boot.

In Britain, executives with very high pay and good benefits may be referred to as fat cats, implying that they do not deserve this level of remuneration.

 

VOCABULARY

salary - оклад, жалованье, заработная плата (служащего): исчисляется на месячной или годовой основе и напрямую не зависит от количества отработанных часов или объемов выполненных работ; обычно термин применяется к оплате труда "белых воротничков" (служащих, научно-технического персонала и т. п.)
wages - заработная плата : сумма, выплачиваемая работодателем наемному работнику в зависимости от количества отработанного времени или выполненного объема работ; часто устанавливается на почасовой или понедельной основе; обычно термин применяется к оплате труда рабочих и неквалифицированных работников
fringe benefits perks - дополнительные льготы (выплаты, привилегии), предоставляемые работнику сверх основной зарплаты (напр.бесплатное медицинское обслуживание, пенсионная схема, медицинская страховка, оплачиваемый отпуск, служебный автомобиль, субсидия на жилье или образование детей)
compensation remuneration - вознаграждение, оплата, компенсация ( чаще всего, когда речь идет о руководителях компании)
compensation package remuneration package - компенсационный пакет: совокупность всех видов вознаграждений работника или управляющего, включающая заработную плату, различные виды премиального вознаграждения по результатам работы, страховую премию и т. п.
share options (BrE) stock options (AmE) - опцион на акции: право купить или продать определенное количество акций компании в течение конкретного срока по определенной цене
performance-related bonuses - премия, надбавка, бонус по результатам : вознаграждение, выплачиваемое в дополнение к обычной заработной плате, обычно, чтобы поощрить высокую производительность или высокое качество работы
compensation payment severance payment - выходное пособие, компенсация, выплачиваемая сотруднику, с которым прекращены трудовые отношения (в связи с сокращением штатов, досрочным расторжением или истечением срока трудового договора и т. п.)
golden hello - большой аванс, предлагаемый сотруднику при устройстве на новое рабочее место (использующийся работодателем в качестве "приманки")
golden goodbye golden handshake golden parachute - компенсация за отставку, золотое рукопожатие: часто не облагаемая налогом выплата компанией денег директору, менеджеру или консультанту, который вынужден покинуть компанию до истечения срока его контракта в связи со слиянием, поглощением или по какой-л. иной причине
oust give the golden boot - выгонять с работы
fat cat - богач, денежный мешок

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

1) What is the difference between wages and salary?

2) What do fringe benefits and perks include?

3) Who has the right to buy the company’s shares at low prices?

4) What could a boardroom row result in?

5) Why do companies try to retain qualified executives?

6) When do managers receive compensation and in what form?

7) When are executives given the golden boot?

 

VOCABULARY PRACTICE

Severance Pay may range from two weeks to as much as six months or more at your current salary, plus unused vacation and maybe even sick pay and floating holidays. Your ex-employer may pay it all in one lump sum or in regularly-scheduled paychecks.

Over two-thirds of U.S. employers provide outplacement services, usually in a standard package that includes temporary office space and career counseling, typically in a group workshop.

Many employers routinely give severance packages to long-term employees who are fired for reasons other than serious misconduct, even if they are not legally required to do so. Why? To soften the blow of being fired and to buy a little insurance against lawsuits. A severance package may help sweeten the sour grapes a worker feels about being fired. And a happier former employee is a less litigious former employee.

Both privately and publicly held companies make stock options available for several reasons: they want to attract and keep good workers; they want their employees to feel like owners or partners in the business; they want to hire skilled workers by offering compensation that goes beyond a salary; this is especially true in start-up companies that want to hold on to as much cash as possible.

Stephen Walls, who picked up a six-figure golden handshake when Plessey was bid for four years ago, is in line for another bumper pay-off. He stands to receive at least $925,000 compensation after a boardroom row at Anglo-French paper group Arjo Wiggins.

He also said he would work without a contract indefinitely. Such a move would prevent him from receiving substantial ‘golden parachuteseverance pay should he leave United’s employment.

Most executives value salary increases far more than perks when changing jobs, says a survey carried out by a leading recruitment company. Responses in a recent survey of 146 executives found that 63 per cent of them said they would prefer to have the equivalent increase in salary instead of some or all of the perks on offer. The benefits they considered most important were non-contributory pensions, company cars and healthcare.

Huge payoffs recently have included $1.5 million for Robert Horton, who was ousted as chairman and chief executive of BP following a boardroom row.

 

TEXTS TO TRANSLATE:

73. In the money





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