News briefs

Mental health biggest workplace barrier, women say • High-tech sector paying more for specialized skills • Balls not necessarily better than chairs • Meetings wasting billions of dollars • HR scholarship established

Mental health biggest workplace barrier, women say

— For employers looking to support employee mental health, it is interesting to note only 35 per cent of women said they would discuss their symptoms with their boss, reports a study conducted by Leger Marketing for pharmaceutical firm Wyeth Canada. Seventy-one per cent of 1,500 women surveyed who experienced depression or anxiety said admitting to a mental health problem is the biggest barrier to job advancement, far greater than sexism or pregnancy and child care.

High-tech sector paying more for specialized skills

— There is a growing gap in the supply and demand of technology professionals, with specially trained individuals in Canadian high-tech companies earning more than they did three years ago, and more than their peers in other industries, according to recent research from Mercer Human Resource Consulting. The High-Tech Compensation Survey, 2004, sponsored by the Information Technology Association of Canada, includes data from 70 organizations representing 47,000 high-tech sector employees. The survey shows that wages for some senior level positions have increased by more than 25 per cent since 2001. Software design engineers are earning an average of $101,000 a year. Hardware engineers average $97,000.

Balls not necessarily better than chairs

Waterloo, Ont.
— Ergonomically speaking, sitting on exercise balls isn’t much different than sitting in regular office chairs, researchers at the University of Waterloo say. Balls neither improve posture nor muscle strength, and come with added worker concerns about stability, a study found.

Meetings wasting billions of dollars

— Large North American firms wasted $5 billion last year on meetings and events, money that can be saved by consolidating event and travel co-ordination within companies, claims event management firm Maritz Travel. By consolidating internally, large firms can save 10 per cent of meeting and travel costs, items corporate North America spent $50 billion on last year, Maritz states.

HR scholarship established

— York University’s HR program has received a $25,000 endowment for an HR scholarship. The endowment comes from career transition firm Knebel Watters & ¬Associates.

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