E-Salaries Luring Real World Personnel To Cyberspace

Electronic commerce is shaking up a lot more than consumer buying trends lately, as high salaries and unlimited growth potential are allowing e-businesses to lure the best of the best from the brick-and-mortar business world. Almost daily, accomplished executives in various fields are joining the electronic commerce revolution.

Earlier this week, Seagram’s Universal Music Group announced a new record label with AOL. What they did not publicize was their aggressive attempt to lure Warner Brothers GM Andy Schuon into heading the new venture.

Schuon, a former head of programming at MTV, happens to be at the end of his contract with Warner Brothers.

Schuon’s formidable resume does not include electronic commerce, but that is not an unfamiliar refrain. In any event, e-businesses know that their needs are similar to traditional companies’ needs, and it only makes sense to attract known entities like Schuon.

The same thinking applied when priceline.com recruited former Citicorp president Richard Braddock to become its chief executive officer.

Employment Mecca

While leading executives from various industries are being persuaded to make the leap to e-commerce, the electronic job market has grown ripe for workers on all levels. The result is that traditional businesses are having to up the ante to keep good workers happy.

Benefit packages, flex time, liberal vacation schedules and company matching funds for 401K plans are just a few of the ways in which employers are keeping the best employees in the fold.

Additionally, from the tech side of e-commerce businesses, it is not unusual to hear stories of 20-somethings making previously unheard of salaries and sporting GM and director’s titles alongside their names.

The widespread belief that dot-coms are changing the world is a powerful attraction for young people just out of college. Many Gen X-ers see cyberspace as an opportunity to join a revolution and a chance to get in on the beginning of a major cultural shift.

Stoking The Fires

Even bigger e-companies are finding the occasional need to convince workers to look their way for employment. eToys, for example, has a substantial seasonal demand for workers beginning in September and lasting through the holiday season.

During that period this year, the company hired 200 additional workers in customer service and 900 in fulfillment and distribution, according to Paul Mikos, president and CEO of RemedyTemp, Inc., an e-commerce staffing service.

RemedyTemp has also provided workers for other high profile clients, including Amazon.com and eBay.

Staffing The Revolution

As for those recent grads, they will soon be coming to the work force with degrees in electronic commerce.

Well-established schools such as MIT’s Sloan School, Carnegie Mellon, and Loyola are offering fully-accredited course curriculums in e-commerce.

Meanwhile, mainstream business leaders are bracing themselves for the inevitable battle to retain good workers. At a recent meeting of the Business Council, a group of chief executive officers from major companies such as AT&T, Johnson & Johnson and Citigroup, the issue was prominent on the agenda.

Executives at the meeting observed that the tight job market is slowly but surely forcing them to raise salaries to keep good workers. In many cases, they noted, it has become necessary to offer prized employees particularly attractive benefits and stock options.

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