Showing posts with label Survey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Survey. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Survey Indicates Banks Are Starting to Recover



20 Sep 2011 15:35 Africa/Lagos


Survey Indicates Banks Are Starting to Recover

Crowe Horwath LLP releases findings from its 2011 Financial Institutions Compensation survey

PR Newswire

OAK BROOK, Ill., Sept. 20, 2011

OAK BROOK, Ill., Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Shifting priorities, modest salary increases and even rising turnover are all indicators that banks are beginning to recover from the recent economic downturn, as reported in Crowe Horwath LLP's 2011 Comprehensive Financial Institution Compensation Survey. In 2011, the average salary increase for officers and non-officers was 2.4 percent.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090902/CL69632LOGO )

The survey, which compiled data from 280 U.S. financial institutions, is conducted annually by Crowe, one of the largest public accounting and consulting firms in the U.S. Now in its 30th year, the survey found the top human resource priorities for the year are retaining employees, developing employees and motivating better performance. Containing costs dropped in priority, falling three spots from last year's survey.



"This year's survey shows the positive trend of banks refocusing their efforts on current employees, through developmental programs and moderate salary increases," said Timothy Reimink, a senior consultant in Crowe's Performance group.

Employee turnover is also returning to pre-recession levels. Non-officer turnover increased to 17 percent in 2011 compared to 12 percent in 2010. Officer turnover increased to 6.6 percent in 2011, reversing the downward trend of the past four years. "It appears employees were more confident in looking for new jobs as the outlook for banks stabilized," said Reimink.

For 2011, heads of personal investment sales received a total compensation increase of 25.5 percent, which is nearly all from bonuses as their base pay decreased by 3.7 percent. "Investment sales bonuses are based on activity in the stock market and that can come from buying or selling. In 2010, there was a rebound in stock activity and investment sales benefitted from that," said Reimink. "However, this year it seems stock activity has already hit a plateau, so it's unlikely we'll see this size of increase again next year."

As regulations for banks have increased over the past year, so too have the responsibilities of chief compliance officers, and the survey shows they are being rewarded for their efforts. They received a 6.1 percent raise in base pay for a 7.4 percent increase in total compensation.

Additional survey findings include:

* Residential mortgage loan officers received the largest total compensation increase of 34.1 percent. Reimink noted that even though home sales were down, interest rates reached new historic lows, causing a continued uptick in mortgage refinancing activity.
* Chief lending officers and chief information officers had 11.6 percent increases in base pay but saw reductions in total compensation of 2.8 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively, as a result of decreases in bonus pay. Similarly, chief financial officers had a base pay increase of 8.3 percent but saw a decrease in total compensation of 2.4 percent. According to Reimink, this decrease in bonus pay is likely due to the performance of financial institutions and a shift away from cash bonuses toward restricted stock, which isn't included in total cash compensation.
* Half of the financial institutions surveyed plan to maintain staffing levels at current levels with 24 percent expecting staffing growth.
* After averaging 11.35 percent of base pay for three years, aggregate incentive compensation declined to 7.4 percent of base pay in 2011. Reimink notes continued lower financial performance and slow growth appear to be impacting incentive payouts.
* While regulators expect that all incentive compensation plans are reviewed by the boards of directors, only 51.1 percent of financial institutions surveyed indicated their compensation committee reviews and approves plans. Only 35.4 percent indicated they review incentive compensation plans annually.
* While 87.7 percent of banks surveyed say they have a pay-for-performance program, their actual practices in granting merit pay increases do not appear to support this objective. Banks rated 26.9 percent of their employees as exceeding expectations in 2011, and on average gave these employees a 3.2 percent salary increase. This is not much more than the average 2.6 percent increase given to those employees meeting expectations. "Management may be missing the boat by not using pay to motivate and reward top performers," Reimink added.


"This year's survey showed that containing costs was reported as of lesser importance compared to last year. However, long-term projections suggest benefit costs may rise back to the top in our future surveys," added Pat Cole, a senior manager in Crowe's Audit and Financial Advisory practice, who specializes in human resources consulting for financial institutions. Seventy percent of institutions plan to increase deductibles, premiums and co-payments as a way to pass more costs onto their employees.

In addition to the national survey, Crowe prepared regional compensation reports for the Midwest and Southeast, as well as state reports for Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio. For more information or to purchase the survey results, please visit http://www.crowehorwath.com/compsurvey.

About the 2011 Crowe Horwath Financial Institution Compensation Survey

The 2011 Crowe Horwath Financial Institution Compensation Survey was completed by 280 financial institutions. Using data from March 31, 2011, the participant breakdown is as follows: 35 percent had less than $250 million in total assets, 28 percent had between $250 million and $500 million in total assets, 16 percent had between $500 million and $1 billion in total assets, 17 percent had between $1 billion and $10 billion in total assets and 4 percent had more than $10 billion in total assets. Of the participants, 200 of the financial institutions were located in towns with populations of less than 100,000, while 80 were located in cities of more than 100,000.

About Crowe Horwath

Crowe Horwath LLP (www.crowehorwath.com) is one of the largest public accounting and consulting firms in the United States. Under its core purpose of "Building Value with Values®," Crowe assists public and private company clients in reaching their goals through audit, tax, advisory, risk and performance services. With 26 offices and 2,400 personnel, Crowe is recognized by many organizations as one of the country's best places to work. Crowe serves clients worldwide as an independent member of Crowe Horwath International, one of the largest networks in the world, consisting of more than 140 independent accounting and management consulting firms with offices in more than 400 cities around the world.

SOURCE Crowe Horwath LLP

CONTACT: Amanda Shawaluk, +1-312-899-8416, amanda.shawaluk@crowehorwath.com; Jan Lippman, +1-312-899-8414, jan.lippman@crowehorwath.com,Twitter: @Crowe_USNews

Web Site: http://www.crowehorwath.com

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How do French entrepreneurs see Africa?

15 Feb 2011 14:20 Africa/Lagos


How do French entrepreneurs see Africa? / Results of a survey commissioned by the organisers of the Africa France Business Meetings

BORDEAUX, February 15, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The results of the qualitative study of French entrepreneurs' perceptions of doing business with Africa have just been presented by the organizers of the AFRICA FRANCE BUSINESS MEETINGS. The purpose of the study was to check that the event corresponded to the expectations of French entrepreneurs. From 23 to 25 May 2011, on the occasion of the 3rd edition of the event, it will be the turn of African entrepreneurs to give their view of doing business with France.


The study of the perception of business relations with Africa, conducted among French entrepreneurs by the organisers of the Africa France Business Meetings, reveals that doing business in Africa is a question of human relations above all else: the spoken word comes before the contract. Having a local partner therefore seems essential to establish efficient relations.

Most of the entrepreneurs surveyed added that it is easier to work with North Africa (except Algeria) and with West Africa, thanks to their common history and language. They also say, however, that the language barrier is tending to disappear in the English-speaking countries.


The entrepreneurs are familiar with the growth rates (5% on average in Africa) of the countries they are working with. They consider that the level of training of Africans is excellent among management, but that qualified technicians are harder to find.

Among the prerequisites for doing business with Africa, in addition to having a trusted partner locally, they recommend that companies should be sufficiently well structured and should be familiar with exporting before they start. The only real obstacle is the insecurity of people and property.


On the subject of payment risks or instability, the entrepreneurs with the most extensive experience of business in Africa play these issues down considerably. For them, it is much easier to get paid in Africa because the goods are dispatched once payment has been made. Finally, they also emphasise the role of the media which often give certain events greater importance than they actually merit.


West Africa comes out top among the zones where French businesspeople want to work. Then come North Africa, Southern Africa, Eastern and finally Central Africa.


This survey has given the Bordeaux CCI a better understanding of the factors that prevent French entrepreneurs from doing business with Africa, and of their needs and expectations to develop their activities in this part of the world.


An edition focused on 5 sectors of activities and on target African countries

In the light of these results, the Africa France Business Meetings 2011 have been focused on 5 sectors of activity: ICT, Eco-Industry, Agriculture and Food, Health and Capital Goods.

Among the African countries, prospecting will be intensified in Algeria and Libya for the North-African countries, in the French-speaking countries of West Africa, in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa for the English-speaking nations and finally in Angola and Mozambique for Portuguese-speaking Africa. The business meetings that form the backbone of the event will be held over 3 half days, with each one-on-one appointment lasting 30 minutes.


A survey backed by collaboration between French CCI

The survey was commissioned by the organisers of the AFRICA FRANCE BUSINESS MEETINGS and carried out by Bordeaux firm Quota Sud (Stratégir Group). The survey was conducted in December 2010 on a sample of 20 companies selected in collaboration with several French CCIs.

The sample comprised establishments of different sizes - half of them SMEs - based in 8 cities in France and working in 9 different sectors of activity.


The only “multisector” French-African event of its kind held nationally, the Africa France Business Meetings will be held for the 3rd consecutive year in Bordeaux on 23, 24 and 25 May 2011. Over 200 entrepreneurs are expected, of whom half from Africa.


* AFRICA FRANCE BUSINESS MEETINGS partners: Bordeaux Africa Business Club, Bordeaux City Authority, Aquitaine Regional Council, DIRECCTE Aquitaine, CIAN, MEDEF international, Aquitaine Foreign Trade Advisors, Ubi France, Total, Fayat, Le Moci, Young Africa Group, African Press Organization.


Preliminary programme available on www.africa-france-business.com


Media contacts:

PRESS CONTACTS:

Philippe GARCIA / Florence RICO-FAYAD

pgarcia@bordeaux.cci.fr / +33 5 56 79 52 48

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Survey Shows High Level of Engagement From Global Scholarly Community

10 May 2010 05:01 Africa/Lagos


Thomson Reuters Academic Reputation Survey Shows High Level of Engagement From Global Scholarly Community

Nearly one third of responses came from Asia

PHILADELPHIA and LONDON, May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Thomson Reuters, the authority on research analytics and decision support citation data for more than half a century, today announced preliminary results of its Academic Reputation Survey. The survey not only received responses from professional scholars from every corner of the world, but also an excellent breadth of results across different subject areas.


Thousands of responses were received in six subject areas: engineering and technology; physical sciences; life sciences; clinical, preclinical and health; social sciences; and arts and humanities. Nearly one third of these responses came from Asia, including a strong representation from China and Japan.


"We're particularly pleased with the number of responses from the Asia Pacific region," said Jonathan Adams, director of research evaluation at Thomson Reuters. "As other surveys have been criticized for over-representing North America and Europe, we took particular care to better balance regional representation."


To help control for language and translation bias the Academic Reputation Survey was offered in eight languages: Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese and English.


"Interestingly, country affiliation did not always predict language usage," Adams added. "For example, many United States-based participants took the survey in Chinese -- illustrating a highly mobile global academic community."


The Academic Reputation Survey is part of the Thomson Reuters Global Institutional Profiles Project. The initiative will create data-driven profiles of globally significant research institutions -- combining reputational feedback, scholarly outputs, citation patterns, funding levels, and faculty characteristics across disciplines in one comprehensive database. The dataset can be packaged and analyzed to different specifications, giving organizations custom information for evaluating and benchmarking their performance and supporting efforts to secure research funding. The data gathered for the Global Institutional Profiles Project will also help inform the Times Higher Education's influential World University Rankings.


Thomson Reuters will continue to analyze and release detailed results of the Academic Reputation Survey in the coming months. For more information and resources, please visit http://science.thomsonreuters.com/globalprofilesproject.


Thomson Reuters


Thomson Reuters is the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. We combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, healthcare and science and media markets, powered by the world's most trusted news organization. With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs more than 50,000 people and operates in over 100 countries. Thomson Reuters shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: TRI) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:TRI) . For more information, go to www.thomsonreuters.com.


Source: Thomson Reuters

CONTACT: Susan Besaw, Manager, PR & Communications, Healthcare & Science
of Thomson Reuters, +1-215-823-1840, susan.besaw@thomsonreuters.com


Web Site: http://thomsonreuters.com/

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Survey Shows Executives Frown on Office Pranks

18 Mar 2010 13:00 Africa/Lagos


Survey Shows Executives Frown on Office Pranks

MENLO PARK, Calif., March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Want to pull off an April Fools' joke that will go down in company history? Not so fast. Sixty-eight percent of advertising and marketing executives interviewed by The Creative Group consider April Fools' pranks unsuitable for the office.


The national study was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a project basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on more than 500 telephone interviews -- approximately 375 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 125 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.


Advertising and marketing executives were asked, "How appropriate do you think it is to play April Fools' jokes in the office?" Their responses:


Very appropriate 3%
Somewhat appropriate 27%
Not very appropriate 27%
Not at all appropriate 41%
Don't know/no answer 2%
---
100%





"Many advertising and marketing teams are stretched thin, and there may be less acceptance of activities that are viewed as potential distractions," said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. "April Fools' jokes often have a target, too, which can make them hard to pull off without hurting someone's feelings."


A certain degree of levity, however, can have a positive impact on the workplace, noted Farrugia. "Humor that is inclusive and well-intentioned can be a morale booster, which is especially important when business conditions are difficult. Employees who can foster a more positive work environment are assets to any team."


The Creative Group offers three tips for adding levity to the workplace without crossing the line:


1. Honor office "superstars." Remember senior superlatives from high
school: most school spirit, friendliest, and best all around? Why not
recognize the MVPs at your firm? You can give awards for "best
penmanship," "tidiest workspace" or "most likely to tweet company news"
-- just be sure to keep it clean, not mean. If you want to go all out,
hold an awards ceremony, complete with red carpet walks, printed
certificates and short acceptance speeches.
2. Create some confusion. Pick a lesser-known holiday to celebrate, like
National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day (April 24) or Do Something Nice Day
(Oct. 5). Organize activities surrounding the event, such as a cook-off
or designated time when employees can surprise their coworkers with a
treat.
3. Have fun year-round. Office "play" needn't be restricted to April
Fools' Day. Periodically have employees come together to celebrate a
topic of their choice, like "flashback to the '80s" or "favorite
reality TV stars." Create costume or trivia contests to add to the
enjoyment.


About The Creative Group

The Creative Group specializes in placing a range of highly skilled creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals with a variety of firms on a project basis. The Creative Group's internal account managers typically have prior experience working within the creative industry, which helps them better understand their clients' needs and their freelancers' unique talents. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., the firm has offices in major markets across the United States and in Canada. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group's award-winning career magazine, can be found at www.creativegroup.com. For more workplace and career advice, follow The Creative Group at www.facebook.com/thecreativegroup or www.twitter.com/creativegroup.


Source: The Creative Group

CONTACT: Alison Hau of The Creative Group, +1-650-234-6277,
alison.hau@creativegroup.com


Web Site: http://www.creativegroup.com/


Thursday, March 4, 2010

No Offer of a Cup of Tea, No Seat on the Bus...and Barely a Hello From Your Neighbour: Welcome to Today's Britain

4 Mar 2010 08:00 Africa/Lagos

No Offer of a Cup of Tea, No Seat on the Bus...and Barely a Hello From Your Neighbour: Welcome to Today's Britain

ANDOVER, England, March 4, 2010/PRNewswire/ -- A recent survey of the nation's local community and workplace habits carried out by healthcare provider Simplyhealth, has revealed us to be a nation that no longer cares about our community. Long gone are the days when Britons knew their neighbours by name - in fact, over half of modern day workers (52%) don't even offer to make a cup of tea for a colleague.


Almost half of us now only know a maximum of three neighbours by name. Tellingly, it's the 'over 55s' that can be bothered to get to know their neighbours with the majority (57%) on first name terms with at least five of their neighbours, whereas almost two-thirds of 'under 35s' know only two.


According to Simplyhealth's Bothered Britain survey of more than 1,000 UK adults, the main causes of people not bothering are lack of time and stress at work. However, despite the claim of "no time", over half the nation (56%) still manages to watch over 15 hours of television a week, instead of bothering to offer up an act of kindness. Other statistics revealed:



- 82% of people don't give up their seat on the bus or train
to someone who needs it more

- 61% of people admitted to never having volunteered for a charity

- 86% of the nation don't ever offer to carry someone else's bags




In fact, it seems that it now takes moments of extreme adversity to encourage any active acts of botheredness at all - 92% of us agree that it takes a crisis for people to show they care about one another, with 82% agreeing that the recent freezing weather conditions brought about a greater sense of community spirit - which now appears to have melted along with the snow.


This could be a reflection of modern life, with higher work expectations and frantic family lifestyles causing higher levels of stress and fatigue. However, carrying out good deeds for others can in fact have a positive impact on a person's health, as well as the surrounding community.


Medical expert Dr Christian Jessen agrees: "We all know that helping others is of benefit to them, but many people don't realise that getting active to help others can also improve your mental and physical wellbeing. Simple activities like walking the neighbour's dog or helping in the garden help to burn calories and improve general fitness, leading to a healthier, happier nation."


Jamie Wilson, spokesperson for Simplyhealth, says: "Committing just half an hour a month to helping someone else can make a real difference to your life as well as theirs. If everyone in the UK aimed to do just one act of 'botheredness' every month, it would make a real difference to the nation's overall wellbeing. As a healthcare provider, we encourage our staff to get active in the community supporting others - in fact we give 100 days a year to staff to spend a day helping at a charity of their choice."


Simplyhealth provides a variety of health plans, which help towards the cost of check-ups, treatment and emergencies, helping people budget for the costs of expected and unexpected healthcare. It also has a specialist Simplyhealth store that offers mobility and daily living aids.


For further information on Simplyhealth please bother us on +44(0)800-072-6715 or log onto http://www.simplyhealth.co.uk. In a world where so many people can't be bothered, Simplyhealth is proud to be a company that can, to find out how log onto http://www.wecanbebothered.co.uk.



Notes to Editor

- Previously known as HSA, BCWA, LHF, HealthSure and Totally
Active, our family of health companies have joined together over the
last 8 years to form Simplyhealth
- At Simplyhealth, we have been providing healthcare solutions for
nearly 140 years, dedicated to serving our customers through a variety
of cash plans, dental plans, private medical insurance, healthcare
trusts and mobility and living aids
- Simplyhealth is a trading name of Simplyhealth Access, which is
authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
- As of December 2009, Simplyhealth had 1.3 million customers
providing cover for some 2.3 million people
- Simplyhealth is committed in its constitution to making a
positive impact on its communities. Each year, we help health related
charities and causes to the tune of at least GBP1million




For further information, please bother us at:


http://www.simplyhealth.co.uk/media-centre


Source: Simplyhealth

For further information, please bother us at: Abby Bowman, Senior Brand and PR Manager +44(0)1264-342561; Caroline Lakeman, Public Relations Manager +44(0)1264-342570; Rebecca Jeremy, Public Relations Assistant +44(0)1264-342400; Or pr@simplyhealth.co.uk.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More Than Four-in-Ten Workers Over the Age of 35 Currently Work for a Younger Boss, Finds New CareerBuilder Survey

17 Feb 2010 13:00 Africa/Lagos


More Than Four-in-Ten Workers Over the Age of 35 Currently Work for a Younger Boss, Finds New CareerBuilder Survey

CHICAGO, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- As generations continue to mix in the workplace, many older workers are reporting to younger bosses. A new CareerBuilder survey finds that 43 percent of workers ages 35 and older said they currently work for someone younger than them. Breaking down age groups, more than half (53 percent) of workers ages 45 and up said they have a boss younger than them, followed by 69 percent of workers ages 55 and up. This survey was conducted from November 5 and November 23, 2009, among more than 5,200 workers.


Occasionally, the younger boss, older worker situation can create challenges. Sixteen percent of workers ages 25-34 said they find it difficult to take direction from a boss younger than them, while 13 percent of workers ages 35-44 said the same. Only 7 percent of workers ages 45-54 and 5 percent of workers ages 55 and up indicated they had difficulty taking direction from a younger boss.


Workers reported that there are a variety of reasons why working for someone younger than them can be a challenge, including:


-- They act like they know more than me when they don't
-- They act like they're entitled and didn't earn their position
-- They micromanage
-- They play favorites with younger workers
-- They don't give me enough direction



"As companies emerge from this recession, it is important for employees to work together and move the business forward, regardless of their age," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "With so many different age groups present, challenges can arise. Younger and older workers both need to recognize the value that each group brings to the table. By looking past their differences and focusing on their strengths, workers of any age can mutually benefit from those around them, creating a more cohesive workplace."


PrimeCB.com, CareerBuilder's job site for mature workers, offers the following tips for bridging generational differences at work:


-- Understand others' point of view: Different generations tend to have
differing opinions on a variety of topics, from management style to
pop culture. Put yourself in others' shoes to better understand where
they're coming from.
-- Adapt your communication: Younger workers tend to favor communicating
frequently using technology, such as e-mail and instant messenger.
Older workers may prefer more face-to-face contact. Both parties
should take this and other communication differences into
consideration when interacting.
-- Keep an open mind: Try not to make assumptions about those who are of
a different age group than you. All workers have different skill sets
and strengths, so see what you can learn from others rather than
making judgments based on their age.


Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder.com among 5,231 employees (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) ages 18 and over between November 5 and November 23, 2009 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset of U.S. employees, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 5,231 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.35 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.


About CareerBuilder®


CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract their most important asset - their people. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 23 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 32 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world's top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and data analysis. More than 9,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder's proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI) , Tribune Company, The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI) and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) , CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.


Media Contact:
CareerBuilder
Allison Nawoj
773-527-2437
allison.nawoj@careerbuilder.com
http://www.twitter.com/CareerBuilderPR


Source: CareerBuilder

CONTACT: Allison Nawoj of CareerBuilder, +1-773-527-2437,
allison.nawoj@careerbuilder.com


Web Site: CareerBuilder


Monday, January 4, 2010

Survey shows Americans want to improve health but easily find excuses



Survey shows Americans want to improve health but easily find excuses

American Heart Association introduces free social media application to help keep commitment

DALLAS (January 4, 2010)/PRNewswire/ — Although 58 percent of American adults have resolved to make improvements in their health this year, more than half say they often find reasons not to exercise, according to an American Heart Association survey. Excuses range from too much stress at work to having nothing to wear to simple procrastination.

The American Heart Association's Start! initiative is introducing the Start! Daily Walking Guide, a FREE social media application that can get more Americans active and help them keep their health and physical activity resolutions. Nearly half of all Americans use online tools to track their health.

"The Start! Daily Walking Guide is the ideal tool to keep us committed to our New Year's resolutions," said Clyde Yancy, M.D., president of the American Heart Association. "We spend 164 more hours per year at work than we did 20 years ago, and for many Americans that means lots of time on computers. This application allows you to keep track of your physical activity, see progress, find accountability and get great encouragement."

The Start! Daily Walking Guide can be downloaded and embedded into a variety of sites including Facebook, Windows Live and iGoogle. Users get started with a quiz that generates 12 weeks worth of customized walking plans, a private journal section that lets users record their walks and reference archived exercises, and keep motivated with daily inspirational messages and heart-health tips.

Members can also chat with virtual "sole-mates" via the Start! Connections function. A previous Start! study revealed that American adults are 76 percent more likely to take a walk if another person is counting on them.

Heart disease and stroke are America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, despite being largely preventable though a healthy lifestyle. Cardiovascular disease claims nearly 865,000 lives a year and physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease. Physically active people reduce their cardiovascular disease risk by 30 percent. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, like brisk walking, each week. Download the Start! Daily Walking Guide at www.startwalkingnow.org.

To view the complete survey report visit www.startwalkingnow.org.

Also available on www.startwalkingnow.org:

Customized walking programs for beginner, intermediate and advanced walkers;
Online tracking tools to document calories consumed, steps taken and walking routes;
Sole-mates social networking capabilities to find and support like-minded walkers;
A grocery list builder and archives of heart-healthy recipes;
Downloadable seasonal walking guides with tips to maintain a routine regardless of the weather; and
Start! walking videos, produced in collaboration with ExerciseTV, making an at-home workout easier with tips and motivation.
###

About the American Heart Association
Founded in 1924, we're the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases — America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers — we fund cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit americanheart.org.



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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Banks 'Still Not Lending', Centric Commercial Finance Survey Reveals

26 Nov 2009 08:30 Africa/Lagos

Banks 'Still Not Lending', Centric Commercial Finance Survey Reveals

LONDON, November 26/PRNewswire/ -- 65% of corporate financial advisers have stated that the 'the banks are not lending', according to an independent survey commissioned by Centric Commercial Finance. 72% said that cash flow was proving to be their clients' biggest challenge. Disappointingly, 56% of respondents claim that banks have removed or are restricting clients' facilities.


Tim Hawkins comments: "The market needs certainty and innovation right now. Advisers are looking to the independent asset based lending and invoice discounting sectors for liquidity for their clients, which is so notably lacking from elsewhere. These facilities have not only proven to be a valuable lifeline to businesses during the recession, they will also grow with them as they emerge from it. The renaissance of invoice discounting and asset based lending has come at exactly the right time."


Described by advisers as a 'core funding solution', 80% of respondents state that asset based lending and invoice discounting offer 'improved working capital' (66%), followed by 'higher levels of finance' (66%) over and above traditional sources.


When recommending a solution, advisers look for lenders to 'deliver the deal as promised' (86%). This is followed by 'certainty of funding' (63%), 'access to decision-makers' (51%), 'business understanding' (46%), 'speed of service' (42%), 'creativity' (37%) and 'reputation' (18%).


However, financial advisers are optimistic about the UK's emergence from recession, with 65% of accountants and finance brokers expecting to see 'significant increases' in transactional activity within the next 6 to 18 months. 26% of those surveyed anticipate a resurgence of activity within 18 to 24 months. At the two opposite ends of the spectrum, 2% believe this will happen in the next 6 months and 7% predict two years or even longer.


Whilst 77% of advisers who responded to the survey stated that 'survival' is the primary focus for their clients, 70% claim that their clients are now ready to 'exploit gaps in the market'.


In addition, 76% of advisers considered that an equity release scheme for business owners considering retirement would be a highly 'appealing' option at this time. Whilst a minority of respondents felt that some owners may elect to 'hang on for better times', the vast majority felt that equity release would be appropriate where the 'valuation is not too low'.


You can find out more about Centric Commercial Finance at http://www.CentricCF.com.


Source: Centric Commercial Finance

Contact details: Michael Symes, t +44(0)20-7520-9216 m +44(0)7736-008270