The unemployment rate may be holding steady at 5%, but that flat line belies the turbulence many execs are feeling when it comes to recruiting and retaining talented workers. While it gets harder to find the right skilled workers, tenured employees in many areas are complaining of wage compression thanks to rising minimum rates. Many finance executives are getting laser-focused in response, homing in on openings that will buoy the company’s bottom line.
4 need-to-know headlines
1. Minimum wage worries ripple across workplaces
Nationwide there’s been a push to raise the minimum wage to as much as $15 an hour, with dozens of cities—and New York state and California—already signing legislation to make it happen. But CFOs need to look beyond the lowest rank and file when they consider how a wage hike would affect the business: An increase for entry level workers may irk more tenured employees, who want wage compressions battled with higher pay across the board. To quell the early complaints, some companies are already raising wages for senior workers or ponying up non-money perks in a bid to keep more veteran employees to stay put. (via WSJ.com [log-in required])
2. Finance execs focus on revenue-boosting hires
Good news for those working in business management or sales and marketing: Finance execs want to hire you. In a global survey of more than 650 senior finance leaders, most reported that they are focused on filling vacancies directly related to revenue growth. Revenue-neutral positions, such as back office and support, have taken a back seat, though. That strategic focus may help companies better fill long-open positions, as more than half of execs say their company’s performance has been impeded by the struggle to hire skilled workers. (via CFO.com)
3. Hacker group launches attack on financial system
The hacktivist group Anonymous posted a YouTube video announcing the start of a monthlong, coordinated attack on large financial institutions, including PayPal, MasterCard, various stock exchanges, and all central banks. The attacks are intended to protest bailouts, high banking fees, and interest rates, and though the group did not share what tactics it would use, in the past it’s relied heavily on distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The video comes on the heels of a DDoS attack on the Greek central bank, in which huge waves of malicious traffic slowed the bank’s site for several minutes. (via CFO.com and IBTimes.com)
4. Board composition may spark activist shareholders
Could having the right mix of board members avoid investor activism? Maybe not. But certainly having the wrong mix may trigger action, according to a new report by PwC. One in five directors report that they’ve mixed up their boardroom composition in response to actual or potential shareholder activism in the past year. When it comes to composition, activists are most piqued by board members with very long tenure or shallow industry knowledge, the report found. (via Forbes.com)
The stat: one-third
The portion of semiconductor companies that changed CFOs in the past 12 months—twice the rate for the largest 1,000 U.S. companies. Intel announced it’s now looking for a new CFO, as are chipmakers Marvell Technology Group and Qorvo Inc. Analysts point to the complexity of the semiconductor industry as one reason these seats struggled to stay filled. (via WSJ.com [log-in required])
Sound bite of the week
“Your goal should not be to comfort or make people feel better, but to be open and honest. Tell people what it’s like and allow them to make the decisions that work best for them. A lot of leaders want to show a ray of optimism, but all you do is shade the truth.” —James Whitehurst, offering advice to leaders who have to manage through a financial crisis. As COO of Delta Airlines, Whitehurst oversaw a team of 80,000 people when the company filed for bankruptcy. (via Nytimes.com)
4 Top Stories + 1 Key Statistic + 1 Industry Quote = The CFO 411
The CFO 411 is our weekly news roundup that brings you top headlines, data points, and sound bites to keep you in the know. Follow our updates on LinkedIn for more finance must-reads.