CTHRA Benefits Survey
Companies are likely to dub 2011 as the
most challenging benefits planning cycle to date as increasing
costs, looming healthcare reform, higher taxes, and increasing
federal regulation add to the complexity of the situation.
Consequently, there is a widespread need among employers
for industry-specific benchmarks.
Current data about benefit levels,
costs and contributions typically are general in nature
and are not released until August or later. As a result,
CTHRAs Benefits Survey will provide industry-specific
benchmarks earlier in the planning cycle to assist companies
in their assessments and strategic decision making,
explained Pamela Williams, CAE, CTHRAs executive director.
To ensure the survey meets employers
needs, CTHRA established a benefits survey advisory committee
of six content providers and multiple system operators (MSOs).
Led by Ted Stewart, SVP of Total Rewards/Human Resources
for Discovery Communications, the committee defined the
surveys scope to include total and net medical cost
per employee and covered employee, costs as a percentage
of salary, contribution levels, Relative Benefit Values
(RBV), plan features such as co-pay levels, deductibles,
and co-insurance for each major medical offering. While
much of CTHRAs survey will focus on medical plans,
data will also be collected for life insurance, disability
insurance, dental insurance, and retirement plans.
Committee input also resulted in an affordable
price point, a structure that allows participants to complete
the survey in generally less than two hours, and results
that will be broken down into two categories: content providers
and MSOs. Data collection will begin this month and survey
results will be released to participants in April 2011.
CTHRAs Benefits Survey will
be conducted by Willis, one of the world's largest insurance
brokerage firms. Companies interested in participating should
Trends Impact 2010 Pay Practices
While the recession has impacted pay practices
across all industries, two unique factors have played a
significant role within the cable and telecommunications
industry: the ongoing rapid change in technology and the
proliferation of online television. According to findings
in CTHRAs 2010 Annual Compensation Surveys these two
environmental forces have led to the birth of new, highly
sophisticated technical positions and fueled competition
to secure the talent needed to fill them. In addition, CTHRAs
compensation analysis determined that base pay remained
stable, fewer employers froze salaries, and incentives increased
dramatically over last year.
CTHRAs survey data was separated
into two participant categories: multiple system operators
(MSOs) and programmers (cable and broadcast networks).
Proliferation of Technology Positions
In December of each year, CTHRAs survey participants
convene to discuss the positions the following years
survey will include. Some positions are phased out as they
become obsolete, while others are added as business operations
and technology evolve. The scope of CTHRAs 2010 Compensation
Surveys reflected MSOs focus on Internet, cellular
and ground telephony service and original content development,
and programmers efforts in online content delivery.
Base Pay Stabilized
CTHRAs analysis determined that 2010 salary adjustment
budgets dropped slightly from 2009 for MSOs and remained
unchanged for content providers (see Diagram 1). None of
the MSOs froze salary adjustment budgets in 2010, compared
to 18 percent in 2009, and only 7 percent of programmers
froze budgets in 2010, down from 24 percent in 2009.
Incentives Increased Dramatically
Incentives are a common component of compensation practices
within the industry. Among CTHRAs survey respondents,
69 percent of the MSOs and 80 percent of the programmers
offer long-term incentives (LTI) such as stock options,
shares and long-term cash that are linked to a companys
financial performance. Ninety-four (94) percent of the MSOs
and 93 percent of the content providers offer short-term
incentives (STI) such as bonus rewards. Unlike base pay
which was stable, survey respondents who offer LTI and STI
reported significant increases over last year (see Diagrams
2 and 3).
Survey Participation and Methodology
CTHRAs 2010 Compensation Surveys were conducted
by The Croner Company, a leading compensation consulting
firm specializing in compensation plan design, compensation
surveys and organizational design. Comprehensive data was
submitted by 66
employers in March 2010, thus reflecting 2010 budgets
and base compensation data. The participating companies
reported data for 138,000 jobs, including both exempt and
nonexempt positions ranging from technicians to top executives.
If youre interested in participating
in CTHRAs 2011 Compensation Survey,
please contact The Croner Company at 415.485.5530.
To Jump-Start a Stalled Career
Does it seem as though
your once-promising career has come to a grinding halt?
If so, youre not alone. Many talented people reach
periods when they seem stuck, like a car in a roadside ditch,
while plum promotions and career-advancing assignments pass
them by. The good news is that there are plenty of ways
to get out of a rut and back on the road to success.
If work advancements arent coming your way as they
used to do, its unlikely you unwittingly committed
some professional faux pas that has sabotaged your career.
More likely, the reason is that youve simply stopped
seeingand reaching foropportunities that are
around you. In the words of Rosalind Carter, senior
vice president of human resources for A&E Television
Networks (AETN), People often become comfortable and
confident, even complacent. It is important to evaluate
and refresh how you present yourself. Try to be that
individual who is constantly in touch with business challenges while
exploring and offering solutions and using new technology,
processes and approaches. Dont rest on your
prior successes. Make sure you have done something
of note recently, rather than simply getting the job done.
Once youve realized that your lack
of movement stems not from anything youve done, but
potentially what you havent done, Carter advises
its time for the next step: Tap internal resources
to learn more about career paths and ask for a perspective
on what may be needed in order to be seen as a competitive
candidate for the position. Look at criteria listed for
jobs posted both internally and externally and determine
how your experience compares.
Get the Show on the Road
Putting yourself on the fast track for a promotion may simply
be a matter of showcasing your skills and abilities in a
new light. Lisa Kaye, president and CEO of greenlightjobs,
cites some examples, Take the initiative on projects,
volunteer for new work groups, spearhead new corporate initiatives,
find a way to innovate and make the company money, align
yourself with high-achievers in the organization. Above
all, dont be afraid to stand out.
To really kick your career into high gear,
look for a chance to relocate or take a temporary assignment,
perhaps overseas, in the field, or with a vendor. As was
noted in a recent CTHRA article, many companies are expanding
here to read that article), thus increasing opportunities
to gain experience outside of the country. While it may
be inconvenient or may not result in an increase in earnings
in the short term, the payoff can be significant. William
J.T. Strahan, senior vice president of human resources
for Comcast Cable, shares this insight, In the long
term, you will be the person who is different, who has the
unique experience, who answered dutys call when the
company needed you. During tough times like these, there
are always business units that need fixing. Be the first
to volunteer and know that youre building good career
Examine and Conquer
Sometimes, advancing a lagging career is not as simple as
throwing off complacency and leaping into the spotlight.
It may take what AETNs Carter calls a full self-evaluation.
She encourages career climbers to ask themselves these questions:
Do I have the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities
for the next step? Do I have or am I developing the
necessary support system?
A network will not only alert you to new
opportunities, but also help you evaluate the appropriateness of
your experience and provide recommendations. If you find
that you lack some of the skills or knowledge necessary
for the next rung on your career ladder, do everything you
can, formally and informally, to acquire them. That may
entail earning a formal degree or professional certification.
Lisa Kaye of greenlightjobs cites a colleague who started
out as an administrative assistant in the entertainment
industry during a robust job market. Kaye recounts, Instead
of working her way up the ladder like many of
her peers, she quit her job and went back to school, earned
her Masters degree and re-entered the job market a few years
later at a much higher level than she had left. Ten
years later, she is a senior vice president of corporate
communications at a major media company.
A return to campus isnt necessary
for everyone. Simply taking advantage of internal training
or developmental assignments may be all you need to give
your skills set a boost. Volunteering to work on a project
or filling in during staffing shortages or peak work periods
is also an excellent way to acquire new skills.
Beyond providing qualifications needed
for your next job, seizing learning opportunities wherever
you find them will give you another feather in your career
cap. Mike Butler, senior vice president (SVP) of
compensation and benefits at Cablevision, shares this insight,
Aside from the specific knowledge you gain or skills
you acquire or hone, demonstrating curiosity, initiative
and eagerness to improve will land you a prime spot on managements
Step Back to Leap Forward
What if your honest self-evaluation revealed the fact that
youre not really crazy about the work you do? Maybe
you come in every morning and do everything thats
asked of you to the best of your ability, but your heart
just isnt in it. In that case, your best move may
be a career change. According to Comcasts Strahan,
If you are sincerely emotionally invested in your
work, that fact will come through in the quality of your
contribution to the organization. Engaged people simply
perform better. The concept of loving your work is coupled
with the decision to choose a business that genuinely appeals
to you. If you are not in love with media/telecom, but feel
you cant possibly start over elsewhere, look for another
type of work within this industry that you would enjoy more.
That may entail taking a short step back at first, but ultimately
the combination of engagement and diversified experience
will pay off personally, professionally and financially.
It is typically easier to make a transition
to another area in your current organization when you have
demonstrated success, are respected and have the support
of your management. It has to be clear that you have a commitment
to the company, but are in need of new direction personally.
The bottom line is that there are an abundance
of effective tactics to put your stalled career on the road
again. As Albert Einstein said, Life is like riding
a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
Board Election Results
The votes are in, and we have two
new faces on our board of directors: Margaret
Lazo, EVP of HR for NBC Universal Television Entertainment,
Richardson, SVP of HR for ESPN! In addition, three
incumbent board members had their terms extended: Mike
Butler, SVP of Compensation & Benefits for Cablevision
System, Tenia Davis, Vice President Human Resources
for Harpo Inc., and Lisa Kaye, President & CEO
for greenlightjobs. We congratulate all five and look forward
to their visionary leadership in 2011.
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