Bigger Paychecks to Ring in the New Year in Houston, and America Online Survey Finds
- Survey Shows Houston Employers Plan to Hire Quicker, Increase Salaries, Diversify Staffs, Rehire Retirees and Offer More Flexible Schedules -

Houston workers may cash in on a bigger, better deal in the New Year, according to a recent study of Houston employers by and America Online. Titled "Houston Hiring in 2006," the survey reveals Houston companies plan to increase salaries on initial offers, raise compensation levels for existing employees and provide more flexible work arrangements. It also provides insights on the skills Houston companies say will be most critical to their businesses in the coming year and their plans to shorten hiring cycles, diversify their staffs and postpone retirements in response to an increasingly competitive labor market.

  Bigger Paychecks

  * 59 percent of Houston hiring managers plan to increase salaries on
    initial offers; 31 percent will raise offers by 3 percent or higher and
    18 percent will raise offers by 5 percent or higher.

  * 82 percent of Houston hiring managers plan to increase pay for existing
    employees; 59 percent will raise compensation levels by 3 percent or
    more and 29 percent will raise levels by 5 percent or more.

Tip: Know your value. Check out online salary sites, industry Web sites and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the average salary for your position in your city. Present your research along with career accomplishments to showcase your worth.

  Rehiring Retirees

  * 37 percent of Houston hiring managers expressed concern over a shortage
    of skilled workers and intellectual capital lost due to the large
    segment of Baby Boomers approaching retirement.

  * An even greater number -- 51 percent -- plan to recruit retirees from
    other companies or offer incentives for workers at or approaching
    retirement age to extend their employment.

Tip: If you would like to put off your retirement, inform your supervisor and other departments within your organization and network to identify potential full-time and part-time opportunities.

  Diversifying the Workforce

  * Recognizing the importance of workforce diversity, one-in-four Houston
    hiring managers expect diverse candidates to comprise 25 percent or more
    of their new hires.

  * Women and Hispanics ranked highest among the diverse workforce segments
    Houston hiring managers expect to target more aggressively.

Tip: Failing to market yourself as a diverse candidate can work against you. Highlight your diverse background and how your unique perspective and skills contributed to the success of previous employers in your application and during interviews.

  Flexible Work Styles

  * 52 percent of Houston hiring managers say they will be more willing to
    provide flexible work arrangements such as job sharing and alternate

  * 18 percent of Houston hiring managers say they will be more willing to
    allow employees to telecommute given rising energy costs.

Tip: Present your case. List your professional contributions, explain why you need a flexible work arrangement and propose a schedule that shows how you will be able to perform effectively.

  Shorter Hiring Cycles

  * While the vast majority of Houston hiring managers report they are
    filling their open positions within six weeks, 52 percent say they will
    hasten the hiring process.

  * 29 percent of Houston hiring managers will shorten the recruitment
    process by two weeks or more and 10 percent will shorten it by three
    weeks or more.

Tip: Act quickly. Check newspapers classifieds and online job postings on and AOL Find a Job regularly. You can apply to positions in real time, post up to five different versions of your resume and sign up for automatic job alerts.

  Critical Skills

  * The top four skills Houston hiring managers say will be most critical to
    their businesses and most attractive in potential candidates are:
    1) technology proficiency 2) customer service  3) (tie) critical-
    thinking (problem-solving and decision-making) and ability to improve

  * 35 percent of Houston hiring managers report they will be placing a
    greater emphasis on recruiting bilingual employees.

Tip: Employers often use electronic scanning devices that search resumes for keywords. Include these critical skills and other keywords as they apply to your experience to show your relevancy.

Survey Methodology

The survey, "Hiring Trends to Watch in 2006," was conducted from November 27 to December 12, 2005. Methodology used to collect survey responses totaling more than 100 Houston hiring managers for this study involved selecting a random sample of comScore Networks panel members. These Web Panel members were approached via an e-mail invitation, which asked them to participate in a short online survey. The results of this survey are statistically accurate to within +/- 9.8 percentage points (19 times out of 20).

About America Online, Inc.

America Online, Inc. and its subsidiaries operate a leading network of Web brands and the largest Internet access subscription service in the United States. Brands include the AOL(R) service, the website, and the AIM(R), MapQuest(R), Moviefone(R), Netscape(R), CompuServe(R) and ICQ(R) services. America Online offers a range of digital services including the TotalTalk(R) voice service. The company also has operations in Canada and Europe. America Online, Inc. is based in Dulles, Virginia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.

About is the nation's largest online job site with more than 20 million unique visitors and over 1 million jobs. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. , Tribune Company , and Knight Ridder, Inc. , the company offers a vast online and print network to help job seekers connect with employers. powers the career centers for more than 800 partners that reach national, local, industry and niche audiences. These include more than 165 newspapers and leading portals such as America Online and MSN. More than 50,000 of the nation's top employers take advantage of's easy job postings, 15 million-plus resumes, Diversity Channel and more. Millions of job seekers visit the site every month to search for opportunities by industry, location, company and job type, sign up for automatic e-mail job alerts, and get advice on job hunting and career management. For more information about products and services, visit

  Media Contacts:                     America Online
   Jennifer Sullivan                     Kathie Brockman
   773-527-1164                          703-265-3286

SOURCE:; America Online

CONTACT: Jennifer Sullivan of, +1-773-527-1164,; or Kathie Brockman of America Online,