Workplace issues

A monthly review of the latest business data by Sara Costello

Global economic outlook

Growth in the world economy should hit 3 per cent in 2002 and 4 per cent in
2003 according to a presentation by researchers at the Institute for
International Economics in Washington DC. This is slightly more conservative
than original estimates for the same period. The slower forecast reflect
several factors:

– Recent relatively weak performance in most industrial countries and the
likely absence of significant policy actions to offset further sluggishness in
Europe and Japan

– The sell-off in global equity markets and the risk of further price

– The economic side-effects of possible military action against Iraq

– Potential financial turmoil in key emerging-market economies

The foundation for economic progress, however, remains solid and the central
forecast predicts that the global economy will recover at a moderate pace, with
little risk of inflation, at least through the end of next year. This outlook
reflects the steady performance of developing countries, where growth this year
should reach 4 per cent. Strong performance by Asian emerging-market countries,
led by China, is sustaining reasonable progress for developing countries as a
whole. In contrast, GDP in Latin America is now expected to contract by 2 per

Source: This assessment of global economic prospects and policy
possibilities was presented at a meeting on 18 September 2002, at the Institute
for International Economics

Web users at work consume more online

Recent data indicates that internet users at work shop more frequently,
spend more money, and make the greatest number of purchases online. A survey
conducted by Avenue A, an interactive agency, collected self-reported
information from a group of survey participants and combined that data with
website behavioural data collected from its clients. The findings include:

– An average 4.4 hours each day spent on the internet

– Of this, 1.9 hours per day are at work

– Users at work consume 22 per cent more internet media than home-only users

– Behavioural data indicates that internet users in the workplace are 64 per
cent more likely to make an online purchase and 54 per cent more likely to shop
online than home-only users

Source: 2002 Avenue A Survey: At Work Internet

Diversity initiatives in the workplace

According to a survey on diversity recently released by the Society for
Human Resource Management (SHRM) – in co-operation with Fortune – on average,
two-fifths of participating HR professionals are unclear what impact the current
economy will have on their organisation’s diversity initiatives. Of those
initiatives, the highest priority was ethnicity, followed by disability. The
priorities were ranked on a scale of one to eight, with one indicating the
highest importance, and eight, the lowest. The mean value ratings were as

Ranking of diversity issues

Initiative                      Mean Value

Ethnicity                       3.14

Disability                      3.80

Race                            4.00

Age                              4.43

Religion                        4.75

Gender                         5.50

Sexual Orientation        6.39

Language Skills             6.41

Source: 2002 SHRM/Fortune Survey on the Changing Face of Diversity


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