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HR News You Can Use - Work Life Balance and Tech Jobs

Amazon.jpgIn this week's HR News You Can Use we will cover two interesting topics:

First, we will look at the new four day work week program being introducedby Amazon. While the problems has some merits and has drawn a lot of praise there are also some unintended consequences

Second, we will look at the technology job market in metro Atlanta. The news is very promising.

Amazon Experimenting With Four Day Work Week

According to John Abell, Managing Editor - News at LinkedIn

Amazon is experimenting with a four-day workweek for entire teams. These are salaried employees who receive the same benefits as 40-hour workers, but earn 25% less. For people who need or prefer non-traditional hours and still want to work for one of the world's Top Attactors, a 30-hour week with lots of flex time is a dream — and includes the option to transition to full-time.

This may seem like a progressive and welcome change to an Amazon culture that has been notoriously known as being a competitive, driven, long hours environment. There will most likely be some very positive work life balance changes that will occur because of the change. Interestingly, there will also be some unintended outcomes that could emerge from this policy.

Leslie Jane Seymour wrote an interesting analysis of this announcement in LinkedIn Publisher. In her blog she openly worried about the fact that there is a high likelihood that the vast majority of the employees that will take the reduced work week offer at Amazon will be women.

Why will that be an issue? Seymour makes the following important observations.

  • Unless the 30-hour work week is mandatory for everyone in the department, will this become like parental leave, something only women opt for.
  • Will this simply become the new mommy track—or “slacker track”for people seen as “less than” capable?
  • Will short-time workers, as we might call them, really be considered for the same senior decision-making promotions as the guy/girl working 80 hours? (I don’t see how it can.)
  • If women gravitate to these reduced hours for reduced pay, how will that impact their financial stability in the future?
  • Will the rest of the teams feel resentful about those who work less? Or will they want to follow suit? (I did hear some griping from single editors who felt Redbook moms were treated differently—but interestingly enough, I can’t recall any who asked for changes in their own hours.)
  • Reducing employee hours is a step toward bringing more reason and diversity to an out-of-whack workforce like Amazon’s. But what women really need is not reduced hours for reduced pay, but more help from their partners at home. According to the most recent American Time Use Survey--2015 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the average time per day women spent doing housework declined from 58 minutes in 2003 to 52 minutes in 2015.” Who-hoo! Look at me: I’m dancing a jig!

While Amazon should be applauded for trying some new programs to help address work-life challenges in the workplace caution will definitely be needed to avoid the issues that Leslie Jane Seymour astutely points out.

The State of Georgia Tech Industry Is Showing Very Positive Trends

TAG (Technology Association of Georgia) released their 2016 State of The Industry Report and the results were very promising. Some highlights from the report:

  • Employment in Georgia’s technology sector surged in 2015 with the addition of more than 12,000 jobs.


  • Nearly a third of Georgia’s technology jobs are in software and related IT services, underscoring why the Technology Decision Makers rated software application developers as their most critical position and ranking developers as the technology position most frequently hired.


  • Atlanta is second among cities most attractive to millennial workers, according to Money magazine, which noted that millennials are more than a quarter of the population.  For the area to continue its millennial appeal, TAG Technology Decision Makers said Atlanta must reduce traffic congestion, invest in public rail and promote examples of innovative businesses.