Career Watch

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Even Convicts Get Time Off for Good Behavior

U.S. workers just can't seem to get the hang of that vacation thing. Not only are they at the bottom of the pack among developed countries in number of vacation days they are granted each year (14, compared with 39 in France), but, on average, they will work on four of those days in 2006, according to Expedia Inc.'s sixth annual "Vacation Deprivation" survey. The survey found that 33% of Americans do not always take all of their vacation days, even though 36% said they feel better about their jobs and more productive upon returning from vacation.

  • 574M: Number of earned vacation days Americans will fail to use in 2006

Source: Estimate by Expedia, based on its survey (conducted by Harris Interactive Inc.) of nearly 1,500 U.S. workers age 18 or older

CS Enrollment: Out of Sync

What's behind the declining interest among U.S. college students in computer science? The Washington-based Computing Research Associatio (CRA) recently reported that the number of bachelor's degrees in computer science at Ph.D.-granting universities fell 17% from the 2003-04 academic year to 11,808 in 2004-05. Those schools represent about 30% of the total undergraduate population in the U.S. The same trend may also be affecting academic programs that combine business and IT skills training.

"It's almost like somebody flipped a switch on the undergrads," said David Meinert, a professor who heads a master's program in computer information systems at Missouri State University in Springfield.

Blame for the decline is attributed to several factors: the collapse of the dot-com bubble, fears about offshore outsourcing and slack overall IT job growth.

Jay Vegso, who prepared the CRA's report on enrollment and graduate trends, said enrollments are showing a "delayed reaction to the 2001-2002 slowdowns in the tech sector." Because of this lag, computer science enrollments are usually out of sync with technology sector needs, he said. -- Patrick Thibodeau

Meanwhile, on the Job . . .
There's new evidence that IT workers are happy campers.

IT Workers

All Workers

Somewhat or very satisfied with their pay and benefits78%72%
Expect to make more money this year than last year57%41%
Received a raise within the past six months46%33%
Raise was based on performance47%35%
Source: Hudson 2006 Compensation and Benefits Report, a June survey of 10,000 workers in all sectors, 440 of whom work in IT

Thibodeau's full report: "As Outsourcing Gathers Steam, Computer Science Interest Wanes."

Compiled by Jamie Eckle.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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