Whenever I'm in a room with other IT professionals it seems the conversation always turns to online privacy and the lengths some employers will go to just to keep tabs on employees. It seems that some employers are turning into real busybodies when it comes to tracking employees' activities. While most workers have no clue that they're being watched, the IT team is likely to know exactly what they're doing.
By the time summer comes, it's always interesting to look at how the predictions for the year are panning out. How accurate were the authors of articles like "The 6 Hottest Tech Jobs" on Geekwire.com? Were they correct when they predicted a serious war for talent with the tech hotbeds of Silicon Valley and Seattle? According to the article, which was published in December 2012, top technology talent would only becoming scarcer this year. In other words, it's a great time to be a talented technologist, designer, developer or engineer.
It used to be that technical careers were reserved for those with engineering degrees or people with degrees from MIT, but not anymore. The products and services provided by information technology are now a part of our everyday lives; whether a network that automates financial transactions or the operating system on your mobile phone. As individuals and businesses rely more heavily on technology, technical careers are expected to grow significantly over the next decade.
Before you can learn about the best jobs of the future you must first learn a few things from a futurologist. What is a futurologist? As the name implies, this person predicts future trends, including the most lucrative careers in the year 2030. Upon learning about the best paying "jobs of the future," parents and grandparents will often make radical changes to their children's educational path.
Every year, around this time, it seems that news reporters descend on college campuses, eager to find out how many graduates have secured a job. They may even interview graduates from last year to see how many have found work in their chosen professions, but these national trends are rarely indicative of what is happening on a local level. For example, Texas is a state that has experienced dramatic job growth over the past few years, even amidst falling employment figures nationwide. One reason for this is the number of technology corporations who have chosen to call Texas home.
If you are professional in the Dallas technology or business community, here is an event that should be added to your calendar. Coming up on April 4, 2013, the 3rd Annual InnoTech Dallas event will bring together more than 1,000 business and technical professionals at the Irving Convention Center for another terrific conference and expo focusing on the latest innovations. As the Dallas-Fort Worth region continues to grow its roles of technical employees, an event like this a fantastic way for professionals to make valuable connections.
Checking out the monthly jobs report - it's become a common monthly routine. On the first Friday morning of every month Americans wait to hear if the all-important "jobs number" has changed. Unfortunately, the national unemployment rate seems to be stuck at 7.8 to 7.9 percent. For a while there, at the end of Bush's second term, our country was "bleeding jobs;" losing 600,000+ jobs every month. Automakers were failing, "bailout" became a household word, and news stations never stopped talking about jobs and money, and the lack thereof.
Frequently Asked Questions Concerning The American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA)
On January 2, 2013, President Obama signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), which includes several changes to tax laws affecting payroll and employment tax administration in 2013.
Following are several of the most frequently asked questions and answers concerning ATRA:
Has the IRS issued new 2013 tax tables?
The IRS issued a revised Notice 1036 on January 3, 2013, which contains the 2013 income tax withholding tables as modified to reflect the American Taxpayer Relief Act.
The updated withholding guidance for 2013 can be found at: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/n1036.pdf.
Did the income tax rates go up or down?
Generally, ATRA restored the income tax rates that were in effect for 2012, with some minor inflation adjustments.
However, the income tax rate for single individuals with annual income over $400,000 and families with annual income over $450,000 is now 39.6%, up from 35% in 2012.
What is the income tax rate for supplemental wages such as bonuses?
Prior to the President’s signature, the statutory rate for optional flat rate withholding on supplemental 2013 wages of $1 million or less was 28%. Upon enactment, it became 25%. For 2013 supplemental wage payments over $1 million in a year, the mandatory withholding rate is increased from 35% to 39.6%.
Has the employee Social Security rate changed for 2013?
The reduced 4.2% rate for employee Social Security taxes that was in effect for 2011 and 2012 has expired. The employee Social Security tax rate will return to 6.2% for 2013 wages up to the taxable wage limit of $113,700. Consequently, employees’ net pay under the taxable wage limit may decrease accordingly. The maximum Social Security tax that an employee would pay will be $7,049.40 for 2013. The Employer Social Security tax rate is unaffected, and remains 6.2% of Social Security taxable wages paid. The maximum that an employer would pay for an employee will be $7,049.40 for 2013.
Has the employee Medicare rate changed?
Yes, for payroll withholding purposes, the employee Medicare tax rate has increased by 0.9% for individual wages over $200,000, regardless of marital status. We have implemented this change and automatically applied it to all 2013 payrolls.
Has the Social Security taxable wage limit changed for 2013?
Yes, the Social Security taxable wage limit has increased to $113,700 from $110,100, for a maximum employee deduction of $7049.40. The maximum employer tax would also be $7049.40.
Have the employer Social Security rate or Medicare tax rates changed for 2013?
No, there is no change to these employer tax rates for 2013.
Do my employees need to do anything?
The IRS urges workers to review their withholding every year and, if necessary, provide a revised W-4 to their employer. For example, individuals and couples often have changes affecting their expected tax situation, such as multiple jobs, having children, changes in marital status, or buying a home.
As the IT job market expands in cities across the country and the technical workers are likely to be "remote" employees, hiring managers are becoming more adept at conducting phone interviews. Once considered the easiest part of the job-seeking process, the phone screening is now something that requires serious preparation. What are IT professionals doing to hone their phone interviewing skills? Some are watching videos from seasoned HR professionals and others seek help from technical recruiters, but there are some basic tips for making that all-important first impression.