Chin Up in the Downswing: Sallie Mae to Create 2,000 U.S. Jobs, Hiring Departments See Opportunity in Recession; Insurance CEO Spreads the Wealth to Employees
by Anne Szustek
Among today’s uplifting business and financial headlines: Sallie Mae plans to establish 2,000 new jobs across America; hiring departments are looking to hire talented applicants in advance of demand and a New Jersey insurance CEO pays each of his 400-plus employees $1,000.
Sallie Mae, the largest college student loan company in the United States, announced that it is creating 2,000 American positions over the next year and a half. The private company, known legally as SLM Corp, will expand its call centers, information technology and operations support nationwide. According to Reuters, the provider of federally guaranteed student loans will pull offshore jobs from centers in the Philippines, India and Mexico for a cost of some $35 million a year. “We have reversed our decision to move people offshore,” Lord said at a press conference at Sallie Mae’s offices in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., which plans to offer some 600 new jobs.
The current availability of skilled job applicants has led some companies to take advantage of their sector’s cream-of-the-crop staffing opportunities. Steve Bonner, CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, received an overwhelming response to a call for job applicants for a new hospital near Phoenix, Ariz. Now he’s considering hiring people ahead of projected need, thought to be in 2011. He told The Wall Street Journal, “I’m asking myself: where are my weak spots, and is this an opportunity to plug one?” DeLynn Senna, an executive at professional staffing firm Robert Half International, Inc. pointed out that companies that take on high-quality talent now will be poised to become stronger competitors once the economy recovers.
In what he dubbed a “mini economic stimulus package,” Bollinger Insurance Solutions CEO Jack Windolf paid each of his 434 employees $1,000 out of the $500,000 deferred compensation that he received when he sold a 51 percent stake of the company last year. Rather than following in the high-profile footsteps of bonus recipients at the likes of AIG, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers, he chose to share the wealth with the employees who helped the Short Hills, N.J., company see success.