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MOST COMPANIES NEED COMPUTER-LITERATE EMPLOYEES, BUT TRAINING AND TESTING FOR COMPUTER SKILLS LAG

 WESTBURY, N.Y., Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Three out of four executives agree that employees' computer literacy skills have a major impact on their companies' overall operations, but most do not offer continuous training opportunities or even testing to verify that employees have these skills. In addition, only a third (34 percent) conduct hands-on exercises during pre-screening to determine the computer skills of job candidates. Most companies (66 percent) still rely on candidates' statements on applications or during interviews.
 The nationwide survey of 1,481 management information systems executives, conducted by the Olsten Corporation (AMEX: OLS), finds that computer literacy requirements for all job levels in today's organizations -- from data entry to top management -- have skyrocketed over the past three years. Currently, on the average, 71 percent of companies now require computer literacy among their managers and supervisors, up from 36 percent just three years ago. This figure also jumped dramatically for professionals, from 42 to 75 percent. More companies also require computer literacy for secretaries (from 74 to 91 percent) and clerical/support (from 66 to 90 percent).
 Employee productivity, rated critical by almost nine out of 10 (86 percent) of the executives surveyed, ranked first among a list of priorities impacted by computer systems. However, to facilitate employee training designed to enhance computer productivity, most companies (62 percent) simply depend on manuals that come with the system, although only 13 percent consider this material to be "highly effective." Slightly more than half (52 percent) of the companies do offer training workshops, but less than a third (29 percent) have on- site facilities such as a computer lab to help employees develop their skills.
 New, easier-to-use software that uses graphical screens show promise for eventually reducing training time on computers. However, at this time, only 28 percent of the respondents feel that these systems alleviate training demands. More helpful, say 73 percent of the executives, is providing employees with more direct access to computers and instructional materials.
 "Computer systems and software are changing at a rapid pace," says Robert Lyons, vice president, special services for the Olsten Corporation. "Constantly training employees in handling ever-changing systems -- or screening applicants for skills -- is an overwhelming job for most companies. Because many of our clients need assignment employees that are thoroughly evaluated and trained in the latest technologies, we developed our Precise(R) system to help execute real- world evaluations and training on the leading software available for both DOS-based and Macintosh systems. This has translated into significant cost savings for our clients. In fact, in many cases we are also training our clients' permanent employees."
 The Olsten Corporation, under its trade names Olsten Staffing Services, Olsten HealthCare, and Olsten Professional Accounting Services, has a network of approximately 700 offices throughout North America, which employ 390,000 assignment employees and caregivers serving more than 185,000 client accounts. Founded in 1950, the company is headquartered in Westbury, N.Y. Olsten serves the computer staffing needs of clients with its Precise(R) system, a hands-on, PC-based system for evaluation, training, and on-the-job support for office automation and spreadsheets. The Precise system evaluations are the only evaluations of its kind validated by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the world's leading testing and research measurement company.
 CHANGES IN COMPUTER LITERACY REQUIREMENTS FOR EMPLOYEES
 THREE YEAR AGO NOW
 Supervisory 36 percent 72 percent
 Middle Management 41 percent 78 percent
 Senior Management 31 percent 64 percent
 Professionals 42 percent 75 percent
 Secretaries 74 percent 91 percent
 Support 66 percent 90 percent
 -0- 2/18/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: A copy of the 12-page report, "Managing Today's Automated Workplace," is available from Loretta Schorr, The Olsten Corporation, One Merrick Avenue, T-62, Westbury, N.Y. 11590, 800-225-8367.
 /CONTACT: Loretta Schorr of Olsten Corporation, 800-225-8367, or 516-237-1665/


CO: Olsten Corporation ST: IN: CPR SU: ECO

PS-OS -- NY024 -- 7800 02/18/93 10:51 EST
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Date:Feb 18, 1993
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