Marriage is back… Granny-socks, online… US starved of IT staff… Word-of-mouth tops trust test


Marriage is back in vogue

The marriage rate, after years of decline, is trending up, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday.

There were 114,222 marriages in 2006, the highest number since 1999, which is 4.5% up on 2005. The divorce rate is declining too. After peaking in 2001, the divorce rate hit its lowest level since 1990, at 2.5 divorces per 1000.

The marriage rate is probably up because there are more people at a marrying age: in their early 30s. The average age of the newly married is rising. In 1986, men got married at an average age of 25.6 and women at 23.5 years. Now, men are 29.6 on average and women 27.6.

Most people are now choosing a civil ceremony rather than a church wedding – 61.4% in 2006 compared to 40.5% in 1986.


Knit me some socks, granny!

When it comes to socks, nothing beats the woolly old pair lovingly knitted for you by your granny. Now, Springwise reports, you can have an endless number of granny-made pairs without having to work your own nanna to the bone, thanks to Swiss site NetGranny.

NetGranny is a collective of 15 grannies who knit socks on demand and sell them online. Best of all, you can choose which granny you want from a gallery, which includes information on why they knit (“not for money, just to pass the time”) or their professional credentials (“at age 6, I taught my 4-year-old sister to knit”).

You can pick the colour of the socks or opt for a surprise design selected by your favoured granny. After placing an order, it takes around two weeks for the socks to be made and delivered, which are sold for the very granny-friendly price of $US33 a pair.


US will need more IT staff than there are people in Australia

The US is facing a 20 million-person shortfall in skilled IT staff over the next 12 years, according to a report by ICT consultancy Ovum reported by iTWire.

Ovum estimates that while 25 million baby boomer aged technology workers will leave the workforce over the next 12 years, only five million new IT workers will enter the workforce – due to a smaller crop of college graduates and a dramatic decline in students planning to enter IT-related fields.

Tom Kucharvy, senior vice president of Ovum Summit and author of a new Ovum report, told iTWire: “Two big challenges are certain: the impending mass retirement of baby boomers will deplete staff and starve many companies of critical skills. Meanwhile a shortage of replacements will compound both the problem and the urgency facing corporations.”

Despite these inevitabilities, Kucharvy says “few companies have even begun to address the critical need to manage a smooth transition to a new generation of employees”. According to Kucharvy, corporations, in partnership with government organisations and educational institutions, must take quick action to pre-empt even greater challenges in the future.


It’s official: nothing beats word-of-mouth

Despite the exploding variety of old-media, mobile and online advertising platforms, consumers around the world still place the highest level of trust in other people’s opinions, according to a global Nielsen survey of 26,486 internet users in 47 markets reported by Marketing Charts.

Word-of-mouth is the most trusted form of advertising in all countries, but the level of trust consumers have in others’ opinion varies from country to country. It is most quickly relied upon in the Asia Pacific, which makes up six of the top 10 markets that rely most on recommendations from consumers, especially Hong Kong (93%), Taiwan (91%) and Indonesia (89%).

At the other end of the global spectrum, Europeans, generally, are least likely to trust what they hear from other consumers, particularly in Denmark (62%) and Italy (64%).

Interestingly however, opinions published online are significantly less trusted, with 61% saying they would trust them, behind 62% who trust newspaper advertising. The trust vested in consumer opinions posted online also varies throughout the world, scoring highest in North America and Asia, at 66% and 62% respectively.

Search engine and banner advertising, along with text ads on mobile phones, each scored at the bottom of the list with less than 35% of total respondents saying they trust them.

Filipinos and Brazilians (67%) are the most trusting overall of all forms of advertising, while Danes (28%), Italians (32%), Lithuanians (34%) and Germans (35%) trust advertising least.





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