Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
Raises make a comeback. You heard right. According to a new survey by Towers Watson, an HR consulting firm, American employers are set to dole out an average 3 percent pay increase this year. USAToday reports that the company surveyed 400 large and midsize employers over the last two months, who are are not only planning wage increases, but have largely decided to lift any salary freezes they instituted during the recession. Though this signals good news for employees, the unemployed will still face an uphill struggle, as more than half of the surveyed companies said they're still hesitant to hire this year.
Blimey! Twitter moving to London? As Twitter's valuation seems to grow by the billion each day, it's no surprise that the California-based company is looking to expand. TechCrunch reports that Twitter is hiring sales reps across the pond, and could very well settle on London for its European headquarters. "London is a natural for a European HQ and Twitter would be in good company, with Google and Microsoft retaining big presences in the city," TechCrunch reports. "In addition, by being in London, not only will it be able to access the sizeable advertising agency sector, but Twitter would also be close to the centres of talent it may well consider hiring from." Considering the company actually lost money in 2010 (though it plans to be profitable in 2011), it will be interesting to see what kinds of new revenue streams or sales partnerships an overseas office can open up.
And in other relocation news... Facebook is making great efforts to prepare the community of Menlo Park, California for the arrival of its new headquarters. The company is hosting a planning meeting for its employees, community residents, and architects to plan how Facebook's new presence in the neighborhood can benefit everyone there. The Wall Street Journal reports that the meeting will address traffic, housing, and retail issues. Menlo Park Mayor Richard Cline admitted that Facebook may face some opposition from residents, who are still on edge about last year's fiercely contested Menlo Gateway project, which proposed more office and hotel development in the area. Despite their hesitations, though, The Journal reports that most Menlo Park residents and politicians are grateful for Facebook's willingness to include them in its massive expansion. As one resident tells the Journal, "It is certainly a feather in Menlo Park's cap to have a prestigious company select it for its headquarters."
The tech blog wars heat up. Mashable, the social media news site founded by Inc. "30 under 30" finalist Pete Cashmore, has long boasted a larger Facebook and Twitter following than TechCrunch, the rival tech blog acquired by AOL in September. According to The New York Observer, however, Mashable may not retain that status much longer if TechCrunch has anything to do with it. Mashable's web traffic took a serious dive in December, as TechCrunch's has steadily increased, according to figures on Compete.com. The Observer writes, "As the buzz and novelty of 'social media' wears off, AOL may find an opportunity to overtake its rival."
Better business through changing behavior.Fast Company has an excerpt from Seth Godin's new book Purple Cow, which is all about transforming your business by "being remarkable." Godin points to the Schindler Elevator Corporation, which pioneered the express elevator trend. Instead of engineering elevators that have to stop at every floor, Schindler built the elevators that stop only at specific floors with central key pads that direct riders to the appropriate elevator. "Is there a significant real-estate developer in the world who is unaware of this breakthrough? Not likely," Godin writes. The lesson, here? "Overhauling the product with dramatic improvements in things that the right customers care about...can have a huge payoff."
"The life and awesomeness of Steve Jobs." Apple's indispensable, irreplaceable CEO turns 56 today. To honor the day, Business Insider has a photo biography "in appreciation of a guy who has accomplished more in one lifetime than most people would in 20. And he ain't done yet."
Toxic chemical injures Apple workers in China. N-hexane, one of the many chemicals used to create the iPhone's touch-glass panels, will no longer be used in the production process. According to The New York Times, Apple's latest annual review of labor conditions revealed that 137 workers from its factory in Suzhou, China, had been poisoned by the chemical. Workers reported extreme weakness and dizziness, and some suffered nerve damage. A number of workers still remain hospitalized, and Apple continues to monitor their conditions. According to Apple, the incident is a "core violation" of worker safety. A spokeswoman tells The Times, "We require our suppliers to provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect and use environmentally friendly manufacturing processes whenever our products are made." Check out this video for more on the toxic chemicals used in today's tech gadgets.