Two decades of research has provided employers with unrivaled insights about the U.S. workforce and what it takes to attract, engage, and retain top performers. 2019's study reveals a variety of issues that point to a shift in power in favor of employees, which has big implications for employers. The job market is improving, giving workers more confidence in their ability to find meaningful work and make decisions that promote their career growth.
As employers grapple with ongoing recruitment and retention challenges, this study arms them with insights to help them address concerns that impact the vitality of their workforce.
What’s topping the list of concerns for HR leaders in 2019? Turnover and retention are high on their radars with 71% stating they are more concerned about the talent shortage today than they were a year ago. Finding qualified workers with the right skills to support their organization and narrow the skills gap is another. Finally, increasing employee engagement remains a high priority with direct ties to the bottom line.
Keeping valuable employees will require a lot more effort than employers have been putting forth. Workers overall are dissatisfied with employers’ efforts to retain them. Only 19% of employees feel their companies have put in more effort to retain them this year.
Diversity & inclusion
The majority of employers agree that building a diverse and inclusive workforce is vital to their business success, yet only a small percentage are putting forth the effort they say it deserves. As the workplace becomes exceedingly more global, companies that want to grow their customer base and remain competitive must begin by building a diverse workforce that can support it.
As Boomers exit the workforce and Millennials take their place, the skills gap is widening, presenting real challenges to employers. Although it’s a big concern for most companies, little progress has been made to close the gap. Moreover, the skills they lack most are the same ones named as essential to future workforce success. Employers that want to move forward successfully must give priority to succession planning, employee training, and skills development.
As the economy improves, wages are becoming a bigger issue for employees. Wage stagnation and an increase in minimum wage are two of the top three operations issues cited by employers. The pressure to address compensation is rising as workers feel a sense of entitlement and competitors are stepping up their pay offerings to attract and retain top talent.
Employers are offering fewer work/life balance options than they were one year ago. This remains an area of real disconnect between workers and their employers. While some companies still have them, they are not formally promoting them, making it tougher for employees to take advantage of the opportunities that exist.
Our latest study reveals that a majority of employees (62%) say flexibility at work and other work/life balance programs and perks have decreased in the last year. With retention issues on the rise, employers will need to readdress their work/life benefits in order to boost job satisfaction.
Employers are encountering real challenges in their recruiting efforts due to a widening skills gap and an increased demand for specialized professionals. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals are among the most difficult talent group to recruit from.
Recruiting these candidates will require a much more targeted hiring strategy with a keen eye on market trends. In addition, employers will need to put more time and attention toward keeping their current workforce trained and up-to-date in order to meet future skill requirements.
Technology & social networking
Technology plays a leading role in an employer’s workforce strategy and their ability to attract, retain, and engage the largest generations of talent in the workplace today. In order to effectively meet the expectations of Gen Z and Millennials, employers must integrate social and digital tools into the way they work, recruit, and manage these workers.
It’s not only their preferred way to work, it’s an effective means for connecting and engaging with these younger, tech-savvy talent groups. Moreover, technology and social media provide an ideal platform for promoting your online reputation, culture, mission, and values—which carries just as much weight in their employment decisions as the job offer itself.
The remote workplace
Perceptions about flexible work arrangements and its ability to drive productivity may be changing. According to our latest study, some employees are finding the virtual office to be more challenging than expected.
While there are many benefits to remote work arrangements, there are some mobility barriers that need to be carefully considered, including the efficiency of work technologies, communication with colleagues, social interaction, and the ability to stay focused amid distractions.
With the most seasoned, highly skilled portion of the workforce retiring, employers must give priority to recruitment, training, and talent planning efforts in order to fill the skill gap it will leave in their organization. One of the biggest challenges employers are facing is their ability to prepare today’s youngest and most inexperienced workers for leadership roles.
For this reason, training and development is critical to equipping workers to step into these positions. Employers that want to prepare for the future of the workforce and bridge this skill gap must begin the succession planning process now.