More than half of the 3,000 U.S. employers and managers in the Hays U.S. 2018 Salary Guide said they’re hiring in 2018, but three-quarters said their industries face severe skills shortages. So severe is the shortage that 92% of employers say the problem is negatively affecting productivity, employee satisfaction and turnover. The industries reporting the greatest shortages are construction and life sciences.
Hays says with the skills shortage and high demand for talent, employers must be proactive about hiring and retention. According to the guide, the most common recruiting methods are promoting company culture (48%) and offering competitive salaries (43%). Respondents cited competitors who can pay more as their biggest threat; the greatest cause of employee turnover is money, according to the survey.
Two-thirds of respondents saw business activity increase in 2017 and three-quarters believe activity will increase in 2018. Respondents said a lack of training and development and fewer workers entering their industry were the main causes of the shortage. Hiring is also on the upswing for gig workers, with three-quarters of employers using contingent workers last year and 43% of that number hiring more.
Employers will need to use all the tools at their disposal to clear the skills gap. Promoting their culture, or brand, can be an effective way to showcase the advantages of working at their organization. Employers with both traditional and innovative voluntary benefits, flexible work schedules, development opportunities and paid leave, a highly valued benefit for parents, caregivers and workers of child-bearing age, will be a step ahead of their competitors.
Employers didn’t plan to offer significant wage increases for 2018, as studies by both Willis Towers Watson and Aon showed. In fact, wages have been relatively flat for several fiscal-year quarters. But employers might not have a choice but to offer more competitive salaries if they want to compete in a tight labor market. Highly specialized tech jobs, like cybersecurity analysts and data scientists, can command high-end salaries. A Forrester report says employers might have to pay 20% above market salary rates to attract these specialists.
Of course, there’s also the separate issue of training and skill development, for which employers bear an increasing amount of responsibility. More than ever, employers will have to embrace real-time, practical learningexperiences alongside the traditional classroom model in order to prepare workers for a changing job market.