Source: Daily News, December 22, 2014
Most executives surveyed are optimistic about 2015, according to the Employer Associations of America’s (EAA) 2015 National Business Trends Survey.
Increases in staffing levels for 2015 are expected for 52% of employers responding to the survey, up from 47% reported in 2014 and 34% in 2013. Newly created jobs account for 8% of the hiring, while another 62% of employers state their hiring is partly due to the addition of new jobs. The positions most difficult to hire remain professional staff and skilled production workers, cited by 44% and 42% of respondents respectively. 43% of employers plan to emphasize recruiting in 2015, up from 31% in 2014.
When asked to compare 2014 business results to 2013, 94% of executives surveyed reported 2014 was about the same or better than 2013, up from the 90% who had projected 2014 would be the same or better at this time last year. And 94% of survey respondents expect the overall 2015 economic outlook to be about the same or better in comparison to 2014.
“Despite strong continued optimism for 2015, employers are keenly aware of short- and long-term competition and talent challenges looming ahead,” said Meredith Wise, chair, EAA board of directors.
Employers are still focused on the following serious short-term challenges to their businesses:
Cost of regulatory compliance: 26%
Skilled labor shortage: 27%
Professional/technical staff shortage: 20%
Ability to pay for benefits: 23%
The percentage of executives expecting these challenges to be serious in the long term increases dramatically in all cases, with the ability to pay benefits reported as the top challenge at 39%, competition moving up to 36%, skilled labor shortage increasing to 34%, and professional/technical shortage moving to 27%.
Employer confidence has improved over one year ago, with 82% of participating organizations reporting pay increases in 2014, according to the report. This is up from the 74% of participating organizations that had planned to award increases a year ago.
Compensation strategies for 2015 include:
78% of respondents reported plans to award wage/salary increases in 2015
40% plan to award variable/bonus awards
13% will give lump-sum awards during the year
Only 6% of organizations surveyed plan to freeze or reduce pay in 2015, down from the 10% that planned this as a cost-cutting measure for 2014.
To overcome challenges in recruitment and retention, 38% of executives surveyed said they plan to continue increasing their 2015 training budgets. 58% reported a key focus is providing existing staff with additional training/development. 50% of respondents are filling jobs with existing staff who lack the job skills, while 46% are focusing on staff retention where recruitment is difficult.
The EAA is a not-for-profit national association consisting of 33 regional employer associations. The organization surveyed 1,417 companies, covering locations in all 50 states, in October and November of 2014.