Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Majority of US private companies have identified workforce skill gaps; more than three-quarters plan to hire over next two years

With their renewed optimism about the economy and intention to focus on strategic growth over the next 12 months, US private-company CEOs are making talent management a top priority. The majority (51%) of Trendsetter chief executives say that they need to fill certain skill gaps to meet their business objectives over the next one to two years, while 49% believe they have the right skills in place.

Notably, more international marketers reported that they have skill gaps than their domestic-only peers -- 57% and 46%, respectively. Among private companies overall, the largest skill gaps identified were in middle management (53%) and skilled labor (48%). Those companies with skill gaps will focus on several areas over the next one to two years, including marketing and sales (65%), information technology (36%) and engineering/design (35%).

Private-company leaders who say their businesses have skill gaps expect to grow at a rate of 11.4% over the next 12 months (compared with a rate of 8.5% among companies claiming to have no skill gaps). They're also planning major new investments (40%, compared with 29% of companies without skill gaps) and plan to hire new employees over the next year (69% with gaps vs. 45% without).

Hire or Train Existing Talent to Fill Skill Gaps

While 79% of all companies surveyed plan to hire new talent, more than three-quarters (80%) intend to develop existing talent. Hiring talent is more of a focus for companies with skill gaps (91%), with 52% of those companies considering it a major initiative. Slightly fewer (89%) of companies with skill gaps plan to develop existing talent; only 42% of them say it’s a major initiative.

Challenging Workforce Issues

As private companies reposition themselves for growth, they are facing several distinct workforce challenges. Over two-thirds (69%) of Trendsetter private-company executives overall rank maintaining competitive compensation and benefits within acceptable costs as the top challenge among those they were asked about. Of those Trendsetter companies confronting skill gaps, they rank sourcing and securing needed talent as their most challenging workforce issue (82%), followed by maintaining competitive compensation and benefits within acceptable costs (73%) and hiring/retaining skilled professionals (73%).

Attracting and retaining talent is clearly a concern for the vast majority of Trendsetter executives. To address that concern, three-fourths of all private companies surveyed are investing (or planning to invest) in two key areas over the next two years: in-depth training programs (77%) and healthcare/benefits programs (75%). Firms with skill gaps are also investing (or planning to invest) in special incentive programs (74%), formal mentoring/coaching programs (73%) and formal career-path development (70%). 

More information can be found at www.CRMindustry.com.

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