Hiring Survey: Lack of Workers May Mean Companies Need Succession Planning for All Levels

With a booming economy and tight labor market, it’s no wonder companies are in hiring mode. According to a new survey from global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., 64 percent of companies say they are hiring right now. The issue will be whether companies can find talent with the appropriate skills for the jobs available, according to one workplace authority.

“The one downside of a booming economy is that the churn that comes with layoffs doesn’t occur, leaving employers with few options to fill available positions. If more workers fail to enter the job market, it could lead to companies halting expansion plans or shutting down completely,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

This means companies need to plan for employees retiring or quitting at all levels of the organization.

“While succession planning was once reserved for the C-Suite, in a time of almost full employment, companies need workers in the pipeline or risk growth,” said Challenger.

“In order to attract workers, it helps to have a strong, public brand as well as offer desirable benefits. This is especially true for companies that are looking to attract talent to rural areas,” added Challenger.

Another way companies can manage the next generation of workers is to partner with local universities or create training programs to ensure they can replace retirees or those workers who find other positions.

“The well-known narrative is that workers are staying in their positions too long and not making way for the next generation. That is not the case in all places or all industries. Many skilled workers are of retirement age, but companies need them to stay because they can’t find the talent to fill their shoes,” said Challenger.

Nearly a quarter of companies are focused on retention, according to the Challenger survey. Another 6.7 percent are actively downsizing.

The survey was conducted in June among 150 human resources executives at companies of varying sizes in all industries nationwide.

“Companies are holding tight to their skilled workforces. The market is so good, some job seekers are ‘ghosting’ potential hiring authorities. Job seekers have their pick of jobs right now,” said Challenger.

“Companies are pulling out all the stops to ensure workers will stay,” he added.

According to the Challenger survey, the most oft-cited benefits companies offer to retain talent are 401(k) contributions (91 percent), competitive salary (88 percent), health benefits (83 percent), and professional development opportunities (76 percent). Another 71 percent offer tuition reimbursement.

To appeal to parents, 62 percent of companies offer maternity leave and 29 percent offer paternity leave. Nearly 5 percent offer on-site childcare.