Attracting talent a concern for employers: Survey

Recessionary cost-cutting measures had a negative impact on employees' workload and work-life balance

A majority of companies in Canada and around the world are having difficulty attracting the critical-skill and talented employees needed to help them rebound and prosper in the wake of the economic crisis, according to a new report from Towers Watson.

Global Talent Management and Rewards Survey found 61 per cent of Canadian companies are having problems attracting critical-skill employees.

The survey of 1,176 companies globally, including 155 from Canada, found this is a common problem for employers around the world with 65 per cent of all companies surveyed reporting the same difficulty.

"Although the Canadian economy has been stronger than that of some countries in the survey, the business climate has still impacted the supply and demand of talent, and companies’ ability to attract and hire talented employees," said Ofelia Isabel, the Canadian leader for rewards, talent and communication consulting at Towers Watson.

Also, 57 per cent of Canadian companies (61 per cent globally) reported similar difficulty attracting top-performing employees.

However, Canadian companies are doing a better job retaining employees with just 12 per cent of them reporting difficulty holding onto employees compared to 21 per cent globally.

"Top talent is always in short supply, but employees are now telling us that with sufficient career development opportunities, they would prefer to stay with their current employers. This desire to remain with their current employer is going to require companies to be more creative in their efforts in how they attract and build talent and leadership in the future," said Isabel.

The economic crisis forced many companies to take cost management or cost-cutting activities, such as hiring and salary freezes, layoffs and bonus reductions. These cost-cutting steps took their toll on workers, with 66 per cent of Canadian employers reporting their cost-cutting actions increased employees’ workloads, while 57 per cent said they adversely impacted employees’ ability to manage their work-related stress.

Canadian employers also responded that these measures had a negative impact on both employee engagement (56 per cent) and workers’ ability to balance their work and personal lives (50 per cent).

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