Demand for Talent Outstrips Labor Supply

Among 160 human resources leaders polled by Willis Towers Watson, only 2% indicate they are having no problems with employee attraction and retention.

By DJ Shaw

A new survey published by Willis Towers Watson (WTW) shows over three-quarters of employers (77%) in the U.S. report having problems finding and keeping employees. It is just the latest piece of research to indicate the labor market is going to be tight in 2022, with a third of U.S. workers considering a job change or retirement.

The WTW survey finds only 2% of employers say they are having no problems with talent attraction and retention, while 19% say that they are not struggling now but may do so in future. The poll was conducted in October and surveyed 160 human resources leaders.

All over the world, people are reevaluating what they want from their working lives in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, demand for talent is outstripping supply in some countries and regions, with sectors like hospitality, manufacturing and transportation hit particularly hard.

Hospitality labor shortages could get even worse, as one-third of current hospitality workers report being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their jobs, and 58% saying they are planning to quit before the end of 2021, according to a survey by job search site Joblist. The job search site recently released its third quarter report on the U.S. labor market, questioning more than 26,000 job seekers about their outlook on the job market and future expectations.

In that survey, 22% of all job seekers report have quit their previous job. On the other hand, 73% of job seekers who remain employed say they are actively thinking about quitting their current role. Though not a universal experience, many workers say they are unhappy with their jobs and how employers are treating them during the pandemic.

Nineteen percent of workers cite unhappiness as the primary reason for quitting, 17% say low pay or lack of benefits, and 13% say the lack of work-life balance drove them to quit. On the positive side, 20% of workers report quitting in order to pursue a new career path, according to Joblist, reflecting how the pandemic created an opportunity for some to switch fields or level up to more appealing roles.

The WTW survey suggests people are leaving their jobs because they can find better pay elsewhere, with 76% of employers saying this is impacting peoples’ decision to leave. They are also moving because of a perceived lack of career opportunities in their current organizations, say 64% of employers.

Companies must create visible career opportunities to attract talented people, say 63% of the HR leaders who responded to the WTW poll. Candidates want to have a clear idea of how they will progress once they join an organization.

Increasing flexibility and hybrid working (58%) was another top attraction tool identified by WTW. The pandemic has rewritten the traditional workplace contract, with employers and employees alike coming to terms with what the future of work will look like. Increasing pay and benefits (52%) is a third key lever for employers, the survey shows.

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