- Middle-market business leaders' optimism about economic and company growth hit its highest level in years in January, even as concerns about hiring and the labor shortage deepened, according to results from the JPMorgan Chase & Co. 2018 Business Leaders Outlook survey.
- Among executives' top business challenges, sales and revenue growth remain number one (63%). However, a limited supply of talent (54%) was the number two concern and also saw the biggest year-over-year increase in respondent volume. When asked what the federal government should focus on, business leaders said reducing regulations, improving infrastructure, fostering a skilled workforce and lowering taxes, in that order.
- Most business leaders (64%) plan to hire more full-time workers, and a greater percentage (76%) plan to raise wages. The top cited reasons for talent shortages included a lack of applicants, unique skill requirements and applicants' work ethic. And the hardest jobs to fill are the technical or trade positions, the survey found.
Business concerns about the labor shortage and skills gap not only continue, but they've also increased in recent years, as the study shows. Employers might have to develop the kinds of workers they want and need through training, upskilling and retooling.
Companies like Microsoft and Linux are developing their own courses or degree programs by partnering with colleges and universities. At the same time, training and development takes time (and money) and therefore doesn't always satisfy employers' immediate need to fill positions.
Despite reports that wage increases would remain relatively flat in 2018, there are signs that the labor and skills shortages are compelling employers in some industries to raise pay to attract talent.