- Hiring and retention are the top threats to U.S. businesses in the third quarter of 2021, according to a quarterly survey of C-level executives by consulting firm West Monroe Partners.
- Simultaneously, 77% of respondents said they expected to hire more workers in Q3, continuing a trend of increased hiring projections in the survey dating back to Q1 2021. More than half of executives, 51%, said their biggest challenge was that they could not find enough people with the right skill set. Larger companies, manufacturers and employers in the South and Midwest were more likely to say this was the case.
- Cyber attacks emerged as a separate concern for respondents, but only 16% confirmed they had been hit by a cyber attack, ransomware or breach this year. Sixty-two percent of executives said their organizations had conducted a cybersecurity incident response drill in 2021, including 79% of those that had been hit by an attack this year.
Job growth has accelerated going into the second half of 2021, potentially pushing employers to increase wages and creating a crunch for skilled talent.
Researchers continue to debate the reasons why talent starved industries like leisure and hospitality are struggling to find workers. Though some have cited the availability of unemployment benefits as the cause, though the results of ending those benefits may be less clear than anticipated, Reuters reported last month. Worker advocacy group One Fair Wage published a July report finding that 57% of service workers were not returning to restaurant jobs in states that had ended federal unemployment benefits. Instead, 54% of respondents were concerned about COVID-19 safety.
Vaccination against COVID-19 may also play a role; a report earlier this month from Workforce Logiq indicated a potential correlation between state-specific vaccination rates and workforce volatility, or the number of people looking to quit their jobs. States with lower vaccination rates may experience higher volatility, the report said.
On the other hand, employers have said that certain measures can help to retain employees even in front-line industries during the pandemic. Chipotle Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung recently told analysts that the company’s decision to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour had led to employee retention that is "as good or better" compared to pre-pandemic status, CFO Dive reported.
Meanwhile, a July study by the Manufacturing Institute’s Center for Manufacturing Research found a majority of manufacturing employees under age 25 have stayed with their employers thanks to training, development and career opportunities.