Companies Worldwide Struggle To Attract And Retain Critical-Skill And High-Potential Employees, Towers Watson Survey Finds

A vast majority of companies worldwide, including a growing number of U.S. companies, continues to struggle with attracting and retaining the high-potential and critical-skill employees necessary to increase their global competitiveness, according to a new survey conducted by global professional services company Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW) and WorldatWork, an international association of human resource professionals. The survey also found that employees are experiencing high levels of stress, a trend that many employers and employees expect to continue for the next three years.

The Towers Watson Global Talent Management and Rewards Survey, a study of 1,605 companies globally, including 278 from the United States, found that nearly three-fourths of respondents (72%) cite problems attracting critical-skill employees, while roughly six in 10 employers are having difficulty attracting high-potential and top-performing workers (60% and 59%, respectively). In the United States, the number of employers having difficulty attracting employees with critical skills increased for the third consecutive year, to 61%, nearly the same percentage as in 2005 and 2006, when economic growth was stronger and unemployment rates were significantly lower. More than half of all respondents also reported difficulty retaining critical-skill, high-potential and top-performing employees.

“The demand for the best talent is as strong as ever, especially given a challenging economy and heightened global competition. But many employers are not taking advantage of opportunities to attract, retain and engage high-value employees by offering a work environment and the total rewards programs that are most important to them,” said Laura Sejen, global leader of Rewards at Towers Watson. “In fact, there appears to be a mismatch between what employers are offering and what employees are looking for. Employees, including top talent, are more focused on competitive base pay and job security. Employers, on the other hand, are emphasizing other items, such as challenging work, and their mission, vision and values.”

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