A healthy if not spectacular jobs report from the Department of Labor supports mid-market employer plans to bolster training programs to keep employees from jumping ship. The June jobs report showed 223,000 jobs added to the economy, and a modest (two-tenths of a percent) drop in the unemployment rate. Although wages held steady, they were still up 2% over June 2014.
A just-released poll of mid-market senior executives by Deloitte found that confidence in the economy has encouraged employees to pursue new opportunities and increased voluntary attrition, according to a summary of the firms 2015 Report on Americas Economic Engine.
That report, based on a survey of 525 mid-market executives, found that while most employers are not planning significant increases in their full-time staff, two-thirds say they have noticed an increase in voluntary staff departures.
That represents a large jump from the 43% reporting the same phenomenon two years before.
Also see: Employers fearing high turnover
The report suggests that mid-market companies may be more vulnerable to such attrition, particularly among younger employees. Why?
Entering the job market with a smaller working environment has given them the confidence to try their skills in new channels of business markets, thus increasing voluntary departures, commented Jeffrey H. Alderdon, a Deloitte principal. He also noted that more of the baby boomers are leaving the workforce earlier and not waiting until traditional retirement age.
Asked whether they agreed with the statement that its hard to find employees with the skills and education to meet our needs, 22% of the middle-market executives strongly agreed and 45% simply agree with the statement. A year earlier, those numbers were 12% and 40%, respectively.
When asked which investment in talent they are most likely to make in the year ahead, the most common response (52%) was training, followed by increase in full-time employment (45%), increase in compensation (32%), increase in part-time workers (21%), and more hours from existing employees (18%).
Nevertheless, when asked to identify which investments offer the greatest potential to boost corporate productivity, technology was picked by 67% of survey respondents, followed by talent (50%), R&D (37%) and plant and equipment (34%). However, an investment in technology often accompanies an investment in training to enable employees to harness that new technology to bring about hoped-for productivity improvements.
Following are some additional survey highlights indicating expectations of a generally positive business outlook:
- 34% expect robust or above average economic growth over the next year, up from 21% a year ago.
- Rising health care costs continues to be highly ranked as one of the greatest obstacles to U.S. growth over the next year, chosen by 50% of survey respondents, although that represents a large drop from the 63% who chose that factor a year ago.
- Other top-ranked impediments to U.S. growth were federal and local budget challenges (49%), high tax rates (44%), and lack of consumer confidence (40%).
- A year ago lack of consumer confidence was a greater concern among executives, when 45% identified it as a drag on the economy.
Richard Stolz is a freelance writer based in Rockville, Maryland.
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