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Press Release

Employers eyeing new sources of talent, changes in skills to tackle labor shortage

WTW survey finds more companies believe difficulties with hiring and keeping workers will continue in 2022

February 2, 2022

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ARLINGTON, VA, February 2, 2022 — A growing number of North American employers say new sources of talent and changes in skills required to get work done are needed to address ongoing labor market challenges. That’s according to a new survey by WTW (Willis Towers Watson, NASDAQ: WTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company. 

According to the WTW Reimagining Work and Rewards Survey, the numbers of respondents that indicated each of the following will become increasingly important over the next three years compared with the past three years rose significantly:

  • Finding new sources of talent (up 36%)
  • Changing skills required to get work done (up 73%)
  • Multi-skilling to enable employees to do tasks from different jobs (up 68%)
  • Changing employee preferences (up 52%)

“Companies in virtually every industry are now under significant pressure to adapt to a new business environment and sweeping workforce changes,” said Adrienne Altman, managing director, North America, Talent and Rewards, WTW. “And there’s no greater challenge right now than hiring and retaining workers. Unfortunately, organizations do not expect the situation to improve this year, especially for critical-skill roles.”

Indeed, according to the survey, over eight in 10 respondents (83%) expect to have problems attracting employees this year. That compares with 62% that had difficulty in the first half of last year and is more than double the 33% in 2020. Similarly, nearly three in four respondents (74%) anticipate having difficulty keeping workers this year, up from 51% in the first half of last year and just 22% in 2020. Employers reported difficulties attracting and retaining employees across the workforce — digital talent (82%), salaried employees (67%) and sales force positions (40%).

The survey also identified growing pressure in five key areas driving workplace changes over the past three years. These include heightened emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion (78%); how employees work, including increased flexibility (74%); changes in technology strategy (66%); importance of organizational agility (56%); and changes in leader and manager competencies (45%). 

According to the survey, more employers expect to make extensive changes in three strategic areas: optimizing work and job design (e.g., multi-skilling, remote work, technology, sourcing talent); rethinking Total Rewards (e.g., compensation, benefits, wellbeing); and defining careers (e.g., job architecture, job levelling, career progression).

“Whether you view it as the Great Resignation, Reshuffle or Reprioritization, organizations can take tangible actions to win the talent race. These include identifying new sources of talent, optimizing job design, resetting their Total Rewards strategy and delivering a more robust career experience for employees,” said Catherine Hartmann, managing director, Work and Rewards, WTW.

About the survey

A total of 1,650 worldwide employers, including 241 from North America, participated in the 2021 – 2022 Reimagining Work and Rewards Survey, which was conducted between October 28 and December 10, 2021. Respondents employ 11.9 million employees.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

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