Internal Recruiting & Workforce Planning, Recruiting News

Tight Labor Market Gives Way to Succession Planning at All Levels

Succession planning is a great strategy for filling roles left by retiring employees, but due to a skills shortage across many industries, employers are using succession planning to help fill their immediate talent shortage needs.succession

According to a new survey from global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., 64% of companies say they are hiring right now. The issue will be whether companies can find talent with the appropriate skills for the jobs available, according to one workplace authority.

“The one downside of a booming economy is that the churn that comes with layoffs doesn’t occur, leaving employers with few options to fill available positions. If more workers fail to enter the job market, it could lead to companies halting expansion plans or shutting down completely,” says Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

This means companies need to plan for employees retiring or quitting at all levels of the organization.

“While succession planning was once reserved for the C-Suite, in a time of almost full employment, companies need workers in the pipeline or risk growth,” says Challenger. “In order to attract workers, it helps to have a strong, public brand as well as offer desirable benefits. This is especially true for companies that are looking to attract talent to rural areas,”

Attracting Talent by Working with Local Universities

Another way companies can manage the next generation of workers is to partner with local universities or create training programs to ensure they can replace retirees or those workers who find other positions.

“The well-known narrative is that workers are staying in their positions too long and not making way for the next generation. That is not the case in all places or all industries. Many skilled workers are of retirement age, but companies need them to stay because they can’t find the talent to fill their shoes,” says Challenger.

Nearly a quarter of companies are focused on retention, according to the Challenger survey. Another 6.7% are actively downsizing.

The survey was conducted in June among 150 Human Resources executives at companies of varying sizes in all industries nationwide.

“Companies are holding tight to their skilled workforces. The market is so good, some job seekers are ‘ghosting’ potential hiring authorities. Job seekers have their pick of jobs right now,” says Challenger. “Companies are pulling out all the stops to ensure workers will stay.”

Attract and Retain Workers with Better Benefits

According to the Challenger survey, the most oft-cited benefits companies offer to retain talent are:

  • 401(k) contributions (91%),
  • Competitive salary (88%),
  • Health benefits (83%),
  • Professional development opportunities (76%), and
  • Tuition reimbursement (71%).

To appeal to parents, 62% of companies offer maternity leave and 29% offer paternity leave. Nearly 5% offer on-site childcare as a way to retain working parents who struggle to have a healthy work/life balance.

For more information, or to view the full survey findings, click here.