Difficulty finding and retaining office workers is skyrocketing

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NEW YORK, May 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Echoing reports of persistent labor shortages, a new survey confirms that a large majority of organizations face extreme challenges finding and retaining skilled workers. But, the survey reveals, these challenges are no longer driven solely by a lack of manual workers, as previous trends have indicated. On the contrary, office workers are now much harder to find and retain than just a year ago.

In fact, the Conference Board survey found that 84% of organizations that hire professionals and office workers struggle to find talent, a 60% increase in April 2021. And the percentage of organizations struggling to retain office workers has more than doubled in the past year, from 28% to 64%.

The survey of more than 175 U.S. HR leaders also highlights the resilience of remote and hybrid working, including using these work models to address hiring challenges. For example, the number of organizations willing to hire workers entirely remotely has increased sixfold since the start of the pandemic.

This marks the fourth survey in the Workplace reinvented series, which explores the long-term impacts of the pandemic on the workforce and workplace. Survey results include:

Office workers are increasingly difficult to find and retain.

  • 84% of organizations that hire professionals and office workers struggle to find talent, compared to 60% in April 2021.
    • This compares to 81% of those struggling to hire manual industrial and service workers, a similar rate to April 2021 survey (80%).
  • 64% of organizations with primarily professional and clerical employees report difficulty retaining talent, which more than doubled from 28% in April 2021.
    • 73% of organizations with mostly industrial and manual workers report difficulty retaining talent, a significant increase from 49% last year.

The hiring of fully remote workers has increased sixfold.

  • Half (49%) of organizations are ready to hire fully virtual employees, up from just 8% before the pandemic.
  • 38% still prefer to hire remote employees who can occasionally come into the office.

Only 4% of businesses require full-time on-site work.

  • Only 4% of organizations require all workers to return full-time.
  • 90% now allow hybrid working.
  • 60% have made working entirely remotely optional.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen the headlines focus on the dwindling supply of manual workers and commercial services. But our most recent survey reveals that clerical and professional workers have become a scarcer commodity. “, said Robin Ericson, PhD, Vice President, Human Capital, The Conference Board. “To stay competitive, companies should take greater advantage of hybrid and fully remote working arrangements, the latter of which has increased sixfold over the past year.”

Productivity has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic, especially with remote work.

  • 62% of organizations employing primarily remote workers reported increases in productivity.
  • This compares to 47% of organizations with employees not working virtually who reported increased productivity.
  • Overall, 57% of HR managers say they believe productivity has increased since the pandemic began.

Burnout exploded.

  • 77% of HR managers surveyed reported an increase in the number of employees identified as burnt out, compared to 42% in September 2020.
  • The number of employees seeking help for mental health, the number of employees identifying as burnt out, the number of hours worked and the use of the employee assistance plan have all increased.
  • Employee engagement/morale levels and the number of vacation days used have both decreased.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, employee well-being has declined and burnout has been on the rise,” said Rebecca Ray, PhD, Executive Vice President, Human Capital, The Conference Board. “To retain workers, HR leaders will need to focus on improving the employee experience. This involves both enabling and encouraging employees to integrate their work and personal lives in ways that best suits them.”

Corporate culture is changing rapidly.

  • 64% of respondents say their organizational culture has changed since the start of the pandemic, an increase of 15% since April 2021.
  • Collaborative technology, genuine caring from managers, transparent communication from leaders, and commitment to corporate social responsibility have changed for the better in more than 70% of organizations surveyed.
  • Over 60% of organizations believe the quality of leadership, commitment to innovation, articulation of mission and purpose, and an inclusive environment have changed for the better.
  • However, 25% report that the level of trust between managers and employees has deteriorated.

About The Conference Board
The Conference Board is a member-driven think tank that provides reliable information about the future. Founded in 1916, we are a nonpartisan, nonprofit entity holding 501 (vs) (3) tax exempt status United States. www.conference-board.org

SOURCE The Conference Board

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