A growing percentage of directors are worried about keeping key staff as wage increases and bonuses fail to rise.
But many are planning on increasing their headcount as they plan for growth, with fewer redundancies expected this year.
Figures from recruitment specialist Robert Half’s Professional Hiring Index report questioned more than 600 directors across the UK from a variety of industries, and found that 24 per cent planned to expand operations by adding extra headcount.
In addition, just nine per cent of those questioned said they saw a possibility for redundancies within their company, compared with 21 per cent of respondents expecting redundancies the previous year.
Overall, confidence in the UK’s growth has also risen, according to the figures. A total of 64 per cent of UK directors feel more confident in the UK’s economic growth over the next year and 77 per cent said they were more confident in their own company’s prospects looking forward.
However, fears are growing about losing top performers, with 80 per cent of respondents saying they are concerned about losing their best staff, compared with 72 per cent of directors a year ago. Altogether 88 per cent said they found it either very (27 per cent) or somewhat (61 per cent) challenging to find skilled professionals.
In the technology space, 78 per cent of directors said it was difficult to find the right people, and 71 per cent are concerned about losing their best people.
Just 14 per cent of those questioned said they expected bonuses to increase over the next six months, while 42 per cent said they would remain static. A further 29 per cent said that no bonuses would be paid by their firms.
Phil Sheridan, managing director of Robert Half, said: “Our research shows some notable trends in the UK employment marketplace. There are genuine signs of increased optimism, with lower predictions on redundancies and higher predictions on new roles.
"Yet while company executives are even more concerned about finding and retaining the best people than they were a year ago, the majority of companies are as yet unable to adjust remuneration on a widespread scale, including salaries and bonuses."
“We believe that companies need to find new incentives to attract and keep the best people while the economy continues to recover, and these may include more flexible working arrangements, extra holiday and greater responsibilities and challenges within roles. 2013 may also be the year when directors are forced to look at awarding pay rises and bonuses to selected people in order to retain them,” he said.
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