Skills gap among employees increases

Although unemployment remains high and there's a perception of a talent surplus, human resources professionals might have to choose from limited quantities of high-skilled workers as the widening skills gap makes it difficult for U.S. employers to compete globally, according to a new Deloitte study. 

The study finds talent is ranked as the most significant challenge to employers over the next three years. In fact, a quarter of respondents say they're worried about talent, which is an increase from 16 percent last year. Insurance and professional service firms rank talent shortage as the highest concern among respondents’ industries.

"The survey exposes a widening gap between the dwindling supply of skilled workers in America and the growing demands of the modern workplace," says David Lusk, principal, Deloitte Consulting and author of the report. "A key challenge ahead for employers will be working to help close this skills gap to maintain a competitive edge in the global marketplace."

Of the respondents, 45 percent also say they're concerned about the future of their own job security.

"Being constantly attuned to the shifting forces within the jobs and talent marketplace could lead to a higher level of anxiety about one's own position," says Scott Cole, senior manager of Deloitte Consulting and co-author of the report.

Regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 48 percent of respondents say they're taking a wait-and-see approach, suggesting they don't plan to make any changes to their coverage plans. Thirty-seven percent of respondents plan to keep their grandfathered health plans as long as possible, and 23 percent of respondents may cut the hours below the threshold for part-time employees to avoid mandatory health coverage.

Retirement is also a concern with 83 percent of respondents saying they're still worried about affording retirement and postretirement health care. More than 40 percent of respondents even expect to delay retirement for an increase from 34 percent in 2011. To alleviate the burden, 36 percent of respondents say they anticipate providing employees with better tools to plan for retirement.

Because of PPACA, 85 percent of respondents expect benefit costs per employee to increase over the next five years, and 68 percent of respondents planning to redesign their rewards programs say they will re-evaluate their benefits strategies. Another 70 percent of respondents say they might expand their wellness programs to better manage health care costs while one in five respondents has incorporated social media into their total rewards communication campaigns.


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