The ongoing economic recovery has employers staffing up. But they're having trouble landing the top guns, and future top guns, to spearhead their battle for the gold. Worse, even as they struggle to bring on new talent, many are losing their best performers, often to competitors.

That's one of the major takeaways from a Towers Watson survey of 32,000 employees, and managers at 1,637 companies, in two separate studies. About a fifth of those surveyed were U.S.-based. TW asked both parties about hiring trends, and found that employers tend to be behind the curve in understanding what talented jobseekers, and current staffers, are looking for in a job these days.

Such findings offer yet more evidence that many companies have yet to come to grips with what it takes to build a talent-heavy organization. An MRINetwork survey strongly indicated that, in today's talent hunt, talented jobseekers are in the driver's seat and have high expectations of prospective employers.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.