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Biggest Challenge for U.K. Employers? Talent Retention

A survey from Ciphr finds that more than half of organisations rank retention as the top HR pain point over the next year.

By Maggie Mancini

Some of the biggest challenges facing employers right now include retaining top talent, meeting salary and pay raise expectations, and providing a good work-life balance for employees, according to new research. HR software provider Ciphr commissioned a survey of 300 U.K. HR decision-makers to find out which workplace challenges, if any, are causing their organisations the biggest headaches in 2024.  

Based on the results of this research, most U.K. businesses appear to be grappling with a multitude of internal and external economic pressures. Answering on behalf of their organisation, survey respondents each identified an average of 11 HR pain points that could potentially hinder their operational success over the coming year.  

Retaining employees and keeping skilled workers onboard—helping organisations curb costly high turnover rates and lost productivity—tops the poll of the biggest challenges. Over half (51%) of respondents report retention as their top worry for the upcoming year.  

Over two-fifths (46%) of employers also express concerns about their organisation’s capacity to meet employees’ expectations around wages, work-life balance, and mental health and well-being support.  

Satisfying remote or hybrid working expectations emerged as another key challenge for 45% of respondents. Other concerns include recruiting enough qualified candidates and maintaining an engaged workforce (both 45%), providing a good employee experience, promoting talent from within to fill skills gaps, reducing absenteeism caused by work-related stress, and ensuring a positive workplace culture (all coming in at 41%).   

Claire Williams, chief people and operations officer at Ciphr, highlights the necessity for organisations to recognise that their people are their greatest asset and that their business success is contingent on the continued investment in their employees.  

“Like it or not, the world of work is changing,” Williams says. “Employers need to step up and invest in their people if they want to hire the best talent and then retain them. Employers are facing a range of challenges. A volatile global economy that has fast changing and sweeping ramifications for our labour market. There’s salary inflation that’s not been seen at this scale before. Recent advancements continue to evolve at lightspeed, expanding digital skills gaps. And we have multigenerational workforces with wildly different expectations and demands from their employers when it comes to values, purpose, flexible working, diversity, social impact, and so on.”  

Ciphr’s research also finds that retaining skilled employees, recruiting staff, and supporting health and wellbeing at work, are the three most important priorities for U.K. HR teams this year. Resolving salary issues and providing more training also ranks high in their list of priorities, which were compiled from free-text survey responses. The full survey can be found here.  

Tags: EMEA May 2024, EMEA News

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