newsPwC US has reported in its survey, “Delivering Results: Growth and Value in a Volatile World” that talent continues to remain the top priority for CEOs while the top concern remains recruiting and retaining talent. Nearly half of U.S. CEOs see the lack of availability of qualified talent as a threat to growth. Over 70 percent of U.S. CEOS desire to spend more time developing corporate leadership and how they attract talent to their business.

Of the surveyed U.S. CEOs, 40 percent reported an increase in talent-related expenses over the year, despite the weak labor market. The report goes on to describe this expense as an indication of a skills mismatch leading to talent shortages even during a time of high unemployment. Of related importance, 31 percent of respondents said that innovation suffered over the past 12 month due to talent restraints while 29 percent said that they experienced missed market opportunities and aborted strategic initiatives due to talent shortages. Ed Boswell, the U.S Advisory People and Change practice leader said, “CEOs across industries report that they are finding it difficult to hire and retain the ‘right’ employees. This in turn has created increased competition for this seemingly small pool of highly sought-after talent. Given how crucial talent is to achieving a company’s objectives, more CEOs are focusing their time on talent-related issues.”

In response to the widening talent gap, CEOs indicated that they are looking to increase the time horizons for their strategic views. Three-quarters of U.S. CEOs said that their chief human resources officer reports directly to them indicating widespread integration of HR with strategic planning. Two-thirds of CEOs reported that talent would probably come from internal promotions over the next few years. Retaining high-performing middle management employees is considered a crucial part of that strategy.

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