HR leaders say recruiting and retaining workers seems easier in 2024

Amid ongoing labor market challenges, recruitment and retention difficulties have somewhat decreased or eased, according to a June 10 report from The Conference Board.

In 2022 — during the peak of the great resignation — 83% of HR leaders reported issues with recruitment, which has dropped to 55% in 2024. Similarly, 66% of HR leaders reported difficulty with retaining workers in 2022, which has fallen to 41%.

“The steps companies have taken to attract workers are paying off, but more than half still report difficulty finding talent,” Robin Erickson, vice president of human capital at The Conference Board, said in a statement.

In a March/April 2024 survey of 216 U.S. HR executives, retention challenges appeared to be linked with work arrangements. While 15% of HR leaders at organizations that allow employees to choose where they work reported retention issues, 45% of those at organizations with mandatory on-site work said the same.

About 8 in 10 HR leaders said hybrid work has improved their ability to attract and retain talent, and even higher percentages reported that hybrid schedules improved job satisfaction and work-life balance.

In contrast, on-site mandates may drive employees away, the report found. Nearly half of HR leaders expressed retention difficulties when on-site work was mandated or strongly encouraged, but only 15% of HR leaders reported retention issues when employees could choose where to work. Voluntary turnover was also twice as high for fully on-site workers than for hybrid or remote workers, at 16% versus 8%.

These trends appear to be reflected on the employee side as well. In a WTW survey during the first quarter of 2024, 72% of employees said they plan to stick with their current employer, as compared to 2022, when about half of employees said they were looking to leave. Employees’ top reasons for staying included pay, job security, health benefits and flexible work arrangements.

Employees are also eager for career development and internal mobility opportunities, according to a report from the University of Phoenix Career Institute. Nearly three-quarters said they need to learn new skills to stay ahead in their career, and two-thirds said they’d be more likely to stay with a company that offered ways to upskill, reskill and apply new skills.

To retain talent, HR pros can implement attentive onboarding, offer mentorship, regularly check in with managers and strive to create a positive and supportive work environment for the right people to thrive, the chief people officer at MeridianLink wrote for HR Dive. Importantly, HR teams should listen to both employees and potential hires, which can open the door to crucial conversations to help improve your organization, she said.