Companies say they will pay more to recruit and retain staff

By Neil Amato

More organizations are offering pay increases, flexible working arrangements, and signing bonuses in an attempt to recruit and retain staff in the midst of the Great Resignation.

That's according to a survey of finance decision-makers in business and industry from February. More than 70% report that they are offering higher wages, 54% are offering flexible work arrangements, and 23% are offering signing bonuses as part of their strategy to keep or hire employees. Each statistic represents an increase from the percentage of employers planning those strategies in the fourth quarter of 2021.

While 40% of respondents say that unfilled positions have had no significant impact on their business, 24% say they've had to restructure to protect core operations, and 23% have limited new projects or bids. And others have, to a lesser extent, had to delay service expansions, slow customer or client acquisition, or reduce hours of operation because of unfilled positions, according to the first-quarter AICPA Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey.

This quarter, 53% say they are experiencing at least moderate difficulty recruiting or retaining staff. While that is down from 62% in the fourth quarter of 2021, it's clear that adding and keeping employees remains a struggle.

In the fourth quarter, more respondents said they had difficulty filling entry-level jobs (46%, compared with 25% in the first quarter).

A higher percentage, 28%, report having across-the-board difficulty in filling positions this quarter. That number was 24% in the first quarter. The increase is driven by an increased difficulty filling midlevel jobs — 31% this quarter compared with 14% the previous quarter.

On top of the recruiting challenges, rising inflation is affecting employee pay. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (65%) say they are either planning for inflation-related salary increases in 2022 or had such an increase in 2021 and are likely to do the same this year.

Survey data was gathered through Feb. 23, so the response period was closed before Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Overall, organization optimism remains positive, but optimism about the overall U.S. economy and the global economy is lower.

Inflation and availability of skilled personnel remained the top two challenges in the survey for the second consecutive quarter.

— To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Neil Amato at

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