Global survey reveals employers' biggest worry in 2024 is rising costs

  • Business Advice
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

2023 has been an interesting year for businesses around the world. With energy prices increasing, as well as staff and skill shortages, it’s fair to say employers have had their share of difficulties over the past 12 months.

So, as we enter 2024, what are the main concerns for employers? And how do they aim to attract and maintain top talent? Well, the results from a survey conducted by Peninsula Group provide some insight.

The global employment law, HR, Health & Safety advisory, and consultancy firm asked employers in five countries – Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK.

Let’s take a look at what they had to say.

What are the top concerns for employers in 2024?

Over 80% of employers surveyed revealed their biggest concern for 2024 is rising business costs, likely due to high rates of inflation - which began rising in 2021 and reached its peak in 2022.

The country with the highest percentage of concern came from the UK at around 87%, whilst Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and Canada’s results were approximately 85%, 85%, 83% and 82% respectively.

Fortunately, these rates will continue to fall over the next year and into 2024.

Other concerns include the labour shortage – which over 45% of business owners globally are worried about – the highest figures of which come from Australia (53%), whilst approximately 41% are anxious about their employee retention rates. Again, Australian business owners revealed the highest figures, polling at around 45%.

What are employers’ top business goals for 2024?

Despite the adversity faced over the past few years, Peninsula’s survey found companies are motivated to build upon their business in 2024.

Approximately 44% stated their main business goal for 2024 is growth. The UK had the biggest motivation for growth with 46% of British business owners agreeing, whilst Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand polled at around 46%, 45%, 44% and 43%.

Meanwhile, on a less optimistic note, around 20% of companies surveyed globally agreed that their focus for 2024 was, in fact, survival.

When it comes to staffing, what challenges are employers facing right now?

According to the survey, recruiting top talent is the biggest challenge employers face when it comes to staffing. Australia stands out with the highest percentage at around 31%, whilst Canada had the least concerns about recruitment, polling at just 19%.

The UK and New Zealand’s biggest challenge in staffing was also recruitment, with 30% and 26% of business owners agreeing respectively.

However, figures from Ireland reveal that 28% of businesses’ biggest challenge with staffing was pay increase requests.

What support are employers offering to aid retention?

Employers will always want to retain the best talent, as well as hire staff who want to grow with the business. To ensure staff turnover is low, around 58% of employers in Australia provide flexible working hours, as well as New Zealand, with another 58% of employers agreeing.

Meanwhile, employers in Canada and the UK are providing financial remuneration to retain staff, with around 65% and 49% of employers in agreement.

How have employers handled the ongoing labour/skills shortage?

Employers from all countries surveyed have revealed that pay increases are their answer to handling the ongoing labour/skills shortage.

The highest figure comes from Canada, with approximately 80% of employers agreeing, whilst Irish, Australian, Kiwi and British business owners polled at around 62%, 56%, 53% and 53% respectively.

How many employers are still offering hybrid/remote working?

Hybrid and remote working became popular during and after the pandemic. But, businesses of late have begun to bring more and more people back to the office to increase productivity. So, just what working patterns are employers still offering?

Overwhelmingly, more than half of employers surveyed in each country state that all of their employees are in the workplace full time. The highest figures of which come from Canada, with over 53% of employers in agreement.

In fact, the survey revealed that only a small percentage of businesses have made hybrid working a permanent fixture. Around 15% of UK businesses agreed, whilst Canada, Australia and New Zealand’s figures were approximately 5%, 7% and 5% respectively.

What do the survey results mean for businesses in 2024?

Whilst inflation is falling, business owners in 2024 are not out of the woods yet and will likely have challenges to face in 2024. The biggest of which seems to be attracting key talent, whilst other industries face labour and skill shortages.

To maintain the best staff, employers are looking into ways they can support their workers. For example, some offer mental health support, whilst others are still choosing to provide flexible working.

Get expert advice and help for your business in 2024 from Peninsula

Worried about your business in 2024? Maybe you’re struggling to retain staff, implement policies, or are short on time to spend growing your business. Whatever your company might be facing, Peninsula can help.

With our HR services, you’ll discover an easier and safer way to manage staff. You’ll have access to the best HR advice, time-saving software, legal protection, and more. Not to mention, you’ll enjoy it for a fraction of the cost of hiring internal HR staff.

So, you’ll save money and time – both of which can be spent on growing your business in 2024.

Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 028 2420 and book a free consultation with an HR consultant today.

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