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< Back Career Advice

Employers continue to face challenges post-recession, study finds

Debra Auerbach | February 19, 2014


According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 58 percent of employers say that when it comes to their business, it feels like the recession is not over.

According to The National Bureau of Economic Research, the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009. Since then, the economy has experienced slow but steady growth, fueled by such factors as the housing market rebound and lower unemployment. Yet, for job seekers who are still struggling to find work, it may not seem like much has changed since 2009.

Employers are also uncertain that the recession is truly behind us. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 58 percent of employers say that when it comes to their business, it feels like the recession is not over. Among small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, the number of employers who share this sentiment is 66 percent.

Sales, human capital among concerns
According to the study, some of the main concerns employers have are over sluggish or declining sales and human capital issues. Sixty-two percent say that sales did not increase at their companies in the last half of 2013. While the outlook for 2014 is improving, 56 percent of employers don’t expect a rise in sales in the first half of the year.

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, says that many companies are still struggling to regain footing that was lost during the recent recession. “Only 28 percent of employers reported that their business has returned to normal or is better than it was before 2007,” she says. “Retention and productivity issues are top of mind as companies deal with constricting budgets, reorgs and long vacancies, and look to engage with current and potential employees in a more meaningful way.”

Top 2014 staffing challenges
Employers are facing a number of staffing challenges as the year unfolds. More than half of employers say they currently have positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates. Thirty-two percent are having trouble retaining their top employees, while 31 percent are struggling to lift employee morale.

Other top staffing challenges companies say they are tackling in 2014 include:

  • Providing competitive compensation — 27 percent
  • Worker burnout — 26 percent
  • Maintaining productivity levels — 25 percent
  • Managing organizational changes — 20 percent
  • Employee engagement — 17 percent
  • Providing upward mobility — 17 percent
  • Providing enough training opportunities to employees — 15 percent
  • Cutting down on cost-per-hire — 12 percent
  • Lack of succession planning — 11 percent
  • Limited recruitment budget — 11 percent
  • Adapting to new ways to source/recruit candidates — 8 percent