Help Wanted: 65% of CEOs Seek to Hire Employees and Raise Wages in 2019

Talent Management Continues to Take Focus For Executives at Small-and-Medium-Sized Businesses

Hiring is a big headline from the new Vistage Research report, CEO Projections for 2019. Small-and-medium-sized businesses are hiring and anticipate their sales are going to increase.

Last year, CEOs set a 15-year record high for hiring, with 71% planning to hire in the next 12 months. In 2019, the trend continues, with 65% of CEOs reporting they will hire this year. One reason for this hiring is that 70% expect revenue increases in 2019.

CEOs were queried about their top ten decision-making categories for the year, and four out of ten concern talent management. In fact, talent management is the overall number one decision-making category identified by these executives.

Help Wanted: 65% of CEOs Seek to Hire Employees and Raise Wages in 2019

Employee Development on the Rise

Along with hiring, employee retention ranks high in this competitive marketplace. Strategies being deployed include:

  • Higher wages
  • Better benefits
  • Helping existing employees grow with the company
  • Investment in automation
  • Allowing employees to work remotely
  • Creating apprenticeship/internship programs

As reported by Vistage Research:

Help Wanted: 65% of CEOs Seek to Hire Employees and Raise Wages in 2019

“In 2019, CEOs anticipate that they’ll need higher wages and better benefits to attract new employees and maintain their workforce. They will also bolster retention by developing and training their current workforce. Many firms have found it difficult to hire good employees, which may account for their reluctance to slow hiring. 

“Employee development is the key to retention. In our survey, 71% of CEOs said that employee development is their leading strategy to address challenges related to hiring. Improving the productivity of employees and allowing them to grow in the organization are top reasons employees stay. Development is also an effective way to build an internal pipeline of talent.”

Investing in Operations and Talent

To support their growing revenues and workforces, half of CEOs predict significant investment in operations this year. Operational investments include those in technology, facilities and expansion. Direct investment in talent is the second-highest category of investment.

Here are all 10 categories, along with the number of CEOs that prioritized them:

Help Wanted: 65% of CEOs Seek to Hire Employees and Raise Wages in 2019

The job market continues to be strong for employees and challenging for employers. As reported over the summer, “There are now more open positions than workers to fill them.” In my work as a Vistage Chair, I’ve personally seen how CEOs of small-and-medium-sized businesses are growing more creative about attracting and retaining talent. And good news – they need this talent to support their predicted growth in 2019.