Quick Hits

  • Hiring and retaining employees are top concerns of employers, a recent Ogletree Deakins survey of nearly 1,100 companies revealed.
  • Strategies to boost hiring and retention include instituting flexible work arrangements, enhancing benefits, and eliminating COVID-19 vaccine requirements and/or drug testing.
  • Former prisoners (carefully selected, mentored, and trained) who are seeking reentry into the workforce may provide employers with an additional source of qualified employees.

Responding companies identified several efforts to address hiring and retention challenges, including instituting flexible work arrangements, enhancing benefits, and eliminating COVID-19 vaccine requirements and/or drug testing in certain contexts. Over 70 percent of responding companies increased their base pay and almost a quarter relaxed educational or experience requirements. Even still, companies cannot seem to find a solution to the employee shortage—perhaps due in part to the United States’ sustained period of relatively low unemployment. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.7 percent as of December 2023.

What can employers do in 2024 to help their biggest challenge of hiring and retention?

Ogletree Deakins’ Equal Justice Task Force, ODAct (Act, Change, Transform), works closely with organizations that select, mentor, and train individuals recently released from prison for reentry into society and the workforce. These programs may provide an opportunity for companies struggling to hire and retain employees. In fact, the individuals in these programs come with training and mentorship that other prospective employees often do not. In ODAct’s experience, commonsense approaches and meaningful second-chance opportunities can be beneficial to employers and employment candidates alike.

Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor developments related to employers’ hiring and retention challenges and will publish updates on the Employment Law and Workplace Investigations and Organizational Assessments blogs as additional information becomes available. Stay tuned for the forthcoming results of our 2024 benchmarking survey of key decision-makers.

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