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startup, meeting, brainstormingGrowth is the leading business goal for 58.6% of employers in all four countries. However, we can see the recession’s impact in the UK and Ireland, with 38.4% and 34.7%, respectively listing survival as their primary goal for the year.

The cost-of-living crisis and staffing shortages are significantly impacting 66% of employers offering financial remuneration to help with retention. Labour shortages are the top concern for 66.2% of Australian businesses, with employee retention the second highest concern. According to this survey, 72.3% of employers list rising costs as their top business concern.

Rising costs are the top concern for businesses in Canada (73%), Ireland (87.8%) and the UK (79.9%), whereas in Australia, it only comes in third.

Peninsula Group surveyed 79,000 businesses across Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the UK to see what the top priorities and concerns were for employers in 2023.

This statistic demonstrates the drastic impact that recent world events have had; a global pandemic, political turmoil, war in Ukraine and now recession coming in such quick succession has devastated many businesses, especially SMEs, with business owners now under pressure like never before.

However, the temporary measures brought in during the pandemic have changed the shape of work for many, with 28.9% of employers prioritising health and wellbeing and 27.7% making some form of flexible working a permanent feature.

Another post-pandemic trend is that 37% of employers have fully reinstated all pre-pandemic working models.

Those unable to offer financial incentives are offering flexible working hours (50.9%) and mental health support (30.7%) to help prevent employees from leaving. 49% of employers list recruitment as their most significant challenge staffing-wise, with pay increase requests coming in second at 39.1%. 54.6% of employers have given employees a pay rise to offset the ongoing skills shortage.

David Price, CEO at Employsure, says, “It’s truly staggering that we’re going into 2023 with a third of businesses saying their main goal is to survive the year.

More than half were given a pay raise, and employers are looking at creative ways to retain employees, such as enhanced benefits packages or flexible working where a pay raise is not possible.”

Mr Price further commented, “For months, we’ve heard how difficult the job market is and, with skills shortages affecting many sectors as well as the cost and time involved in recruiting; it’s not a surprise that so many employers are concerned about the impact this will have on their business.”

“Here in Australia, we’re seeing that labour shortage, staff retention and rising costs are the top three concerns for business owners, and it’s clear that this will be a challenging year for many businesses.”

Employers see the value in retaining employees; in turn, employees are reaping the benefits. However, there is also a mood of opportunity.



Written By: Jill Walsh