Finding High Quality Applicants Rated as Top HR Challenge for 2019, Says New XpertHR Survey

Workforce Planning Challenges Keep Employers Up At Night

New Providence, NJ (January 10, 2019) – Finding high quality applicants, ensuring employees have the necessary skill sets, creating a succession plan and increasing employee engagement are among the most difficult workforce challenges facing employers in 2019, says a new XpertHR survey of over 800 human resource professionals. The survey found that the biggest challenge was finding high quality applicants, with sixty-four percent of survey respondents reporting difficulty sourcing top talent.

The unemployment rate stands at 3.7 percent, the lowest in nearly 50 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Candidates have many choices and the tight job market is a very real problem for HR professionals who are trying to attract high quality applicants.

"Employers are having an increasing difficult time finding people with the right skills," says Beth Zoller, JD, Legal Editor, XpertHR. "With today's low unemployment rate, workforce planning is, and will likely continue to be, a major concern for HR and one that requires creative and strategic planning and development."

To effectively manage and plan its workforce, an employer needs to make sure it has the right people for the right jobs at the right cost in order be successful in a global and competitive marketplace. The gig economy and use of independent contractors, flexible working arrangements and remote workers are just some of the ways employers are identifying high quality applicants in a tight labor market.

The survey also identified other workforce challenges for 2019. Fifty-two percent of survey respondents reported being challenged by ensuring employees and supervisors have the necessary skill sets now and for future responsibilities: 50% were challenged by creating a succession plan; 49% were challenged when it came to increasing employee engagement, morale and satisfaction; and 40% found it difficult to retain employees.

In addition, 47% found managing performance and providing professional development opportunities to be a challenge; 43% viewed aligning the talent retention strategy with business objectives as very or extremely challenging; and handling employee mergers and acquisitions was very or extremely challenging for 40% of respondents.

"Workforce planning is a key challenge for HR and requires an employer to review all phases of the employment relationship from start to end in order to make strategic business decisions that have a positive impact on the employer's bottom line," says Zoller.

XpertHR advises that key stakeholders and members of management assess the unique factors affecting the employer's business and shaping its workforce as well as the organization's short- and long-term goals. Data analytics may be a useful tool to measure and evaluate progress and to understand where and how an employer should focus its efforts as well as to reduce costs.

"Today's workforce is changing at an incredibly rapid rate as transformations in society, government, culture, technology, communications and the legal landscape impact employers and the workplace," says Zoller. "We will continue to identify new and different challenges as they emerge and help employers prepare to address them."

To download a copy of the full survey whitepaper, visit XpertHR.

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Editor's Note: Beth Zoller, JD, is available for interview and to submit content on HR challenges. If you use any of this material, please include a link to

Media Contact:

Beth Brody (for XpertHR)