Star performers, rejoice. This is your year. More than three-quarters of human resources executives polled recently by Challenger Gray & Christmas report that they are struggling to fill open positions—and 91% say that if the economy keeps expanding at its current rate, the war for talent will worsen. Unemployment is in fact expected to continue its slow creep downward in 2015, to 5.7% from 5.9% this September, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s most recent forecast.
That means bad news ahead for employers but good news for top producers, who will have real leverage in the coming year. Turnover costs are especially high for positions that are significant contributors to revenue—sometimes 200% of a worker’s salary. So it’s no wonder that 57% of the 4,700 companies surveyed in PayScale.com’s recent “Compensation Best Practices Report” cited keeping high-performing workers as a top business concern, up from 20% in 2010. “Just about every HR department should be discussing talent retention,” says David Card, director at the Center for Labor Economics at the University of California at Berkeley.