April 6, 2023

4 Ways Employers Can Bolster Skills in a Tight Economy

The uncertainty of current economic conditions is forcing business leaders to try to predict the future as they make decisions around workforce planning and budgets. While most attempt to remain cautiously optimistic, shifting priorities of filling key roles in global locations and navigating a fluctuating global economy is difficult.  

Suzanne P. Clark, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recently highlighted some key ways businesses can bolster economic strength. They include attracting global talent, upskilling today’s workers and educating the workforce of tomorrow.

4 Ways Employers Can Bolster Skills in a Tight Economy

Attract Global Talent 

The U.S. labor market remains contracted as workforce participation hovers below pre-pandemic levels. Companies still find it difficult to attract the adept talent required to keep their businesses growing domestically and internationally. Reduced global mobility budgets and immigration challenges are just of couple of the difficulties recruiters face.

While business leaders are wary of the uncertainty of the current climate, they are also acutely aware of the dearth in and competition for the highly skilled talent they need and are eager to work with governments to engage in meaningful immigration reforms as part of the solution.

Use Global Mobility Programs to Upskill Current Workers

To get the economy back on track, businesses must continue investing in people with the right blend of skills to foster innovation, increase growth in the production and transportation of goods and products and find increasingly efficient ways to deliver services. Employers still have positions to fill, and employees are becoming more open to the right opportunities, in the right locations.

Whether through permanent transfers as companies build new or consolidate existing locations, short-term assignments that give employees opportunities to engage in new learning or the transfer of skills, or the recruitment of cross-border talent, relocation has a vital role to play in helping businesses contribute to stabilizing and growing the global economy.

Educate the Workers of Tomorrow

Attrition of the workforce in recent years has caused employers to rethink their human capital and talent management strategies. Moving beyond degrees and job titles, leaders have turned their attention more toward the skills a job requires.

From creating accelerator programs to partnering with technical colleges, employers in major cities are creating end-to-end training programs to develop talent for their pipeline. Creating skills-based pathways for future employees can make companies more resilient in the event of a recession while providing better employment opportunities for their staff.

Offering learning opportunities for current and future workers enables internal mobility and boosts employee retention. Combining on-the-job training, continuous learning programs and talent mobility opportunities can help workers develop personalized road maps to promotion.

Adapt Policies to Maximize Employee Relocation Budgets

There is real opportunity for global mobility teams and senior HR leaders to work together with a relocation management company (RMC) to develop flexible policies with enough guiderails in place that they support employees’ desire for location choice, while ensuring their safety and minimizing tax, permanent establishment or other financial risks for both the employee and employer.

With real estate affordability being a real concern in light of high rental costs and increasing interest rates, now is the time for proactive reviews of policy relief options.  Providing mortgage interest buydowns, rate- or dollar-driven subsidies, mortgage interest differential allowances (MIDAs) or assistance with points, and loss-on-sale provisions might make programs more competitive and moves more palatable. Some companies are exploring whether a provision to help employees refinance following a move when rates inevitably come back down could be an option as well.  

Of course, all these forms of policy assistance come at a cost, and companies will need to regularly assess the regional market conditions in the primary locations in which the bulk of their employees are moving to and from, as well as how policy decisions align with business and talent goals and company culture.

For more information on how Sterling Lexicon can help you design a mobility program that works for your company culture and budget, contact us today.


Marsha Wiggins

Marsha Wiggins

Marsha Wiggins is Sterling Lexicon’s Content Marketing Manager. She has created thought leadership content in a variety of industries for many years. She is a trusted contributor who provides insights on industry topics and trends.

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