Human Resources News & Insights

Skills gap, healthcare cost top HR pros’ worries for 2012

Unemployment’s still painfully high, but many companies are struggling to find qualified people.

That’s one of the take-aways from new research from Deloitte and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS).

The recent Top Five Total Rewards Survey says a quarter of all 330 respondents expressed concerns about talent — particularly the shortage of qualified applicants, and motivating and retaining top performers. That’s a substantial jump over the 16% of respondents who felt that way last year.

Talent shortage concerns are highest among insurance and professional services firms.

The top five total rewards priorities HR pros cite for the coming year:

  • The cost of providing health care benefits to active employees.
  • The willingness or ability of employees to pay for benefit plan coverage and to manage their own reward budget.
  • The ability of reward programs to attract, motivate and retain the talented employees needed to effectively run the organization.
  • The ability to adjust to and comply with current and future provisions of health care reform legislation.
  • Clear alignment of compensation strategy with business strategy and brand.

Health care, redux

No surprise here: Employers cited the cost of health care and the impact of health care reform legislation as a top concern — the fourth consecutive year health care topped the list.

While companies seem to have aggressive ideas for cost-containment measures, most lack plans to make changes to employer-sponsored coverage required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

In fact, 48% of those surveyed seem to be taking a “wait and see” approach, indicating no plans to make any changes to their coverage.

Of those planning to make changes, 17% are simply looking to avoid the new mandates by making plans to consider dropping employer-sponsored coverage for full-time employees and pay the penalties.

Another 37% are planning to maintain their grandfathered health plans as long as possible, and 23% are considering reducing the hours below the threshold for part-time employees to avoid mandatory health coverage.

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  • Joanna G.

    We were planninng on maintaining the grandfathered status of our plans. As we know that requires that premiums will not increase above medical infaltion, 15.13% + 15% – however Oxford/United Healthcare just slapped us with 26.4% increase in premiums!!!! good luck with our desire to keep exactly the same benefits level. This is the highest increase we are given comparing the previous years. We are 55 employees private company, predominantly young healthy males, “white colar” – insurer can’t say we are “sick.” As it stands, emplyees won’t be able to afford such an increase, neither the company is willing to pick up to cost. Solution? We can’t “wait and see”, Oxford made it impossible for us to keep the benefits at the same level for now. I still hope that somebody in their renewal office will wake up and realize that such actions are not fair.

  • MMAN

    @Joanna- see this is where Oxford- sounds like a big ole Ox to me- needs to be held accountable for raising premiums this much. This is uncalled for and sorry no argument can lead me to believe otherwise.

  • Joanna G.

    thanks for compassion, I have no idea how I will bring this awful news to our employees.
    In addition correction as I realized I made a “typo error” medical inflation was supposed to be 5.13% of course – so it should be 5.13%+15%.