Acquiring and retaining talent is an area that is discussed frequently, and with our most recent Clarity surveys, we’ve gained some insight into the areas where our clients have had successes and challenges.

Cost of Acquiring Talent

Talent acquisition strengthened its lead as firms’ most costly business process in A&E. This year, more firms (77%, up 4% from last year) placed it in their top three most costly business processes with 45% citing it as the #1 most expensive process, up from 38% last year.

The talent acquisition process remains GovCon firms’ most expensive HR business process. This is unchanged from previous years. Open Enrollment for Benefits, last year’s #6 response, moved up to the second spot, likely due to a growing number of younger workers entering the workforce.

Open Positions

Within A&E, nearly one third of firms have more open positions at the time of the survey than a year earlier – a 5% increase from last year. What is not clear is if it is because firms are growing and adding new positions or struggling to replace employees that have left.

For GovCon, when asked how open positions have changed in their organization, responses fell along segment lines. Small firms overwhelmingly (80%) said the number of open positions stayed the same; mid-sized firms were evenly split between decreased, increased and remained the same; and large firms unanimously said their open positions increased, up from just 30% who made this claim last year. Contributions to the large number of open positions could include aging staff.

Filling Positions

Qualified candidates are hard to find and the time it takes to fill an open position remains a challenge. In fact, 8 in 10 A&E firms ranked finding quality candidates as one of their top three talent acquisition challenges. And, moving a new employee through the hiring process is taking a lot of valuable time. Just 18% of respondents reported it takes 0-30 days, on average, to fill an open position and 39% of firms indicated it takes them 31-60 days to fill an open position.

Across the board for GovCon, organizations of all sizes are filling positions more quickly. In particular, 45% of mid-sized companies say they are filling positions in 0-30 days, up from none last year. And 50% of large companies are filling their open spots in that timeframe up from 20% last year. With more than one-third of all companies upgrading their HR Information Systems in the past 12 months, they are already reaping the benefits of that investment.  The top three challenges firms face in acquiring talent include (1) the availability of good candidates in the marketplace, (2) matching qualified candidates to open positions and (3) aligning acquisition goals with the strategic goals of the company. The first two were unchanged from last year; the third one moved up from the #4 spot last year.

Staff Growth

For A&E, average staff growth spiked to 6.9% from 3.5% last year. The largest firms showed the biggest jump, from 0.7% last year to 6.3% this year.

Staff Turnover

Turnover dipped by 2.3% from last year to 11% this year for A&E firms. This certainly had a positive impact on the staff growth number.

Succession Planning

Succession planning is an increasing priority for A&E firms. Nearly 70% of firms have a succession plan for at least select positions, up 9% from last year. While this is an improvement, there is still a long way to go as nearly one-third of firms have no succession plans in place for any employees.

What can you do?

Evaluate the systems and processes that you have in place to make sure they are meeting your current hiring needs.  Talk with your Deltek team to learn more about our Talent Management solutions that are tailored to project-based businesses.

Already excited about next year’s Clarity survey and want to participate? Please check out the link to stay up to date with Clarity!