Growth on the Agenda for Many Leaders in 2013

In talking with leaders around the globe, we learned that many are more optimistic on prospects for business growth and increased spending on talent development in 2013. The prevailing caution from 2012 seems to have given way to a much more positive outlook for the year ahead. We also learned that there appears to be wider recognition of the strategic need to invest in talent. We know that HR executives are tuned into senior management’s thinking and planning, and they’re saying that talent development initiatives have become a top priority as their organizations build for the future.


To learn more about these issues, we conducted a global survey of more than 2,000 senior human resources executives in 14 countries. We learned that a majority of the 650 U.S. executives participating in the survey expect recovery in the year ahead, up from only one-third who were bullish a year ago. Nevertheless, two in four assume the new year will be similar to 2012 characterized by sluggish growth and delayed HR initiatives. Just ten percent of American respondents anticipate more cutbacks or restructurings.


The global findings were slightly less optimistic than those for the U.S. with 47% predicting recovery and 33% merely sluggish growth.


 Respondents were asked about their expectations for 2013 regarding their workforce needs:




Global Average

It will be a year of growth and recovery marked by stepped up investments in new talent development initiatives.



It will be similar to 2012 with sluggish or postponed HR initiatives.



It will be a year of stagnation with more cutbacks and restructurings.




Despite the new optimism, however, corporate hiring plans remain tentative. According to our findings, a majority of U.S. employers (56%) see limited hiring in order to fill specific openings, and 31% say that hiring will increase only somewhat. Just 13% expect significantly more hiring prompted by strategic business needs. The global prospects for new hiring tracked closely with those of U.S. respondents: 55%, 31% and 14% respectively.


With respect to specific countries, HR executives from Brazil, China and India were the only ones more hopeful than their U.S. counterparts with 68%, 73% and 80% and respectively expecting recovery. But European respondents were considerably less upbeat, particularly Belgium, France and Netherlands with scarcely 11%, 19% and 14% anticipating recovery.


Do you anticipate that your organization will be able to deliver on its growth objectives this year?



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