Managing talent has overtaken risk as top of the CEO agenda, according to a survey of 1,200 CEOs globally by PwC.

Some 83% of the 1200 CEOs surveyed globally plan to change their firm’s talent management strategy over the next 12 months and for 31% these changes will be major. The next priorities are risk management and investment, with 77% and 76% of CEOs respectively anticipating changes in these areas. Last year risk management was the number one priority for 85% of CEOs, followed by investment (81%), and talent third (78%).

Michael Rendell, head of HR consulting at PwC, said:
“As we move out of the downturn, CEOs are putting the focus firmly on their people. Competition for talent is intensifying as recruitment activity picks up in some sectors and there are increasing difficulties finding staff with the right skills. CEOs often speak of the importance of talent, but there’s not enough evidence of action being taken. The survey findings are encouraging, suggesting talent will be reflected more in company strategy. HR professionals need to help CEOs see what can and should be done.”

The other significant changes to HR strategy planned by UK CEOs will be the greater use of non- financial rewards to motivate staff (58%) and increased work with government and education systems to improve skills (52%). These were also the top changes anticipated by CEOs globally.

Michael Rendell, head of HR consulting at PwC, commented:

“Staff are not motivated by pay alone. With labour markets more buoyant, firms need to ensure employees are engaged financially and emotionally. Non-financial rewards can include increased responsibility and developmental opportunities, anything which can help people see how they can reach their full potential. This in turn can help improve workforce skills, another priority for CEOs.”

Indeed CEOs believe the main challenges to talent over the next few years include a limited supply of candidates with the right skills, and those individuals with the right skills lacking flexibility and creativity. Another major challenge according to the survey will be recruiting and integrating younger employees.

Michael Rendell then went on to say :
“Attracting and integrating younger employees, the so-called, millenials, who have grown up with technology, may help bridge some of the skills gaps. Working with schools and universities to tap into this talent and harness it to business needs is also important.”