Nearly two-thirds of private companies are expecting to hire more fulltime workers this year, though they are increasingly concerned about a lack of qualified workers and growing wage pressure, according to PwC U.S.’s latest Trendsetter Barometer.
Headcount at private companies is expected to increase by an average of 2.6%, up from the prior quarter’s estimate of 1.6%, according to the quarterly report. Companies with international operations expect a 3.2% workforce increase, and those selling in China, a 3.6% boost.
While companies are willing to pay more to attract high-demand technology and engineering professionals, they are budgeting only a 2.6% hourly wage increase at the lower end of the pay scale, in line with the average for the past three years.
“More hiring doesn’t necessarily mean better wages,” Margaret Young, a partner in PwC’s private company services practice, said in a press release announcing the report.
“That said, businesses are facing increased competition for the right talent, and so we may soon start to see wages reflect demand. But wages are just one consideration when companies contemplate headcount increases. Many other factors go into a decision to add staff, including global competition, technology shifts, and demographic changes.”
Thirty-seven percent of companies surveyed said they are finding it difficult to find the right workers, prompting them to look abroad for talent; and some believe companies —and the broader economy — would benefit from less stringent immigration laws.
The survey also showed the following:
- Six-of-seven (86%) private company leaders indicated they anticipate positive revenue growth in 2015, the highest number since 2007.
- Improved gross margins were reported by 31% of private company executives.
- Companies predict calendar-year growth in their own industries will be 5.4% — the highest rate in eight years — while projecting growth of 8.9% in their own companies.
- Companies expect to achieve an even faster growth rate of 9.4% for the next 12 months, with 37% of companies anticipating double-digit growth.
The Trendsetter Barometer’s results “reflect conversations with 220 private-company [executives], including 121 from companies in the product sector and 99 in the service sector, with average enterprise revenues of $504 million,” PwC said. The interviews took place between October 2, 2014, and January 5, 2015.