Strategy

CEOs want to increase headcount despite tight job market

They’re also softening their stance on RTO.
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March’s jobs report showed that employment’s still on the rise. That trend may continue, if KPMG’s 2024 US CEO Outlook survey is any indication. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of the 100 large-company CEOs polled in the survey said they planned to hire more employees this year. And almost a third (32%) said they expect a “significant increase in headcount.” Only 4% anticipated layoffs.

The CEOs, all from companies with annual revenue of more than $500 million, are taking various steps to cope with the tight labor market. More than three-quarters (78%) said they’re upskilling existing employees, and 70% are dropping or plan to drop college degree requirements for certain jobs. Nearly the same number (69%) are using generative AI to fill talent gaps.

Backing away from RTO? 2023 saw many large companies mandating returns to the office, a move which led to disgruntlement and even walkouts. KPMG’s survey suggests CEOs are softening their stance. Only 34% said they expected employees to be in the office five days a week, compared with 62% last year. Almost half (46%) said they were open to employees working in a hybrid capacity, up from 34% in 2023. Just 3% said their staff work entirely remotely.

And interestingly, 30% of respondents said they were exploring the idea of four- or 4.5-day work weeks—an arrangement that might be even more popular with employees than remote work itself. Maybe they don’t enjoy those corner offices as much as we thought.

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News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.