It is critical for organisations to develop a clear perspective on what it takes to attract, retain and engage workers. The initial results from our Global Workforce Study and 2014 Talent Management and Rewards Study highlights the need for employers to prioritise the following drivers: competitive base pay, career advancement opportunities, effective leaders and managers, and job security, to succeed in attracting, retaining and engaging a productive workforce.

Initial findings include:

  • Employers today face greater churn in the labour market than in the recent past. Nearly half of employers (48%) indicate that hiring activity has increased compared to last year, and more than one-third (35%) report that turnover is rising.
  • Organisations are finding it difficult to attract and retain key talent, including top performers and high-potential employees. 
  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents are experiencing problems attracting top performers (65%) and high-potential employees (64%), an increase from two years ago.
  • Less than half of employees say that their company is successful at attracting and retaining the right workers – 46% of workers say their organisation hires highly qualified employees, while 42% say their employer does a good job of retaining talented employees.
  • In developing economies, 79% of organisations with a tactical employment deal are having difficulty attracting employees with critical skills, compared with 66% of organisations with a highly evolved employment deal.
  • Less than half (45%) of employees say their employer lives up to their employment deal, and a mere 25% say their organisation has done a good job of delivering their deal over the past three years.
  • Only 32% of employees report that their organisation has a formally articulated employment deal.
  • Communication plays a key role in helping employees understand the competitive positioning of their base pay. Yet only 52% of employees say their company does a good job of explaining their pay programmes. 
  • The role of the manager in communicating and executing base pay programmes is critical. Managers need to explain how employee objectives link to overall strategic objectives and how their pay links to not just individual performance, but also to business unit and company performance.

This research will continue to offer insights that can help employers develop a compelling employee value proposition (EVP), and design and administer programmes that help achieve their unique business goals. You can explore the insights of these studies further in the related research and ideas section of this page. Alternatively, for a overview of the findings we welcome you to view our advance highlight reports:

Global Workforce Study – At-a-glance report

Talent Management and Rewards Study – At-a-glance report


The Towers Watson Global Talent Management and Rewards Study was fielded from April to June 2014 in 31 markets around the world and includes responses from 1,637 participating organisations. The participants represent a wide range of industries and geographic regions. The Towers Watson Global Workforce Study covers more than 32,000 employees selected from research panels that represent the populations of full-time employees working in large and midsize organisations across a range of industries in 26 markets around the world. It was fielded online during April and May 2014.