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U.S. executives are expressing cautious optimism about their future prospects according to a recent PwC Pulse Survey. More than 8 in 10 (83%) business leaders are focusing their business strategy on growth, which was more than any other objective measured, and only 3 in 10 (30%) consider recession a serious risk.

According to the second Pulse Survey of 2022, the 722 executives who responded painted a split picture where companies look to streamline their workforce even as the acquisition and retention of talent remains a top concern. Half (50%) of respondents indicated they are reducing staff, while 46% of executives are dropping or reducing signing bonuses and 44% are rescinding offers.

Additionally, more than 6 in 10 (63%) have changed or are planning to change how they address labor shortages, which is up 7 percentage points since January 2022 (56%). As talent acquisition continues to be a challenge, executives are responding with the following measures:

  • 70% of respondents have either implemented expansion of remote work options for roles that allow or plan to do so
  • 59% are customizing their HR strategy by employee type or have a plan to do so
  • 52% are considering an acquisition to expand access to talent

Certain industries are more likely than others to take precautionary actions to streamline a workforce and create the right ratio of skills for the future. Consumer markets and technology, media, and telecommunications companies are more likely to invest in automation to address labor shortages, while healthcare is seeing larger talent challenges compared to other industries and is looking to rehire employees who recently left.