The top challenges to organizations’ talent and workforce goals, as rated by the surveyed CEOs, are attracting and recruiting talent (57%), designing a post-pandemic workplace (53%), retaining talent (51%) and building a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce (43%).

When asked about the actions taken in order to strengthen their ability to attract and retain talent in the past year, CEOs seem to emphasize intangibles levers, such as increased flexibility around work (80%), focus on purpose (68%), on diversity, equitability and inclusiveness (68%), on well-being and mental health (65%) and on environmental, social and governance - ESG (50%). Some of them also appealed to traditional benefits, such as increased pay (50%) or more time off (24%).

“As organizations have already adapted to the new normal of constant uncertainty, attracting and retaining talent in a tight labor market has ascended to the top of their list of strategic priorities. The pandemic has accelerated a future of work in which flexibility, personal development or even reinvention, well-being and a feeling of belonging need to be on offer, together with a sense of purpose which is increasingly about how companies are stepping up commitments to help solve complex societal issues, including climate change,” said Alexandru Reff, Country Managing Partner, Deloitte Romania and Moldova.

The climate agenda appears to have become a major focus point, as the overwhelming majority of the surveyed CEOs (90%) agree that climate change needs to be addressed urgently, and 86% of them believe their organization can play a positive role in addressing this issue. This also has benefits in one of their major areas of concern, as 85% of respondents agree that executing on their climate agenda will positively affect their ability to attract, retain, and engage their workforce.

At the beginning of 2021, the CEOs surveyed by Deloitte and Fortune described this as the year of hope. Now, they believe the pandemic’s effects on the business will continue beyond 2021, with nearly a third not expecting to see business effects ending in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, expectations for business evolution remain strong, with two-thirds of respondents anticipating their organization’s growth to be very strong or strong over the next 12 months, as investments in digital transformation and innovation continue to drive a positive economic outlook. The CEO Survey was conducted by Deloitte and Fortune magazine in the fall of 2021 among approximately 120 CEOs representing companies active in 15 industries.