Private businesses are finding it difficult to retain and attract quality staff, but are not instigating measures that would allow them to do so, says PwC's winter 2012 Private Business Barometer.
The report shows the percentage of businesses intending to pay bonuses has dropped from 50% in March 2010 to about 39%, with fewer businesses intending to offer flexible working hours or competitive salaries (both down from 41 per cent to 24 per cent), working-from-home conditions (19 per cent to 13 per cent) and lifestyle-based leave (16 per cent to 6 per cent).
"While intention to hire remains stable at 60 per cent, 43 per cent of businesses aren't planning to improve or enhance their employee value proposition," the report says.
Recent economic uncertainities have led to firms cutting bonuses and other recruitment strategies, says PwC partner Michael Browne.
"Given the economic situation, people are probably taking a more conservative approach. The private business market is (taking this approach) because it is less affected by the mining sector."
If businesses do not invest in recruitment and retention strategies now, they could face problems keeping good staff.
"Businesses are looking to cut costs, so you have this trade-off with staffing strategies," he says. "Revenue is low so your ability to offer better salaries ... is being squeezed."
Falling sales in retail sector have meant that this sector has been hard hit, with the lack of sales affecting businesses' ability to offer improved conditions to attract staff.
PwC says businesses can improve their retention of valued staff by:
* Collaborating with workers around the development of performance-based incentives.
* Ensuring employees' values align with the firm's values.
* Promoting a healthy work/life balance approach.
* Having regular career conversations with staff.
* Ensuring staff remain engaged in their roles.