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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Hiring new employees will be a top priority for U.S. companies after the economy improves, according to a survey.
More than 30 percent of senior executives from some of the nation's largest companies said increasing staff would be number one on their to do list, followed 21 percent who would raise salaries of existing employees and 15 percent who would increase, or reinstitute bonuses.
"Improving business conditions will result in demand for skilled professionals to assist with initiatives that were placed on hold during the recession," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of the financial recruitment service Robert Half International.
"Companies that made deep personnel cuts will need to rebuild their teams to capitalize on future opportunities," he added in a statement.
Nine percent of the 150 senior executives questioned in the telephone poll said they planned to spend more on employee training and five percent would enhance benefits.
But 16 percent said even if the economy improved they would not increase spending.
Unemployment in the United States is nearing 10 percent, the highest in 25 years. Earlier this month President Barack Obama warned that unemployment will be big problem for at least another year.
Messmer stressed the importance of companies focusing on existing employees to keep top performers after the economy has improved.
"Managers need to reward those team members who shouldered the burden during tough times," he said. "If financial incentives are not an option, firms should look for other ways to recognize staff, such as providing flexible work schedules or granting additional vacation days."