People@Work: Will an improving economy spur top talent to flee?

Despite the brightening economic picture, a new survey shows about a third of employers remain skittish about hiring new employees. An even greater percentage say they plan to cut jobs in the new year. Yet some signs now show that many companies are concerned that previous cutbacks have put them at risk for a talent war, according to Towers Perrin, an employment-services consulting firm.

In response to last year's financial crisis, many employers not only cut jobs but reduced benefits and pension-plan contributions, and froze salaries. Now that the global economy has stabilized, "significant concern" is brewing within organizations about losing their top performers, the survey says. "Specifically, 70% of companies reported that they are very or somewhat concerned that high-performing employees may leave," Towers Perrin says, "up from 62% expressing such concern this year."