January 25, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • 66% of middle market companies expect to increase hiring levels over the next six months
  • 97% said they expect the lack of available qualified workers to be problematic over the next year
  • 57% are planning to or are considering investing in automation or IT in the next year, with 85% of this share aiming to increase the efficiency or productivity of employees

Executive summary: Stubborn staffing challenges reveal digital transformation opportunities for the middle market

The labor market is cooling but will remain tight by historical standards for the foreseeable future. The onus, then, continues to be on middle market companies to navigate persistent staffing challenges in pursuit of profitability. Above all, that requires organizations to invest in productivity-enhancing software, equipment and intellectual property.

“It’s essential that firms attempt to get out ahead of the curve and identify the proper mix of labor and investment capital to create the conditions under which they can grow, anticipate and meet future demand,” says Joe Brusuelas, RSM chief economist.

“This will include the integration of very sophisticated technology in the production of goods and provision of services, including machine-learning-driven intelligence and generative artificial intelligence.”

Firms also continue to optimize other workforce strategies through human capital management. Those include recruitment and retention tactics—such as remote or hybrid work, wage increases and other compensation offerings—talent experience initiatives that align with business objectives, and assessments of their physical workspaces.

2024 Workforce Special Report

The full workforce special report, including detailed findings on workforce dynamics by industry, can be found on