Skills shortages are keeping chief executives "awake at night" and those in New Zealand are among the most concerned, according to PWC.
The consulting firm surveyed 1344 company bosses, including 48 in New Zealand. It found Kiwi bosses were significantly more bullish about both their own firm's prospects and the global economy.
Sixty-nine per cent of the Kiwi bosses were very confident their companies would grow revenues in the coming year, versus only 39 per cent overseas. But four out of five said the availability of skills was a serious concern, versus 63 per cent globally.
All but five of the New Zealand chief executives said they needed to change their strategy for attracting and retaining staff, but most said they hadn't taken the first step.
PWC said it appeared the bosses knew there was a problem but they appeared to be suffering from paralysis. The consultant's New Zealand chief executive, Bruce Hassall, said the challenges were profound and "tinkering at the edges" would not suffice.
"Businesses need to get out of the mindset that new skills equals new people. The most successful organisations will combine recruitment with developing their own people to be more adaptable," he said.
HIRE OR FIRE?
2014 employment intentions of 48 New Zealand chief executives:
Add more than 8 per cent: 11 per cent
Add 5-8 per cent: 20 per cent
Add less than 5 per cent: 23 per cent
Stay the same: 31 per cent
Cut by less than 5 per cent: 6 per cent
Cut by 5-8 per cent: 6 per cent
Cut by more than 8 per cent: 3 per cent
Source: PWC survey