The majority (86 per cent) of North American employers are hiring employees at the higher end of salary ranges to help with attraction and retention, according to a new survey by WTW.

The survey, which polled more than 850 employers in Canada and the U.S., found 66 per cent have increased hiring activity since the beginning of the year, yet respondents said they’re having difficulty attracting and retaining employees with digital skills (71 per cent) and hourly employees (61 per cent).

Read: How Willful is using benefits, flexibility and perks to attract top talent in tight labour market

The other top attraction and retention methods cited by employers included increasing flexibility in where and how employees work (84 per cent), offering sign-on bonuses (81 per cent) and using retention bonuses to keep employees (65 per cent). Organizations enhancing the use of retention bonuses said they’re most likely to target the bonuses to managers (82 per cent) and professionals (80 per cent).

In terms of revising salary budgets, 44 per cent of respondents said they’re planning or considering boosting their current salary budgets and 23 per cent have already done so. Nearly half (46 per cent) said they’re planning to adjust salary budgets throughout the year on an as-needed basis and another 46 per cent said they’re considering adjusting ranges more aggressively.

“Salary compression is a real issue for many employers and our survey results show that it could continue with hiring employees in the higher salary range,” said Lori Wisper, leader of work and rewards global solutions at WTW, in a press release. “Employers can take actions to address these concerns, such as refining their overall compensation philosophy, raising salary ranges and reviewing — or rethinking — their strategy on how work gets done and rewarded.”

Read: 74% of employers hiring external candidates for leadership roles: survey