Attracting and retaining staff is the number one business challenge facing every businesses according to a new survey.

The ‘Attracting and retaining staff’ option was selected by 53 percent of the respondents as the top priority for their business, according to a PI Worldwide survey released Monday. The highest development priority for 52 percent of the respondents was leadership development.

“The results of this study show that people remain companies’ number-one competitive differentiator, especially in today’s global business environment,” said Todd Harris, Ph.D., director of research, PI Worldwide.

Currently 75 percent of the U.S. workforce works in the service-oriented and knowledge-oriented sectors that were labor intensive, according to Harris. The two factors driving businesses to select the goals as the top priorities were due the aging workforce and a shortage of skilled labor.

The Wellesley, Mass.-based global management consulting firm surveyed nearly 800 of its global clients. The firm said 79 percent of those surveyed held management or executive positions.