2019 National Business Trends Survey shows continued business optimism tempered by talent challenges
Surveys and Reports
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA (January 19, 2019) – Employer Associations of America (EAA) has released the results of its 2018 National Business Trends Survey. Midatlantic Employers’ Association (MEA) is a member of EAA and the survey includes results from its Members. The survey report is available for MEA Members in Member Tools.
According to the national survey results, many businesses continue to have an optimistic outlook for 2019 and are preparing for a positive year ahead. When looking back at their own business results, 69% expect their 2018 sales/revenue to be slightly or significantly better compared to 2017. Continued optimism prevails as 74% of executives project slight to significant increases in sales/revenue for 2019. However, that optimism is tempered by several serious challenges to business growth, including talent acquisition (79%), talent retention (42%) and competition in general (34%).
Regional Recruitment and Retention Challenges
Businesses in the midatlantic region (PA, NJ, DE and MD) reported strong hiring in 2018 and projected for 2019. 45% hired more than they planned in 2018 and 61% of executives indicated that hiring in 2019 would be to increase staff levels. Overall, 94% reported they will increase or maintain their staff levels with 5% indicating they will also utilize temporary or contingent workers. With 76% reporting that difficulty in recruitment is escalating, regional employers cite a lack of qualified candidates (73%), lack of technical skills (51%) and market competition (52%) as their primary challenges. Employers have addressed these difficulties in several ways:
Strategies to overcome “recruitment” challenges?
- Increasing starting salaries: 64%
- Using temporary/staffing agencies, or external recruiters: 65%
- Starting/increasing use of social media for recruiting: 56%
Strategies to overcome “retention” challenges?
- Adjusting pay ranges upward: 55%
- Focus on staff receiving additional training/development: 61%
- Focus on staff retention in jobs where recruitment is difficult: 48%
“We are seeing many employers increase their focus and investment on both recruiting and retention strategies in an effort to meet growth demands in the face of low levels of unemployment and talent shortages.” states Kevin Robins, CEO of MEA.
Pay Challenges and Strategies
As with the past several years, employers are increasing pay to remain competitive. Regionally during 2018, 85% of employers increased wages while 55% paid variable or bonus awards. For 2019, 82% are already planning increases, while 60% are planning to use variable/bonus awards. The national attention on pay equity also has resulted in approximately 35% conducting pay audits, 33% establishing a formal compensation structure and 31% utilizing external benchmarks.
“As the workforce demographics continue to rapidly change, employers need to understand what factors are important to attract, engage and retain their employees,” commented Kevin Robins. A new survey question asked respondents to identify the 5 most important factors for prospective employees. They are:
- Competitive Pay 83%
- Opportunities for Advancement 62%
- Flexibility in Work Hours 62%
- Good Work/Life Balance 61%
- Competitive Health Benefits 51%
- Recognition and Reward for Good Performance 46%
The EAA is a not-for-profit national association that provides this annual survey to equip business executives with insights and trends for business outlooks, business investment plans, staffing levels, hiring plans, job creations, pay strategies, and business challenges. The 2019 Survey included 1,295 participating organizations throughout the United States. The survey report is available for MEA Members in Member Tools.
About Employer Associations of America
The Employer Associations of America (EAA) consists of 32 regional employer associations serving 35,000 companies and more than six million employees. Regional employer associations are dedicated to serving their members as trusted partners that help members maximize the performance of their employees and their organization through business expertise in compliance, recruitment, retention, surveys, safety, training, and organizational development. EAA’s mission is to advance a national presence and to promote local success among members through unparalleled collaboration, excellence, and efficiency. Learn more at www.eaahub.org.
About MidAtlantic Employers’ Association
MEA supports more than 550 employers in the Midatlantic region. Employers know their employees are their greatest asset and the better their people, the better their business. As a non-profit, membership organization, MEA helps Members grow for the long term. Today, MEA assists compliance and employment matters, training and development, HR services, engagement surveys, recruiting and staffing and compensation and benefits. In addition, MEA is a certified partner of The Predictive Index offering a business platform consisting of assessment diagnostics and business applications and consulting to help employers to optimize their talent to achieve their business strategies.